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How They're Made
How They're Made
andy anderson amtrak coast starlight special effect image
The Coast Starlight: Flagship of the Amtrak Fleet

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Okay, I'm a train geek, and I do like to have detailed drawings of Amtrak cars. As time allows, I'll be putting together detailed diagrams of many of Amtrak's cars; especially those of the Superliner series.

I created these blueprints using Adobe Illustrator, and then saved them for this site in the PDF format. Since they are vector, they have no resolution problems. Therefore, if you click to download the PDF version of the image, you will be able to blow these images up without sacrificing any detail.

I cobbled them together from photographs of the car interiors, and the low-resolution images you can find dotted about the Internet. Therefore, they are not as accurate as a full blueprint would be. If you have any suggestions, or you notice any glaring errors in my designs, let me know by clicking here, and leaving me an email.

As previously mentioned, I'll add other cars as time allows, so take a peek, and enjoy.


Superliner Sleeper - Click on the image for a PDF version

andy anderson amtrak superline sleeper diagram


The Amtrak Superliner Sleepers are double-decker cars used on long-haul trains other than the Northeast Corridor. Initially, they were constructed by Pullman-Standard in the late 1970s; with a second order built in the mid 1990s by Bombardier Transportation. They were the first Amtrak cars of any type to be equipped with an on-board waste treatment and disposal system linked to all toilets. For all human beings that, occasionally, use a toilet we give thanks.

Although the Superliner I and II sleepers differ somewhat in interior fittings, and color, the biggest difference to me is the fact that the Superliner II has a quieter, smoother ride. This is probably due to the by the type of truck (bogie) the car uses. The Superliner I uses a German-made truck, and the Superliner II uses a truck designed by General Steel Castings. Not being an engineer, I really don't know if that's the reason; however, the ride is considerably smoother.

Andy's Note: To non-train geeks, the truck, or bogie is the wheel assembly that the train rolls on... and now you know the rest of the story.

Andy's Info: In doing some research on the topic of a smoother ride, I was told by one of the conductor's on the Southwest Chef, that the smoother ride is not due to the cars truck, so much as it's due to all the improvements made to the rails the car rides on.

Although about six of the original Superliner Sleeper cars were configured with all bedrooms on the upper floor, the remaining 119 are configured to the above diagram.

All of the bedrooms and roomettes have large windows out to the world that afford the rider the chance to see some excellent scenery... I kid you not. If you're traveling on a long-distance train, and you're not occasionally looking out the window, you are missing some beautiful scenery. Put down that book, and take a peek.

Upper level:

  • 5 Bedrooms (A-E), with upper and lower bunks and shower-equipped private toilet (1 to 3 people). If you can afford it, these are the best places on the train.

Andy's Thought: Although you could put 3 people into a bedroom, the third person had better be a child, or things could get really tight... really annoying... really fast.

  • 10 Roomettes (1-10), with upper and lower bunks (1 to 2 people)
  • 1 shared toilet for all Roomette passengers (okay, let's do the math, you have 10 Roomettes on the upper floor, with the possibility of 20 people... What would happen if all 20 decided they needed to use the toilet, at the same time?)
  • center area for coffee, drinks, and ice
  • car-to-car passage

Andy's Note: All car-to car passage on double-decker trains is accomplished from the second floor

Lower level:

  • 1 Family Bedroom (entire width of the car), two adult bunks and two child bunks (1 to 4 people)
  • 1 Accessible Bedroom (entire width of the car), two bunks and private shower/toilet (1 to 2 people)
  • 4 Roomettes (11-14), with upper and lower bunks (1 to 2 people)
  • 3 shared toilets for Roomette and Family Bedroom passengers: Upper and Lower Levels
  • 1 shared shower, for all roomette passengers: Upper and Lower levels
  • luggage racks
  • vestibule in the center of the car
  • main exits on and off the train

Andy's Advice: If you're in a Roomette, the best time to take a shower is early in the morning. That way, no one else has a chance to mess it up. As a matter of fact, even though I book a bedroom with its own private shower/toilet, I'll sometimes take my showers in the lower-level public shower. Why? Well, it's a bit bigger, and in the early morning (when I usually get up), no one has had a chance to mess it up.


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Do you have a favorite Amtrak car that you would like to see a detailed diagram, or if you have any responses or comments, you can contact me at:

Keep the faith... And keep traveling
Andy Anderson