Designed for use by railroad officials, the large majority of these cars are from the “heavy weight” or pre-WWII construction period (opposite of “streamlined”). Typically they come with kitchen, crew quarters, dining room seating six to 10, two to four bedrooms, lounge and open brass-railed platform. Some have fold-away beds in the dining room or lounge.
A car with a rear lounge and rear-facing windows, intended to be placed at the end of a train. End may be closed, round, squared, or open rear platform. The forward and may contain the business car arrangement or any combination of lounge, dining, bar, or sleeping space.
From a 1956 Pullman Brochure-representative pictures only
These cars typically provide casual seating, some tables, and perhaps a bar at one end.
Dining cars contain a large kitchen and table seating for up to 48. These cars may be found with a mix of dining tables and lounge chairs.
The coach is the universal high density daytime rail travel vehicle, with washrooms typically at the ends. In luxury private car service, these cars are often fitted with long-distance leg-rests and adjustable seat backs. In some cases the seats may face each other with a table in between, creating an environment for playing cards or dining.
A glass bubble above the roof line was popular in the construction of railroad passenger car fleets after WWII. Vista-Dome is one marketing term used, though there were others. The Vista-Dome provides an outstanding 360 degree view of the scenery you pass through. Vista-Domes were made in many styles, such as coach, diner, lounge and sleeper. Clearance limits prevent these from entering Boston and New York. Washington, however, is accessible on Amtrak via Pittsburgh and from the south.
The bi-level cars are now operated by Amtrak south from Washington, west to Chicago, between Chicago and New Orleans and generally between all points west of the Mississippi. These cars have car-to-car passage only on the upper level. Private cars operate behind them, but passage between this type of Amtrak car and private cars is not possible except by use of a transition car.
A limited number of cars have upper level passage on one end, low or standard level at the other.
These are the single-level cars of post WWII construction that Amtrak has upgraded and uses primarily in the East. Many cars of this design have reached private ownership through public sales by Amtrak, and in fact their use by Amtrak continues to diminish at a rapid rate as bi-level cars and redesigned single-level cars replace them. Many of these cars which have been sold to private owners have had their interiors modified and enhanced.