Horizon (railcar)

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Train Boarding (4632246791).jpg
Amtrak Horizon car #54571 on a Lincoln Service in Springfield, Illinois in 2009.
20131130 03 Amtrak (14561152312).jpg
The interior of a coach on the Carl Sandburg in 2013.
In service 1989–present
Manufacturer Bombardier Transportation
Family name Comet (railcar)
Constructed 1988-1989
Number built


  • 86 coaches
  • 18 food-service
Operator(s) Amtrak
Depot(s) Chicago, Los Angeles, Oakland
Line(s) served Blue Water, Carl Sandburg, Hiawatha, Hoosier State, Illini, Illinois Zephyr, Lincoln Service, Missouri River Runner, Pacific Surfliner, San Joaquin, Saluki, Wolverine
Car length 85 feet (26 m)
Width 10 feet (3.0 m)
Height 13 feet (4.0 m)
Doors 2 manually operated dutch doors per side
Power supply 480 V AC 60 Hz Head end power
Braking system(s) Air
Coupling system AAR
Track gauge 4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm)

The Horizon is a single-level model of rail car used by Amtrak, primarily on short-haul corridor routes in the Midwestern United States. Bombardier Transportation built 104 of the cars in 1988–1989 based on the Comet II commuter coach design.[2][3]


The Horizon was adapted from the Comet, a single-level commuter coach originally designed and built by Pullman-Standard in 1970–1973 for the Erie Lackawanna Railroad. Bombardier delivered two basic types: a coach and a cafe.[4] The coaches could seat between 76–82 in standard configuration; 14 were built as accessible coaches and sat 72.[5] The entire coach fleet was later rebuilt to be accessible, with maximum seating now 68–72.[4]


Bombardier Transportation manufactured 104 Horizon-type cars for Amtrak: 86 coaches and 18 food service cars, in Cafe/Club (half table seating, half business class seating) and Dinette (all table seating) configurations.[6] The first Horizon cars entered service in April, 1989.[7] In 1994 Amtrak considered ordering a further 23 cars to replace the gas-turbine Turboliner trainsets on the Empire Corridor but continuing budget woes prevented this.[8]:40–7

Amtrak's Horizon passenger cars primarily are used on trains based out of Amtrak's Chicago division including the Illinois Service (Carl Sandburg, Illini, Illinois Zephyr, Lincoln Service & Saluki), Michigan Services (Blue Water & Wolverine), Hiawatha Service, Hoosier State and Missouri River Runner. Several Horizon cars are assigned to Amtrak's Los Angeles division for use on the Pacific Surfliner route. The California Department of Transportation has also paid to lease and refurbish 3 Dinettes (all table seating) for use as café cars on the San Joaquin route.[9] These cars are assigned to Amtrak's Oakland division.


  1. ^ Amtrak (May 2013). "Station Program and Planning Guidelines" (PDF). Retrieved November 29, 2014. 
  2. ^ Trainweb.org Amtrak roster page
  3. ^ Horizon car numbers
  4. ^ a b Simon & Warner 2011, p. 224
  5. ^ "Amtrak's Passenger Trains" (PDF). Amtrak. 1990. Retrieved 17 May 2015. 
  6. ^ Solomon 2004, pp. 132–133
  7. ^ Stephenson, Dick (July 1989). "Amtrak/Passenger". Pacific RailNews (308): 13–14. 
  8. ^ U. S. Industrial Outlook, 1994. DIANE Publishing. 1994. 
  9. ^ San Joaquin Joint Powers Authority/Caltrans. "San Joaquin Rolling Stock Presentation" (PDF). pp. 35–42. Retrieved 30 June 2013. 


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