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Amtrak San Diegan Concept 2000 Cars - Photographs and descriptions of the
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Amtrak San Diegans
Concept 2000
Custom Class Cars

Photographs and descriptions of the
Amtrak San Diegans Concept 2000 Custom Class Cars.

As of this writing on Saturday, December 13, 1997, there is only one Concept 2000 Car in service on the Amtrak San Diegans. My understanding is that the goal is to replace all of the Custom Class cars with the Concept 2000 Cars. This car is number 44839 and it is in the following consist:

  • Locomotive
  • 44839 Amfleet Coach "Custom Class" Concept 2000 Car
  • 43004 Horizon Cafe Car - "City of Solana Beach" - Food Service Car
  • 54503 Horizon Coach
  • 54067 Horizon Coach
  • 9632- Metroliner Coach Cab Control Car

From the TrainWeb office at the Fullerton Santa Fe Depot, I have seen this consist at the station many times. It is presently in use on the following Amtrak San Diegans: Southbound: 570, 580, (590 on weekends), Northbound: 577, 587. The actual daily route of this train that I have observed over the last several days is as follows: (1) Leave Los Angeles as Train #570 at 7:20am and arrive in San Diego at 10:05am. (2) Leave San Diego as Train #577 at 10:25am and arrive in Los Angeles at 1:15pm, (3) Leave Los Angeles as Train #580 at 4:15pm (Train #590 at 4:05pm on weekends) and arrive in San Diego at 6:45pm (6:55pm on weekends), (4) Leave San Diego as Train #587 at 7:45pm and arrive in Los Angeles at 10:30pm. The consist then sits in Los Angeles overnight to start the cycle all over again in the morning as Train #570.

The Concept 2000 Car is a remodeled Amfleet I Car. I think it is a vast improvement over the regular Amfleet I Cars. The interior is all new. The color scheme is in grey, blue and purple, somewhat similar to the Superliner II color scheme. My first impression of the interior of the car was that it was identical to the old Amfleet I except for the colors. However, I soon found the differences were very significant. The only trains that I don't enjoy riding are those with Amfleet I or Horizon passenger cars. The major reason for that is because the view from those trains is really bad. There are two major reasons for the bad view: (1) most of the cars of that type that I have been on have dirty or heavily scratched plastic windows, and (2) the seats are so low relative to the windows that you feel like you are looking out an airplane window! When I lean back my chair, all I can see is the tops of houses and trees! Both of these problems have been eliminated on the Concept 2000 Car, even though this car is just a remodeled Amfleet I. Problem 1 has been fixed by replacing the windows with a type of plastic that does not scratch as easy and the windows are clean, so far. I'm not exactly sure how they fixed problem 2. All I can guess is that the seat is higher off the floor and the seats are thick. When sitting upright, my eye level is just above the centerline of the window. When I lean back, I can still see horizontally out the window and do not have to look up. The windows are the same size on both the Concept 2000 and in the old design of the Amfleet I cars. Thus, I can only conclude that they did something to raise the height at which you are sitting.

Although the decor is similar to the Metroliner Club Cars used on the Northeast Corridor (NEC), these are not quite up to that level of luxury. The Metroliner Club Cars have pairs of seats on one side of the aisle and single seats on the other. These Concept 2000 cars have pairs of seats on both sides of the aisle. The Club Cars have drink holders and trays that fold open into larger trays. These do not. However, like the Club Cars, these Concept 2000 cars do have grounded electric outlets at EVERY seat in the car!

The distance between seats in the Concept 2000 Custom Class car is greater than in the regular Amfleet I Coach Car, but about the same as that in the Amfleet I Custom Class Car. The fold down trays in the backs of the seats are about the same size, but they are newer and thus seem more solid.

The phone, toilet, and refreshment areas in the Concept 2000 Car appear to be identical to those in the Amfleet I Custom Class Car, but with a new clean color scheme. There are also electronic message signs at each end of the car. At the moment, they just seem to be indicating that there are exits at each end of the car and a toilet at one end. I imagine they can be programed to tell what the next station is.

Overall, the interior does look more modern and brighter than the old decor of the Amfleet I cars. The center strip of lighting and speakers above the center of the aisle looks sleek and modern. My bottom line conclusion is that the most significant difference between the Concept 2000 Custom Class Car and the old Amfleet I Custom Class Car is that you can easily see out the window and you feel you are in a car with a more modern interior.

Let me put in a little bit of a travelogue in here. I came down on #568 this morning because I had incorrectly guessed that was the leg that the Concept 2000 Car used to get down to San Diego from Los Angeles. That was the only leg of the journey of this trainset that I was unsure of since I don't arrive early enough into my office at the Fullerton Santa Fe Depot to see which morning train uses this consist. It turned out that it comes down on the next train, Train #570.

I had gone down to San Diego to ride the new trolly line to Mission San Diego. The round trip took less time than I had expected. When I got back to the San Diego Amtrak station, I saw the trainset in the station with the Concept 2000 Custom Class car. Although my reservation was for the next train, I boarded this one so that I good examine the car and get some photographs. The Conductor said that Custom Class wasn't fully booked, so he allowed me to use my ticket even though it was for Custom Class on the next train.

Between the locomotive and the Concept 2000 Custom Class Car was a private car with a dome.

I was listening to my railroad scanner and heard that the engine had quit just as we were a few minutes before San Clemente. The crew decided to let the train coast as far as it could, hoping to make the San Clemente platform. I never gave much thought about how far a train can glide without power, but we went for a LONG way very quietly without power! The train stopped just short of the San Clemente platform.

There was quite a bit of confusion as people were wondering if they should get off and take taxis. After about an hour, they figured out how to get the engine up and running again and we headed on again about an hour behind schedule.



Refreshment Area



Electric Outlet


Seatback Tray

Overhead Electronic Signs

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  visits to TrainWeb since Aug. 01, 1998. Last updated: 12/04/2005  Web Author: Steve Grande

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