Superliners

 

Amtrak’s high-level Superliner cars were inspired by the Santa Fe’s unique high-level Budd cars used on its El Capitan train beginning in 1956.  As with the El Cap cars, The diaphragms are located at the upper level, making them incompatible with standard passenger cars without the use of a “transition” car, i.e. one with a low-mounted diaphragm on one end.

Superliner cars were delivered in two major groups.  The first batch, built by Pullman-Standard, began arriving in 1979 and are now referred to as Superliner I or S1. The second order was built in 1993-94 by Bombardier, and are known as Superliner II or S2.  They are used primarily on the Western long-distance trains (i.e. Empire Builder, California Zephyr, Southwest Chief, Sunset Limited), in California, and on the Auto Train.  They (and variants) also show up on California Surfliner trains.


A convenient spotting feature is the trucks.  The S1 equipment all came on coil-spring trucks (initially with airbags in the coil).  These trucks have an unconventional look to them, and much of the wheel face is exposed.  The S2’s, on the other hand, have trucks of more conventional construction with prominent low-hanging sideframes.

There are five main types of cars, with a couple of variations within type: coaches, sleepers, transition sleepers, diners, and lounges. The transition sleepers all arrived with the S2 order, as they were built to replace the aging El Cap transition cars.

Quick Spotting Tips

At a distance, Superliners look pretty much the same. However, there are some things to look for to aid you in identification.

• S1 or S2? A convenient spotting feature is the trucks.  The S1 equipment all came on coil-spring trucks (initially with airbags in the coil).  These trucks have an unconventional look to them, and much of the wheel face is exposed.  The S2’s, on the other hand, have trucks of more conventional construction with prominent low-hanging sideframes, and a triangular stabilizer structure projecting down from the car sill.

• If there is a lot of glass above the main line of windows, it’s a lounge. End of story.

• If there is a large blank space between the windows at the center of the car– two window-widths of metal– it’s a diner. (Sometimes there will be windows here that have been blanked over, for some early conversions, but I haven’t seen a car like this in a very long time.)  Diners also have no windows on the lower level.

• If there is a small gap in the middle of the car and a single small window at one end, this is a transition sleeper. This car will also nearly always be at the front of the train, just behind the baggage. It also has its end diaphragm on the lower level at the same end where the small window is.

• If there are windows on both sides of the door on the lower level (and it’s not a LOUNGE), then it’s a sleeper. Some S1 sleepers also have a half-window blanked on one side of the upper level.

• Everything else is a coach of some kind.  An additional large door in the side indicates a Coach/Baggage, and the lower windows will be blanked as of this point in time.
All other coaches have a group of windows on the lower level, either right or left of the door, but not both.

Keep in mind that all cars have a window in the entry doors on the lower level. Ignore these for spotting purposes.


The tables below show the number series of the various car types. Hot-linked numbers will take you directly to my photo(s) of that car, below the tables. Numbers with strikethrough are shown as wrecked. Some may have been rebuilt or otherwise salvaged.

S1 Coach/Baggages: 31000-31047

31000 31001 31002 31003 31004 31005 31006 31007 31008 31009
31010 31011 31012 31013 31014 31015 31016 31017 31018 31019
31020 31021 31022 31023 31024 31025 31026 31027 31028 31029
31030 31031 31032 31033 31034 31035 31036 31037 31038 31039
31040 31041 31042 31043 31044 31045 31046 31047

S1 Coaches: 34000-34101

34000 34001 34002 35001 34004 34005 34006 34007 34008 34009
34010 34011 34012 34013 34014 34015 34016 34017 34018 34019
34020 34021 34022 34023 34024 34025 34026 34027 34028 34029
34030 34031 34032 34033 34034 34035 34036 34037 34038 34039
34040 34041 34042 34043 34044 34045 34046 34047 34048 34049
34050 34051 34052 34053 34054 34055 34056 34057 34058 34095
34060 34061 34062 34063 34064 34065 34066 34067 34068 34069
34070 34071 34072 34073 34074 34075 34076 34077 34078 34079
34080 34081 34082 34083 34084 34085 34086 34087 34088 34089
34090 34091 34092 34093 34094 34095 34096 34097 34098 34099
34100 34101

