Amtrak and Railroad Terms and Abbreviations – A to Z
Following is a listing of the various terms and abbreviations commonly used at Amtrak Unlimited. These are not necessarily the official terms used in the industry.
A-Train – Commuter rail service: Dallas area
AAF – Brightline (formerly All-Aboard Florida): Future Miami, Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach, Orlando passenger rail.
AC – Amtrak staff: Assistant Conductor
Acela – High-speed, electrically-powered trainset consisting of six passenger cars and two power cars (one on each end) introduced in 2000. The trainset has active tilt permitting higher speed on curves and is authorized to operate at up to 150mph. Operates on the NEC between Boston and Washington. Passenger accommodations include standard seating (sold as Business Class), First Class seating and a food service car.
Acela Business Class – Seat accommodation with no amenities. Food and beverage available for purchase.
Acela First Class – Seat accommodation with single, pair, and at-table seating, including attendant service. Tray meals and beverages (including alcoholic) are complimentary.
ACS-64 (Amtrak Cities Sprinter) – Electric locomotive used for trains in the Northeast and Keystone corridors, numbered 600-670; introduced in 2014, final delivery in 2016. Other units to be provided to SEPTA.
AE – Train Name: Acela Express: high-speed train service operating between Boston and Washington DC.
AEM7 – Electric locomotive used for trains in the Northeast and Keystone corridors, numbered 900-953; introduced in 1978. Other units provided to MARC and SEPTA. In the process of being retired. Common nicknames: “toaster” and “meatball.”
AGR – Amtrak Guest Rewards: Amtrak’s loyalty program which provides free travel and other benefits
Ambus –Amtrak Thruway bus
Amfleet – A family of single-level passenger cars introduced by Amtrak between 1975 and 1981. The cars are visually distinctive with a tubular shape and fluted stainless steel exterior.
Amfleet I (sometimes identified as A I or AMF I) – The initial order of Amfleet cars designed for short and mid-range service. The cars feature automatic doors allowing for short station stops (dwell). Car types included coaches of various configurations and café food service cars.
Amfleet II (sometimes identified as A II or AMF II) – A second order of Amfleet-style cars designed for longer distance service. The cars have larger windows and manual doors. Coach seating includes leg-rests and foot rests. Car types include coaches and food service cars (not full kitchen diners).
ARR – Alaska Railroad
AT – Train Name: Auto Train: Passenger train and auto transport service operating between the Washington DC and Orlando FL areas.
Bistro (Cascades) – Convenience store style food and beverage service with hot and cold sandwiches, snacks and beverages on the Cascades service in the Pacific Northwest. Selections are ordered at a counter and seating is first-come, first served.
BNSF – BNSF Railway
BR – Amtrak sleeper accommodation: Bedroom: Room with two beds, private toilet and shower (previously called Deluxe Bedroom)
Bustitution – The use of a bus to substitute for a train, usually due to scheduled maintenance or an emergent issue closing a rail line.
CA – Amtrak facility: Club Acela: Lounges in the northeast corridor open to First Class passengers, S+ and SE AGR members, United Airlines club members, and day pass holders
CA – Amtrak staff: Car Attendant or Coach Attendant (officially TA-C, Train Attendant-Coach): Staff member assigned to one or more coach cars to provide for passenger needs.
Cab Car – A passenger car with a train operation cab at one end to permit control of the train when the locomotive is at the rear of the train in “push” mode.
Cabbage – (a combination of cab car and baggage car): A decommissioned diesel locomotive with the engine and other internals removed which functions as a cab car and baggage car for trains in push mode.
Café Car – Convenience store style food and beverage service with hot and cold sandwiches, snacks and beverages. Selections are ordered at a counter and seating is first-come, first served. Offerings vary by route ranging from the standardized Amtrak café menu to state-sponsored menus with regional offerings.
CAHSR – California High-Speed Rail: Future San Francisco to Los Angeles high speed passenger rail service.
