From staff sporting designer knee-high boots and hot pants to its vibrant red and purple dining cars, when Amtrak trains launched in 1971 it offered ordinary Americans an exciting new travel experience on a network of 23 routes spanning 43 states.
In 1970 President Richard Nixon introduced the Rail Passenger Service Act to launch the United States' first national 'modern, efficient, intercity railroad passenger service’, with Amtrak born the following year.
Amtrak inherited a number of different historic locomotives from its predecessors but by 1973 unveiled its own models and offered customers a fleet of new or refurbished all-electric passenger cars.
With taglines in the 1970s encouraging travellers to ‘get off your wheels and on to ours’ Amtrak showcased a series of vibrant adverts depicting the freedom of the network. It also took the TurboTrain on a national tour for the public to see it up close, according to Amtrak's archives.
Interiors were modernised with dazzling colourful flourishes and guests could enjoy food and beverages served with signature blue China. In first class, travellers had reclining swivel chairs and all passengers onboard could make use of a phone booth.
Amtrak’s attempt at revitalising rail road journeys is most visible in photos of its staff’s contemporary, designer uniforms of bold red mini-skirts or hot pants and sweaters emblazoned with the company’s inverted arrow logo. The attendant’s look was created to reflect the travel aspiration of their counterparts in the skies. All aboard for a tour of Amtrak's archives.