Amtrak fans who model in large scale can now have Amfleet cars to match the 1:29 proportion P42 Genesis locomotives released by LGB last year. These new LGB models are highly detailed, complete with a lighted interior.
A new fleet for a new railroad. In 1973, Amtrak placed an order with the Budd Co. for new passenger cars. The first Amfleet cars included two types of coaches, a café car, and a lounge car. Beginning in the mid-1970s, a total of 492 cars were delivered and served throughout the system. Many are still in service today.
1:29 proportion. According to Budd Co. diagrams in our library, Amfleet cars are 85'-4" long over coupler pulling faces, have 10'-6"-wide carbodies, and are 12'-8" tall from the top of the rail to the top of the car roof. In 1:29 proportion, the LGB cars measure 83'-5", 10'-4" wide, and 14'-8" high.
The 8'-6" axle spacing of each truck matches the prototype. The trucks are positioned a scale 18" farther inboard than on the prototype. This allows the models to handle tighter curves, although as with the LGB Genesis locomotive, the Amfleet cars look best on broad curves.
Exterior details. Our samples came decorated in Amtrak's phase 3 paint scheme. The silver paint is smoothly applied on each carbody. All striping and lettering, including warning stencils on the battery boxes and other underframe equipment, is crisp and straight and matches prototype photos.
The carbodies are made of plastic and feature molded-in details, including fluting that helps hide the long seams of the removable roof. Vestibule ends and end doors also have separately applied handrails. Two of the neatest features of these cars are the doors that slide open and the steps that fold down, just like the real thing.
The truck sideframes are also mainly plastic, except for a non-functional metal spring. The wheelsets are metal with black- painted centers but plated treads and flanges. Some grimy black paint on these shiny parts would make them look more realistic.
Lighted interiors. To get inside the car I had to remove the roof. First I unscrewed two screws at each car end. Then I twisted the roof to disengage six tabs that hold the roof to the body.
With the roof off, I unscrewed 12 screws that held the subroof/light panel assembly in place. Flipping this assembly over allows access to the eight plug-in bulbs.
Each car picks up power from the inside axle of each truck. Two wires run from the axles to a light panel and are hidden from view by an interior wall. An on/off switch for all the lights is mounted on the bottom of each car. The lights begin to shine at 3 volts and reach their full brightness at 9 volts.
The cars also have two exterior lights on each end, but these lights aren't separate bulbs. Instead, the light is "piped" by a clear plastic tube that runs from the single bulb in the vestibule to both of the exterior lenses.
The overhead lighting shows off a lot of the interior detail. The seats inside the coach are painted blue. The café has maroon seats with white tables and even the snack bar. Both cars feature cabinet details.
The interior of the café comes close to the prototype's floor plan. Inside the coach, the position of the rest rooms and electrical lockers is correct, but the model has only 22 double seats spaced 651/4" apart in 1:29 proportion instead of the 42 double seats spaced 38" to 48" apart in the prototype. The dimensions and spacing of the seats are closer to 1:22.5 proportion than 1:29, possibly to allow for LGB's larger 1:22.5 passenger figures.
With their detailed interiors and accurate paint schemes that match LGB's P42 Genesis, fans of large scale can now model modern American passenger service.