S2 Coaches: 34102-34139

34102 34103 34104 34105 34106 34107 34108 34109
34110 34111 34112 34113 34114 34115 34116 34117 34118 34119
34120 34121 34122 34123 34124 34125 34126 34127 34128 34129
34130 34131 34132 34133 34134 34135 34136 34137 34138 34139

S1 Sleepers: 32000-32069

32000 32002 32002 32003 32004 32005 32006 32007 32008 32009
32010 32011 32012 32013 32014 32015 32016 32017 32018 32019
32020 32021 32022 32023 32024 32025 32026 32027 32028 32029
32030 32031 32032 32033 32034 32035 32036 32037 32038 32039
32040 32041 32042 32043 32044 32045 32046 32047 32048 32049
32050 32051 32052 32053 32054 32055 32056 32057 32058 32059
32060 32061 32062 32063 32064 32065 32066 32067 32068 32069

S2 Sleepers: 32070-32118

32070 32071 32072 32073 32074 32075 32076 32077 32078 32079
32080 32081 32082 32083 32084 32085 32086 32087 32088 32089
32090 32091 32092 32093 32094 32095 32096 32097 32098 32099
32100 32101 32102 32103 32104 32105 32106 32107 32108 32109
32110 32111 32112 32113 32114 32115 32116 32117 32118

S2 Deluxe Sleepers: 32500-32505
S2 Transition Sleepers: 39000-39046

32500 32501 32502 32503 32504 32505
39000 39001 39002 39003 39004 39005 39006 39007 39008 39009
39010 39011 39012 39013 39014 39015 39016 39017 39018 39019
39020 39021 39022 39023 39024 39025 39026 39027 39028 39029
39030 39031 39032 39033 39034 39035 39036 39037 39038 39039
39040 39041 39042 39043 39044 39045 39046

S1 Diners: 38000-38038

38000 38001 38002 38003 38004 38005 38006 38007 38008 38009
38010 38011 38012 38013 38014 38015 38016 38017 38018 38019
38020 38021 38022 38023 38024 38025 38026 38027 38028 38029
38030 38031 38032 38033 38034 38035 38036 38037 38038

S2 Diners: 38039-38068

38039
38040 38041 38042 38043 38044 38045 38046 38047 38048 38049
38050 38051 38052 38053 38054 38055 38056 38057 38058 38059
38060 38061 38062 38063 38064 38065 38066 38067 38068

S1 Lounges: 33000-33024

33000 33001 33002 33003 33004 33005 33006 33007 33008 33009
33010 33011 33012 33013 33014 33015 33016 33017 33018 33019
33020 33021 33022 33023 33024

S2 Lounges: 33025-33049

33025 33026 33027 33028 33029
33030 33031 33032 33033 33034 33035 33036 33037 33038 33039
33040 33041 33042 33043 33044 33045 33046 33047 33048 33049

 C  O  A  C  H  E  S  and  C O A C H / B A G G A G E  C A R S

Coaches and coach/baggage cars are in the following number series.

S1 Coaches: 34000-34101
S2 Coaches: 34102-34139
S1 Coach/Baggages: 31000-31047. (However, when smoking began to be restricted on Amtrak trains, these cars were re-designated as Coach/Smokers. The lower levels had glass installed in the window openings and a few inexpensive seats were installed. During the time these cars were configured as such, they were renumbered into the 31500 series [changed the middle digit in the number]. After this conversion was undone, the cars reverted to their original numbers.)

