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In 1980, Amtrak ordered an additional 125 Amfleet coach cars and 25 lounge cars – known as Amfleet II – for use on long-distance overnight routes.They are similar in exterior appearance to their Amfleet I predecessors, but include only one vestibule and the coaches were modified on the interior for a more spacious layout.As noted in Amtrak’s employee magazine, a “warm but vibrant blend of red, violet and purple sets the basic mood for friendly mingling.” While refurbishing older equipment, Amtrak also began planning for the purchase of brand new stainless-steel single-level and bi-level cars.The new single-level cars, later known as Amfleet, were based on the design of the Metroliner cars shown here.In Amfleet Business-class cars, which offer customers more legroom, many seats are upholstered in a rich blue fabric with a subtle triangle motif for visual interest.On the Carolinian (Charlotte-Raleigh-New York) shown in this image, train attendant Heber Lopez offers a complimentary non-alcoholic beverage to a customer.This eye-catching striped material incorporating red, orange, blue and white was used in the new cars and later became standard for Amfleet.The fabric was employed as early as 1979 on refurbished Metroliner cars.
The current blue color scheme dates from this period; the seat upholstery incorporates touches of yellow and green that catch the eye.
In the late 1990s and early 2000s, as part of the Capstone Program to support the launch of Acela Regional service (later rebranded Northeast Regional), many of the Amfleet cars were refurbished at Amtrak’s Bear Shops in Delaware.
Electrical and mechanical systems were overhauled; wheels and running gear renewed; and luggage areas, flooring, walls, lighting and seats upgraded.
See the slideshow above for a trip down memory lane plus renderings of the next generation of passenger rail cars. This image shows the Silver Star passing through Norlina, N. In 1986 the route of the Silver Star (New York-Tampa-Miami) shifted eastward through Rocky Mount when the rail line through Norlina was abandoned.
The depot in the photograph was subsequently torn down. 631, wearing the Amtrak Phase I paint scheme introduced in 1972. In 1976-77, RTL Turboliners were delivered to Amtrak for use on routes serving New York State, including the Empire Service(New York-Albany-Buffalo) and Adirondack(New York-Montreal).