California Cars – Bi-level passenger cars acquired by Amtrak and the State of California for use on the California services. Car types include coaches and food service cars.
Caltrain – Commuter rail service: San Francisco, San Jose area
CC – Train Name: Capitol Corridor: California service operating between the Sacramento area and San Jose.
CCC – Cross Country Café: Reconfigured dining cars providing a combination dining and lounge seating.
Charger – High-speed (125mph) diesel locomotive being ordered by several states for Amtrak-operated trains, and also being supplied to MARC and Brightline (Florida). Delivery has not started.
CL – Train Name: Capitol Limited: Operates between Washington DC and Chicago
CN – Canadian National Railway
Coach – Seat accommodation with no amenities. Food and beverage may be available for purchase depending on the train.
Coaster – Commuter rail service: San Diego area
CONO – Train Name: City of New Orleans: Operates between Chicago and New Orleans
CP – Canadian Pacific Railway
CR – Conrail (shared operation of CSX and NS)
Cross Country Café – Full-service, ordered off menu dining with at-table service. On-board preparation is limited to warming and finishing. Service is available at standard meal times. Sleeper passengers are provided complimentary meals and non-alcoholic beverages.
CS – Train Name: Coast Starlight: Operates between Seattle and Los Angeles
CSR – Amtrak staff: Customer Service Representative: phone reservation agent
CSX – CSX Transportation
CUS - Chicago Union Station (Amtrak code CHI)
CZ – Train Name: California Zephyr: Operates between Chicago and the San Francisco Bay Area
Denver RTD – Commuter rail service: Denver Area
Diner Lounge – Full-service, ordered off menu dining with at-table service in one section and café service in another section. On-board preparation is limited to warming and finishing. Full meal service is available at standard times. Sleeper passengers are provided complimentary meals and non-alcoholic beverages.
Dining Car – Full-service, ordered off menu dining with at-table service. On-board preparation varies from cook-from-scratch to warming and finishing. Service is available at standard meal times. Sleeper passengers are provided complimentary meals and non-alcoholic beverages.
EB – Train Name: Empire Builder: Operates between Chicago and Portland OR and Seattle
F59 (FF59PHI) - Diesel locomotives in service on California and Cascades routes in the Pacific Northwest: introduced in 1998 and numbered 450-470.
FEC – Florida East Coast Railway
FR – Amtrak sleeper accommodation: Family Room: Room with two adult beds and two small beds for children
FrontRunner – Commuter rail service: Salt Lake City area
GCT - Grand Central Terminal, New York (Metro North Railroad)
HEP – Head End Power: The system of providing electric power from a source located in the locomotive to the passenger cars for heating, air conditioning, lighting and other needs.
Heritage Baggage Car – Baggage cars used nationwide. Retirement of these cars is ongoing as Viewliner II cars are places in service. Completion of the Viewliner II order will result in retirement of all cars.
Heritage Cars – Cars acquired by Amtrak in 1971 from the railroads which elected to discontinue passenger service. The cars are of various ages and construction types. With the exception of the Hi-Level PPC’s, all are single-level.
Heritage Dining Car – Dining cars used on single-level, long distance trains. These cars will be retired and replaced by Viewliner II cars.
HHP (HHP8) – Electric locomotive once used for service in Northeast and Keystone Corridors; now retired
Hi-Level Cars – Heritage cars with two passenger levels acquired by Amtrak from the Santa Fe Railroad. Similar to Superliners in configuration, although slightly shorter.
Horizon Cars – A family of single-level passenger cars for short and mid-length service introduced in 1988. The car types in include coach and food service cars.
HSR – High-speed rail
Julie – Name for Amtrak’s phone line interactive voice response system
KCS – Kansas City Southern
LIRR – Long Island Railroad: Commuter rail service, New York area
LSA – Amtrak staff: Lead Service Attendant (food service cars): food and beverage staff member authorized to handle money, stock. Trains equipped with a diner will have two LSAs, one for the diner and one for the café/lounge.