31013

AMTK-S1-CoachBaggage31013

Coach/Baggage 31013. It wears Phase IVb.  See comments for
31027, which also apply here.Top: at Gallup on train No. 4, 9/24/2011.Bottom: opposite side, at Denver on train No. 5, 12/16/2014.
AMTK-CB-31020 Coach/Baggage 31020, on No. 6 entering Glenwood Springs on 9/01/2018.
AMTK31523_aAMTK31523_b  Coach/Smoker 31523 (31023), two views, shown at Glenwood Springs on 11/30/2002. A Superliner I built as coach/baggage car No. 31023, this coach was classified as a Super Smoker at time of photo. Note the lower windows have glass in them.  It’s in original Phase IV lettering
AMTK-CB-31024 Coach/Baggage 31024, dressed in a Lyft ad-wrap for the Winter Park Express on 2/18/2018. This and two other cars were so adorned for the 2018 season.
31027 Coach/Baggage 31027, on No. 5 at Clay (now Eisele) siding on 12/6/2008.
AMTK-CB-31033 Coach/Baggage 31033 is trailing on No. 5 at Fraser, 2/18/2018.
31040

AMTK-CB-31040

Coach/Baggage 31040

Top: in Albuquerque on 2/26/2009.  Note that it’s still wearing standard Phase IV lettering, and is labeled as “Coach Smoker”, but has actually been modified back to a coach/baggage configuration.
Bottom: Now in phase IVb, it’s running on the Winter Park Express on 2/18/2018.

AMTK-CB-31041 Coach/Baggage 31041 at Fraser, CO on the Winter Park Express (2/18/2018).
AMTK-CB-31045 Coach/Baggage 31045 at Fraser, CO on the Winter Park Express (2/18/2018).
S1 Coaches
AMTK34027 S1 Coach 34027, oblique view.  It’s eastbound at Palisade, CO on 4/28/2014.
AMTK S1 Coach 34032 S1 Coach 34032, at Continental Divide NM on 7/19/2019. Here you can see the EOT appliance (the box in the window with the hose coming down to the trainline brake hose below).
AMTK-S1Coach-34040 S1 Coach 34040, on No. 5 at Fraser, CO (2/18/2018).
AMTK-S1-Coach-34050 S1 Coach 34050, on No. 6 entering Glenwood Springs on 9/01/2018.
AMTK-S1-Coach34056 S1 Coach No. 34056, in Denver, train No. 5, 12/16/2014.
Amtk34057 S1 Coach 34057, dressed up for the 2018 Winter Park Express. It’s a composite image (can you tell?). It’s sitting in the siding at Fraser on 2/18/2018.
AMTK34062 S1 Coach No. 34062 is seen on the California Zephyr at Grand Junction, CO on 1/05/2006.  On this day the train was being run as a stub operation west of Denver, turning at Grand Junction, and as such was run without sleepers, baggage car, or lounge.  Three coaches and a diner behind two P42DC’s were the entire train.  The announced reason was because of  flooding in California, although why they didn’t run through to Salt Lake was not explained to me.
34075 S1 Coach 34075, last car on the Southwest Chief in Albuquerque on 2/7/2010.
34090 S1 Coach 34090, at Albuquerque on 2/26/2009.  Wearing Phase IVb.
AMTK-S1-Coach-34091 S1 Coach 34091 on No. 6 entering Glenwood Springs on 9/01/2018.
AMTK-CoachSnack-35001 Snack bar car 35001. Built in 1979 as a 74 seat coach numbered 34003. The 12 seats in the lower level of the car were removed and the space converted to a snack bar by November 1980 and the car renumbered as shown.
S2 Coaches
34120 S2 coach 34120, at Gallup on 9/24/2011.
AMTK-S2-Coach34133 S2 coach 34133, on train No. 5 on 12/16/2014.
34134 S2 coach 34134, at Gallup on 9/24/2011.  Phase IVb stripes.
AMTK34135 S2 Coach 34135 on No. 6 in Debeque Canyon on 9/03/2018. The car is on the plate-girder bridge over Cottonwood Creek; the Colorado River is in the foreground.
AMTK-S2Coach-34137 S2 coach 34137, ad-wrapped for the 2018 Winter Park Express. At Fraser, Colorado on 2/18/2018.

