9 types of Amtrak train cars

Amtrak train platform

Amtrak has several different types of train cars that have specific functions. These train cars are either one level (Viewliner) or two levels (Superliner), and are combined (or taken apart in some cases) based on the needs of specific Amtrak routes. To learn more, view the list of car types below and things to know about each.

1. Coach Car

Coach cars (pictured above) contain seats and restrooms. They are used on all Amtrak routes. Fun fact: Tunnels with low clearance are why most of the East Coast trains are only one level.

2. Quiet Car

The quiet car contains coach seats and is available on some of the shorter Amtrak routes. Any passenger with a coach ticket can sit in the quiet car if seats are available. Passengers are asked to avoid talking on cell phones and only talk quietly and for short periods with fellow passengers. Current routes with a quiet car:

3. Business/First Class Car

For an extra cost, you can sit in the business class car (marked as first class on Acela Express). The seats tend to be more comfortable with more legroom, and extra perks such as complimentary food and non-alcoholic drinks are provided depending on the route. You’ll find the business class car on many trains, except on long-distance routes.

4. Cafe Car

Cafe cars are attached to single-level trains. There are tables and counter for purchasing snacks and small meals.

5. Dining Car

Attached to long-distance trains, the dining car contains the kitchen and tables that seat four people. Amtrak routes with traditional dining service have a dining car that is open to all passengers on the train (meals are free for sleeper car passengers). Note that you might sit with strangers if you have less than four people in your party.

6. Sightseer Lounge/Observation Car

Available on double-decker Superliner trains, the lounge car has large windows and first-come, first-serve seating. It’s a great place to view the scenery (and have a change of scenery), plus there is a snack bar on the lower level. See Amtrak routes with observation cars to learn more.

7. Sleeper Car

Sleeper cars contain roomettes, bedrooms, a shower room, bathroom and small refreshment area with free coffee, water and juice. Sleeper cars can be found on both Viewliner and Superliner trains, and a car attendant is on hand to assist with any needs, set up beds in the evening and coordinate dining reservations or food delivery. Tips are recommended.  View Amtrak routes with sleeper cars to learn more.

8. Vehicle Car

Available only on the Auto Train, vehicle storage train cars allow passengers to transport cars, motorcycles and other forms of transportation between Virginia and Florida.

9. Baggage Car

Some Amtrak routes also have a baggage car for checked bags and bicycles. Checked baggage is not available at all stations. You can look up station information on the Amtrak.com website to confirm if your starting station has this service. Bags must be checked 45 minutes before train departure except for the follow stations where you can check your bag on the train platform:

  • Charleston, WV
  • Cincinnati, OH
  • Columbus, WI
  • Crawfordsville, IN
  • Dyer, IN
  • Hammond, LA
  • Lafayette, IN
  • Meridian, MS
  • Mount Pleasant, IA
  • Rensselaer, IN
  • Texarkana, AR
  • Tuscaloosa, AL
  • Winona, MN

More Information

Amtrak routes with WiFi
Amtrak routes that allow pets
Amtrak travel: 5 things to know