LSL – Train Name: Lake Shore Limited: Operates between New York, Boston and Chicago
MARC – Maryland Area Regional Commuter: Commuter rail service, Baltimore, Washington area
MBTA – MBTA Commuter Train: Commuter rail service, Boston area
Metra – Commuter rail service: Chicago area
MetroLink – Commuter rail service: Los Angles area
ML – Amtrak facility: Metropolitan Lounge: Lounges in outside the northeast corridor open to sleeper and business class passengers, S+ and SE AGR members and day pass holders
MNRR – Metro North Railroad: Commuter rail service: New York area
NEC – Northeast Corridor: the rail infrastructure between Boston and Washington DC
NER – Train Name: Northeast Regional: Operates between Boston and Virginia
NJT – NJ Transit: Commuter rail service: New Jersey, New York, Philadelphia area
Non-Acela Business Class – Seat accommodation in cars of varying configuration, typically with additional legroom. Food and beverage service varies by train with non-alcoholic beverages typically complementary.
Northstar – Commuter rail service: Minneapolis area
NS – Norfolk Souther Railway
OBS – Amtrak staff: On-Board Staff: The Amtrak personnel who provide food, beverage and attendant services on the train.
P32 (Dash 8) – Diesel locomotive in service nationwide: introduced in 1991 and numbered 500-519.
P32DM (P32AC-DM) – Dual-mode locomotive part of the Genesis family that has both conventional diesel and direct electric operation capability: used for trains between New York and Albany to permit operation in and out of Penn Station New York without exhaust fumes. Units are numbered 700-718
P40 – Diesel locomotive part of the Genesis family, used nationwide: introduced 1993; numbered 800-843; some remain in Amtrak service and others have been retired or sold to other operators
P42 – Diesel locomotive part of the Genesis family, used nationwide: introduced in 1996 and numbered 1-207
PA – Pan Am Railways (formerly Guilford Rail System)
Pacific Parlour Car (Coast Starlight only) – Full-service, at table, ordered off menu meals and beverages and snack and beverage service. Meals prepared in dining car. PPC menu varies from the dining car menu. Full meal service is available at standard times. Sleeper passengers are provided complimentary meals and non-alcoholic beverages.
PPC – Pacific Parlour Car: A hi-level lounge car with panoramic windows in use as a sleeper passenger lounge and food service car on the Coast Starlight.
Pennsy – Train Name: Pennsylvanian: Operates between New York, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh
Piedmont (North Carolina) Lounge Car – Food and beverages available from vending machines.
Point – Amtrak Guest Rewards: Earned through Amtrak travel and partner activities and redeemable for free travel and other benefits.
PS – Train Name: Pacific Surfliner: California service operating between San Diego, Los Angeles and San Luis Obispo
PSL – Train Name: Pacific Surfliner: California service operating between San Diego, Los Angeles and San Luis Obispo
RailRunner – Commuter rail service: Albuquerque, Santa Fe area
Red Cap – Amtrak staff: Luggage assistance person available at larger stations. Service is complimentary, but tips are customary.
RM – Amtrak sleeper accommodation: Roomette: Two bed room, some with sink and toilet (previously called Economy Bedroom)
S – Amtrak Guest Rewards: Select: The first level of AGR elite status. 5,000 TQP required within one calendar year.
S+ – Amtrak Guest Rewards: Select Plus: The mid-level of AGR elite status: 10,000 TQP required within one calendar year
SA – Amtrak staff: Service Attendant: dining car staff member who provides food and beverage service at the direction of the Lead Service Attendant.
SCA – Amtrak staff: Sleeping Car Attendant (officially TA-S, Train Attendant-Sleeper): Staff member assigned to one or more sleeping cars to provide for passenger needs including conversion of rooms from day to nighttime configuration.
SE – Amtrak Guest Rewards: Select Executive: The highest level of elite status: 20,000 TQP required within one calendar year.
SEPTA – Commuter rail service: Philadelphia area
Single-level Cars – Cars with all passenger and crew access on a single level: doors permit boarding at both high-level platforms (level) and low-level platforms (using steps). The car dimensions permit operation nationwide, including on the NEC.