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S  L  E  E  P  E  R  S

Sleepers were delivered in in the following series.

S1: 32000-32069
S2: 32070-32118
S2 Deluxe Sleeper: 32500-32505
S2 Transition Sleeper: 39000-39046
(All transition sleepers came in the second order)

S1 Sleepers
AMTK32026 S1 sleeper 32026 on No. 6 in Debeque Canyon on 9/03/2018.
AMTK-S1Sleeper-32027 S1 sleeper 32027, on No. 5 at Fraser on 2/18/2018. Note the banked window.
32042 S1 sleeper 32042, in Albuquerque on 2/26/2009.  It seems to have had some kind of repair done on the roof towards the right end.  Wearing Phase IVb, which is probably the fourth paint scheme for this car.
AMTK32044 S1 Sleeper 32044 brings up the markers on No. 5 at Westwater, Utah (4/27/2014). Oblique angle but we get a good look at the end of the car.This particular run featured (in order) a transition sleeper at the head end, two coaches, lounge, diner, and these two sleepers on the tail.
AMTK_32050

32050

S1 Sleeper 32050.
TOP: In essentially original paint, the Phase
II scheme– note the extremely narrow white separation between the red and blue. It’s at Coal Creek Canyon west of Denver, trailing a coach in the same scheme, in July 1986.BOTTOM: Same car, 25 years later (9/24/2011) in Gallup, now it’s in Phase IVb.
32053 S1 Sleeper 32053, an S1 at Big 10 curve on 12/6/2008. Note that the “Amtrak” herald and the car number are a much lighter blue
than the stripe.  The light-blue letters on the silver background can be very hard to read in certain light.In all likelihood this is the fourth paint scheme this car has worn (see 32050 above for a look at the original Phase II scheme).
AMTK32059 S1 Sleeper 32059, at Glenwood Springs on 11/30/02.  The former paint scheme is showing through in places.
32065

AMTK-S1-Sleeper32065

S1 sleeper 32065.
Top:  in Gallup on 9/24/2011. Note the panel adjacent to the car number; it seems to have received a repair job at some point.Bottom: Opposite side, in Denver on 12/16/2014. Note the half-blanked window in center, which corresponds to the S2 half-size window.
AMTK-S1Sleeper-32069 S1 sleeper 32069 at Fraser on 2/18/2018. You can see the half-blanked window in the middle.
S2 Sleepers
Amtk32083

AMTK-S2-Sleeper32083

S2 Sleeper 32083

Top: At Glenwood Springs on New Years day 2004. Here it’s shown in phase IV and carrying the name “IOWA”.  S2 sleepers were originally named for states.

Bottom: On No. 5 passing Utah Junction in Denver, now in phase IVb (12/16/2014).

AMTK32084 S2 sleeper 32084 on No. 6 in Debeque Canyon on 9/03/2018.
32086 S2 Sleeper 32086, at Albuquerque on 2/26/2009.
S2 Sleeper 32113 (and 32115 as well), in Seattle on 7/24/2009.

Transition Sleepers

39009 Transition Sleeper 39009, at Albuquerque on 2/26/2009.  It’s now in Phase IVb.
AMTK39015 Transition Sleeper 39015 is rolling into Glenwood Springs on No. 6, 9/01/2018.
Amtk39019 Transition Sleeper 39019.  Look closely at the far end of the car and you will see a small window on the end.  These cars have a standard-height vestibule on that end, allowing passage into the baggage car (or other standard-height equipment).  Wearing Phase IV lettering. (Glenwood Springs, 1/1/2004)
AMTK-TransitionSleeper39024 Transition Sleeper 39024. It’s on No. 4 passing through Grants on 8/29/2015.
AMTK-TransitionSleeper39026 Transition sleeper 39026 on train No. 5, leaving Denver on 12/16/2014.
39028 Transition sleeper 39028, westbound in Byers Canyon on
8/9/2007.  This was the first time I had photographed the newer, simplified Phase IVb scheme.  Note the lack of the scripted “SUPERLINER” lettering, and modified numbering and car identification legends.
39031 Transition sleeper 39031, in Gallup on 9/24/2011.
AMTK39035 Transition sleeper 39035, at Westwater, Utah on 4/27/2014. This consist was inverted, with coaches behind the transition car, and only 7 cars total.
AMTK39043 Transition sleeper 39043 on No. 6 in Debeque Canyon on 9/03/2018.
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 L  O  U  N  G  E    C  A  R  S

