Amtrak's Viewliner Summit View
|Constructed||1987, 1988, 1996|
|Number built||53 (+130 on order/70 options)|
|Maximum speed||110 mph (177 km/h)|
The Viewliner is a single-level car type used by Amtrak on eastern routes. With the exception of a prototype dining car, all cars built so far are sleeping cars. With the exception of the first prototype, all sleeping cars are assigned names that include the word "View."
In the 1980s, Amtrak was looking to replace sleeping cars that had been in use since the 1970s or earlier. While new Superliner cars were built starting in 1979, those cars were too tall to run on Amtrak's eastern routes due to clearance issues in and around both New York Pennsylvania Station and Baltimore Pennsylvania Station (See Loading gauge). Working with the Budd Company, Amtrak drafted plans for new single-level sleeping and dining cars. The most striking aspect of the design is the double row of windows. Unlike the Superliners, occupants of both bunks in the bedrooms have an outside view.
The prototype Viewliner cars were assembled at Amtrak's shop in Beech Grove, Indiana in 1987-1988 from Budd components. Two sleeping cars (2300 and 2301) were built, as was one dining car (8400). These cars were in regular service until 2002. Money from the 2009 Stimulus package is intended to fund the restoration of dining car 8400 to service.
The first production Viewliners were built in 1995-1996 by Amerail/Morrison-Knudsen (Now Alstom). Initially, 100 sleeping cars were ordered, but this was cut back to 50 as a result of Amtrak's financial situation. Original intentions were for trains of solid Viewliner consists, with newly designed coaches, diners, and lounges. However, plans for more cars were dropped and Viewliner sleepers usually accompany Amfleet coaches on trains. In the 2009 budget, however, increased funding will allow Amtrak to order 130 Viewliner II cars in the form of Diners, Sleepers, Baggage-Dorms and Baggage cars with an option to purchase 70 additional cars.
Each Viewliner car offers three types of rooms: Roomette, Bedroom, and accessible Bedroom. Adjoining Bedrooms can be combined to form a Bedroom Suite. In addition, each car includes a smaller room containing a shower and a room for a car attendant.
Originally known as a "standard bedroom," a Viewliner Roomette can hold one or two people. Roomettes include an in-room toilet, but not a shower. Each Viewliner car contains 13 Roomettes, one of which is usually designated for use by the attendant.
Originally known as a "deluxe bedroom," a Viewliner Bedroom is designed for two people but can accommodate three. Bedrooms include a complete private bathroom, including shower. Each Viewliner car contains two Bedrooms and they may be combined to form a single Bedroom Suite with room for 4–6 people.
An accessible Bedroom is similar to a Bedroom, but offers more space for a wheelchair or other mobility device. An accessible Bedroom cannot be combined with a Bedroom to form a Bedroom Suite. One accessible Bedroom is present in each Viewliner car. Reservations for accessible Bedrooms can only be made by calling Amtrak and speaking with an agent.