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Differences Between Superliner I and II Cars

Amtrak Superliner I Passenger Train Accommodations, including photographs and detailed descriptions of seats, rooms, train cars and services.

Special Note: This page has not been updated for a few years. Several of both the Superliner I and Superliner II Cars have been refurbished such that the differences described that were valid in the 1990's and early 2000's are no longer valid for all cars since 2005.

There are only minor differences between Superliner I and Superliner II Cars. Click here to go back to the Superliners page if you want a full description of the Amtrak Superliners. On this page I have only listed the differences between the Amtrak Superliner I and Superliner II cars. I will list those differences here as I find them. I'll place the most recent differences that I find at the top of the page so you can find them easily if you have been to this page before.

The Superliner II Sleeping Cars are named after the 50 states in the United States. Does that mean there are not more than 50 of the Superliner II Sleeping Cars? The Superliner I Sleeping Cars do not have names.

Here are two items that I think were better in the Superliner I than in the Superliner II cars. The curtain to each bedroom uses velcro strips to hold the curtain closed. In the Superliner II, there are three 4 inch velcro strips in the doorframe and a corresponding number of strips on the curtain. Thus, you have to match up one with the other to keep the curtain closed. In the Superliner I, there are still the three 4 inch velcro strips in the doorframe, but there is one long strip of velcro on the curtain that goes all the way from the top to bottom. Thus, you just need to touch any part of the curtain to the doorframe to keep the curtain closed. You don't have to match up the velcro strips with each other. Another difference where I think the Superliner I design was better is the door to the upstairs bathroom. In the Superliner I, the door opens into the bathroom. In the Superliner II, the door opens out to the hallway. Actually, it opens out to bump into anyone that has just filled his coffee cup at the refreshment stand and is heading back to their room! I have a feeling the new design was probably necessary to meet certain safety standards. I think there are some new design rules that say a door has to open out from a room so that one doesn't get stuck in the room by trying to push the door open in a panic. It takes more brain power to realize you have to step back and open the door into the room to get out than to just turn the handle and push your way out. But, I bet there are more accidents of people opening that door out to the hall and bumping it into people, especially people carrying hot coffee from the refreshment center, than the number of people convenienced by a door that opens out.

Toilets: The toilets on the Superliner I Rail Cars have a "FLUSH" push button located on the right side of the sink. The Superliner II Rail Cars have no flush button but rather flush automatically when you close the lid on the toilet.

Closets in Economy Bedrooms: In the Superliner I Economy Bedroom, there is a narrow closet. In the Superliner II Economy Bedroom, they have kept the same amount of room, but have turned it into additional hanging space in the main part of the bedroom itself. Thus, in the Superliner I, you could "hide" more stuff out of the way, but had a harder time squeezing the stuff into the closet. In the Superliner II, it is easier to use the extra space, but what you place into it is more out in the open than in the Superliner I.

So far, every Superliner II that I have been in has had a very well coordinated blue interior with fabric seats. Every Superliner I that I have been in seems to have the old color combination out of the early 70's of beige/brown plastic seats and walls of green throughout the train. Weren't these the "earthtones" that were so popular in the 1970's?

I don't know if it is my imagination, but the Superliner II seems to give a much smoother ride than the Superliner I. My guess would be that the Superliner II has gone though some improvements in the way that it is build that helps to provide a more smooth ride. It could also be that the Superliner II is being used on routes where the tracks have more recently been upgraded.

Other than the above, the differences between the Superliner I and Superliner II seem to be minor and you can actually make a game out of trying to discover the differences. They are not unlike the differences that you might find an automobile goes through as minor changes are made from the design of one year to the next.

I discovered the following differences on one of my trips from Los Angeles to Orlando on the Sunset Limited: They seemed to have fixed the locations of lighting in the Family Room. In the Superliner I, there is no individual lighting for the opposing child seat nor for the upper child sleeping bearth. From what I recall of the Superliner II, there seemed to be an abundance of individual lighting, including for every individual seat and every individual sleeping berth.

Special note added on Feb 25, 2002: Amtrak has been in the process of refurbishing the Superliner I cars for the last couple of years. As they refurbish each car, the fabric of the chairs is replaced with the same color that is used in the Superliner II cars. Thus, you can no longer tell if you are in a Superliner I or II just by the color of the chairs! The surface material is also being replaced in the restrooms, hallways, and the bottom of the beds. Sometimes it is replaced by the same grey color pattern laminate that is used in Superliner II cars. Sometimes it is replace by a corrogated vynl material. The sink basins in the restrooms are also being replaced by a much deeper bowl. These new sink basins are great because the water from an over-pressured faucet no longer splashes back out of the basin and onto your clothes. There is also a grade to the counter top so that any water that gets onto the counter flows back into the basin instead of remaining on the counter top. In some ways, these refurbished Superliner I Cars are better than the newer Superliner II Cars.

Information from TrainWeb Reader Michael Hansen: Hi steve, coming from a blind person, this may have some value on you're superliner page of the trainweb website, or on any other page you think it would work.

The first thing I noticed upon entering Superliner 2 car number 32006 was the stairs leeding to the upstairs of the car. I had traveled on a coach onboard The Texas Eagle, and the railings were much thinner then in this car. Another thing worth noting is the walls. Instead of the carpited material found in the superlinerI coaches and sleepers, this sleeper has a smooth material on the wall, like found in the Reconditioned Herison coaches. For some odd reason, I had the feeling that the sleeper cars, yeah, the SuperlinerI and the SuperlinerII cars have more room on the stairway then the superlinerII coach I traveled on on another trip on the Texas Eagle. In the delux sleeper, which I traveled in on my southbound trip, one of the main things that I noticed is the toylets. There is no flush button, the toylet autimaticly flushes after you close the lid. Also, the sound is quite different, and it only goes for a few seconds, ware as the superlinerI cars, be it coach, sleeper, lounge go for longer, and sound different.

The wall when the bed is made up also feels different, as does the pannol with all the controls. In the superlinerI cars, the pannols are of a very ferm, rubber feeling material. On the SuperlinerII cars, the material is of a different rubber. There is not as much support in the control pannol hear, and the rubbber material doesn't feel so hard. Another difference, something I noticed on my way back, in a superlinerI car, the handle that allows you to move the small light around is not there in the superlinerII cars. I found this when exploring our accomodations.

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