Lounges arrived in the following groups.

S1: 33000-33024
S2: 33025-33049

S1 Lounges
33004 S1 Lounge 33004, in Albuquerque on 2/7/2010.  Probably the fourth paint scheme it has worn since being built in 1979…  Note the four windows beyond the off-center side door– this easily identifies it as an S1, even if one cannot see the trucks.
AMTK33006 S1 Lounge 33006 (trust me) flies through Grants on train No. 4 on 8/30/2015.
AMTK33009 S1 Lounge 33009 at Fraser, CO on 2/18/2018.  Train No. 5.
AMTK33013 S1 Sightseer Lounge car 33013, at Glenwood Springs on No. 6  (8/07/2001).  These cars are the best place to be for the scenic portions of a trip, particularly in Colorado’s canyon country. Phase IV paint.
AMTK33014

AMTK-S1Lounge 33014 2019

S1 Lounge/Cafe 33014

Top: in simplified Phase III stripes on 6/30/1995.  Video capture image.  It’s in the rain in Glenwood Springs.

Bottom: two paint schemes later, in Phase IVb at Continental Divide, NM.  Same side of the car as above.  (7/19/2019)

33016 S1 Lounge 33016, at Gallup on 9/24/2011.  Note that, by this date, the car numbers have been changed to a darker blue, and are far easier to read than the early Phase IVb numbers.
AMTK33020 S1 Sightseer Lounge car 33020 (11/30/2002).  Phase IV lettering and stripes.  At Glenwoood Springs on No. 5.
AMTK33022 S1 Lounge 33022, seen at Westwater, Utah on No. 5, 4/27/2014. Phase IVb scheme. My main interest that day was the heritage unit No. 156 which was leading the train…
Interior of a Superliner I Sightseer Lounge car, upper level.  Photo is taken standing with the stairway immediately to the left.  Notice the earth-tone interior, which is the as-built color scheme.  Word has it that some cars have been refitted in the Superliner II scheme (see below).  Sightseer lounges have a TV monitor at each end of the car, to the left of the aisle, on which movies are played in the evenings. (November 2002) S1LoungeInterior1
Interior of a Superliner I Sightseer Lounge car, upper level, looking the opposite direction. Stairway is just to the right.  Seat cushions in these lounges were a putty-colored tan on the stationary seats (lounge clusters) in the middle of the car, and darker brown on the swivel seats to each end. S1LoungeInterior2

S2 Lounges

33027 S2 Lounge car 33027, on the Southwest Chief at Albuquerque on 2/26/2009.Interesting footnote: On this day, No, 4 was running without a diner, and only 2 coaches behind the lounge.  Very strange, and pity the passenger with a taste for something more elegant than a microwaved hotdog…
amtk 33030 S2 Sightseer Lounge 33030, in Byers Canyon on
8/9/2007.  It wears the then-new Phase IVb scheme with the light blue numbers, which made identification tricky.
AMTK33031

AMTK-S2-Lounge33031

S2 Lounge 33031

Top:  at Palisade, CO on 4/28/2014 on train No. 6. Though the entire car isn’t shown here, I found it interesting that you can easily see where all the Phase 4 appliques were peeled off– the large SUPERLINER letters, the cartype descriptors, even the word “Amtrak” .  Most other cars do not show the shadows like this one does. It’s been roughly 7 years since they were removed.

