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Amtrak San Diegans Accommodations
www.trainweb.com/ccrc/sd_cars.html

Passengers have various opinions about the passenger rail cars used along the California Coast. Some people like the seating, layout and features in one type of car while other people like the features of a different car. When traveling to a destination, some people will pick which train to take based on the equipment that will be featured.

On the Amtrak San Diegans there are currently a few different types of passengers cars in use:

  • Amfleet Cafe Car
  • Amfleet Coach Car
  • Amfleet Pacific Class Car (Custom Class)
  • California Cafe Car
  • California Coach Car
  • Full-Length Dome Car
  • Horizon Cafe Car
  • Horizon Coach Car
  • Metroliner Coach Cab Car
  • Superliner Coach Car
  • Superliner Sightseer Lounge/Cafe Car

Currently, most trainsets of the Amtrak San Diegans consist of a mix of Amfleet and Horizon Cars. The only locomotive that has been seen of the Amtrak San Diegans for the past few months is the new F59PHI. An F40 has not been seen on these trains for a long time. An F59PHI will either be placed on each end of the train, or a Metroliner Coach Cab Car will be used on one end of the train. The Amtrak San Diegans are not turned around at the end of the line and thus need to operate in "push-pull mode" where the engineer can operate the train from either end. This is also especially needed for Amtrak San Diegans that operate both north and south of Los Angeles Union Station (LAUS) since it is a stub station with no through tracks. Whichever way the train comes in, it must go out of LAUS in the opposite direction. Operating in push-pull mode saves time as the train does not need to be turned around.

Amfleet cars are rounded on the outside while Horizon cars look like big square boxes. The interiors of Amfleet and Horizon cars are pretty similar. They both have relatively wide but short windows mounted at the height of your head when you are sitting up in your seat. The seats are pretty roomy and will lean back quite a bit. Some seats also have leg rests that can be brought up. Unfortunately, unless you are pretty tall, it is difficult to lean the chair back and still have a good view out the window, unless you just like watching the tops of trees, houses and telephone poles going by the window! I usually leave my seat up or just lean it back a very minor amount. Evidently having a good view out the window was not a big concern to the designers of these cars which were delivered in the 1970s and 1980s as there are a few seats which are installed in locations that have no view out the window at all! The type of plastic or glass used on these double paned windows scratches and becomes discolored over time. Thus, the view out the windows is seldom clear. You can see out the window, but the view is like looking out of a permanently dirty window. Most seats also have a seatback pull-down table.

Because of the great ability for the seats to recline, seating is pretty comfortable in the Amfleet and Horizon Coach Cars. A major drawback of these cars is that the windows were not designed to maximize the view from the train. The view is much better from the other types of equipment.

Click here for photos of the exteriors and interiors and more information on each type of rail passenger car featured on the Amtrak San Diegans as has been gather by TrainWeb over the last few years.


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