SL – Train Name: Sunset Limited: Operates between New Orleans and Los Angeles
Sleeper – Private room accommodation with attendant service, daytime seating, and nighttime conventional beds. Some rooms include toilet, sinks and/or showers. Meals and selected non-alcoholic beverages at meal times in the dining car are complimentary (except for the Silver Star which has food and beverages for purchase).
SM – Train Name: Silver Meteor: Operates between New York and Miami via Charleston SC
Sounder – Commuter rail service: Seattle area
SS – Train Name: Silver Star: Operates between New York and Miami via Raleigh and Tampa
SSL – Sightseer Lounge: Car with upper-level lounge seating and panoramic windows and a lower lever café food service counter and seating.
SunRail – Commuter rail service: Orlando area
Superliner – Bi-level passenger car family introduced by Amtrak in 1979 and. Superliners are used on western long distance trains, the Capitol Limited, and the Auto Train. The height of the cars and the requirement for low level boarding excludes use on the Northeast Corridor.
Superliner I – The initial generation of Superliner cars is known as the Superliner I. Delivery was completed in 1981.
Superliner II – Second order of the Superliner family, delivered between 1993 and 1995.
SWC – Train Name: Southwest Chief: Operates between Chicago and Los Angeles via Albuquerque
T&E – Amtrak staff: Train and Engine Service staff (conductors, assistant conductors and locomotive engineers): Staff employees responsible for train operation and ticket collection or scanning.
Talgo – Distinctive, low-profile, diesel-powered trainsets consisting of multiple passenger cars, one power car, and one cab car. The trainset was introduced into revenue service by Amtrak in 1994. Two additional Talgo trainsets were introduced in 2013. The trainsets feature an articulated design with two cars sharing a truck (wheel assembly). Passive tilt permits higher speed on curves. The Talgo trainsets are used for the Cascades service in the Pacific Northwest. Passenger accommodations include standard coach seating, Business Class seating and food service.
TC – Texas Central Railway: Future Houston to Dallas high speed passenger rail.
TE – Train Name: Texas Eagle: Operates between Chicago and San Antonio (with three times a week service to and from Los Angeles
Thruway Bus – Amtrak service: Regularly-scheduled bus service available
TQP – Amtrak Guest Rewards: Tier Qualifying Point: AGR points that are counted to achieving status levels: typically earned from Amtrak travel activity and meeting AGR credit card use thresholds. Reset to zero at the start of each calendar year.
Trainsets – Semi-permanently attached locomotives and cars used integrally as a train unit.
Transdorm (Transition Dormitory Car)– Sleeping car with rooms for both crew and passenger sleeping and with internal stairs and door arrangement to permit car-to-car passage to and from a bi-level car at one end, and a single-level car at the other end. Typically used to provide crew access to single-level baggage cars.
TRE – Trinity Railway Express: Commuter rail service: Dallas, Fort Worth area
Tri Rail – Commuter rail service: Miami, Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach area
UP – Union Pacific Railroad
VIA – Via Rail (Canada): Canada’s intercity passenger rail service.
Viewliner – A family of single-level passenger cars with prototypes initially introduced by Amtrak in 1988. The cars have a distinctive angular shape and are slightly taller than conventional single-level cars.
Viewliner I – The initial production run of Viewliner-family cars introduced in 1995. All Viewliner I cars are sleepers.
Viewliner II – the second production run of Viewliner-family cars introduced in 2015. When complete, this group of cars will include baggage cars, diners, sleepers, and a baggage dormitory cars (a baggage car also including rooms for the crew).
Viewliner Prototype Cars – Three Viewliner cars introduced in 1988. After rebuilds, two are presently in service: one as a diner and one as a non-revenue inspection car.
VRE – Virginia Railway Express: Commuter rail service: Northern Virginia, Washington DC area
WUS - Washington (DC) Union Station (Amtrak code WAS)