Bottom: same car, in Denver on 12/16/2014, train No. 5.

AMTK33041_DUT

Amtk33041_GS

S2 Sightseer Lounge car 33041, in the phase IV scheme.
Top: Waiting at Denver Union Station on 1/1/2004.  Notice that the vestibule door is more centered than as on a Superliner I, and that this side of the lower level has no windows beyond the door.
Bottom: The opposite side of Sightseer Lounge car 33041.  You can see that the lower level on this side has two regular-size windows to the left of the door, plus one smaller window (in the lounge attendant’s area).
AMTK33042 S2 Lounge 33042, on No. 5 on 5/31/2019. Though partially obscured by the brush, certain details stand out– such as how the Phase 4b numerals are applied across the seam below the windows to keep them lined up with adjacent cars.

Photo taken just west of Beaver Tail tunnel.

AMTK33044 S2 lounge 33044, on No. 6 entering Glenwood Springs on 9/01/2018.  (Ripples caused by heat distortion in the air.)
 Interior of a Superliner II Sightseer Lounge car, upper level.  The steward at left is coming up the staircase.  Yes, that’s the Ski Train visible out the right-hand windows; photo taken at Denver Union Station. S2LoungeInterior1
Interior of a Superliner II Sightseer Lounge car, upper level, looking the opposite direction.  Stairway is just to the right.  Notice the interior colors based on light gray, which is the as-built color scheme. Stationary seats (lounge clusters) typically are dark blue-gray, and the swivel seats at each end of the car are maroon. S2LoungeInterior2
Interior of a Superliner II Sightseer Lounge car, lower level.  Stairway is on the right, beyond the vestibule area. Photo taken from doorway of the lavatory, which is the full width of the car and handicap-accessible.  The door at the far end leads to the concession area. The tables on the near end are designed for easy access by those with disabilities, whereas the tables at the far end are standard booths. S2LoungeInterior3
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 D  I  N  E  R  S

Diners arrived in the following groups.

S1: 38000-38038
S2: 38039-38068

S1 Diners

GS-2001-S1Diner S1 diner, number unclear but possibly 38003. Note the window arrangement in the middle.  Rather than a blank panel, there are two blanked window openings in the galley area, marking it as an early S1.
This photo on No. 6 in August 2001.
Amtk38007 S1 Diner 38007, on No. 5 just west of Glenwood Springs on 5/31/2019. Note the two blanked windows, a characteristic of low-numbered S1 diners.
AMTK38008 S1 Diner 38008, at Glenwood Springs on 11/30/2002. Note the blanked mid-car windows.
Amtk38011 S1 Diner 38011, at Glenwood Springs on 1/1/2004.
AMTK38016 S1 Diner 38016, at Westwater, Utah on 4/27/2014, train No. 5. It has the patchy paint so common on S1 cars.
38019 S1 diner 38019, at Gallup on 9/24/2011.  Phase IVb stripes.
AMTK38021 S1 diner 38021 is on No. 5 at Fraser, Colorado on 2/18/2018.
amtk 38036 S1 Diner 38036, in Byers Canyon on 8/09/2007.  It’s recently been put into Phase IVb lettering (with the pale blue car numbers).
S2 Diners
AMTK-S2-Diner38040 S2 diner 38040, at Grants, NM 0n 8/29/2015.  Train No. 4.
AMTK-S2-Diner-38042 S2 Diner 38042, on No. 4 at Continental Divide, NM (7/19/2019).
AMTK-S2-Diner38061 S2 Diner 38061, in Denver on train No. 5, 12/16/2014.  Note it still has the light blue car numbers that date from the original Phase 4b rollout. Contrast with the adjacent cars.
AMTK38062 S2 Diner 38062.  It was quite new when this photo was taken on June 30, 1995.  The Phase IV paint scheme with the two narrow red stripes debuted with the Superliner II series; note the other cars in the train are still in the Phase 3 scheme.  By the way, food onboard contemporary Amtrak diners is first-class.

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