Hey all, this is just an informal poll to see how many folks would be interested in purchasing full-scale 21" Amtrak Superliners if one of the manufacturers offered them. I'd definitely be in for an 8 car set! 

Original Post
@Gpritch posted:

Hmmm, hasn't this been done by K-Line, MTH and Lionel already?

Yes, k line did them years ago, good luck finding them, Lionel and mth doesn't make them the proper 21 inch size, so yes, they need to be done again

I have a train of MTH Superliner cars, almost but not quite scale length. With the current GGD offerings clouding my budget, I doubt I'd go to scale Superliners right now.

I would be interested as long as they are painted with the Phase VI (commonly referred to as Phase IVb) since that would match what I was riding on the Empire Builder a few years ago.

I just looked - one can buy a Superliner 21" K-Line coach for maybe $220 plus $17 shipping.  I don't know how often they show up, and yes I know that folks offer them for $600 each.  But the one I spotted was fixed price.

That is not much more than K-Line's original price.  I doubt seriously that such fine products could be produced today for that kind of price.  If I wanted a Superliner, I assure you I would be picking these off at that price.

I have maybe 20 K-Line 21" cars.  They were top of the line at the time.  GGDs are better, but so is the price.  Opinion.

Yes the K Line ones are often listed well north of $500 per car. The MTH and Lionel versions are both 18" and Lionel hasn't offered them in over a decade. 

Yeah, I definitely want some too. At one point I did think about getting MTH's versions, but then I realized that they aren't technically built to scale. I do collect semi-scale stuff, but when I get more prototypical items, I want them to at least be at their proper length. I would like to get K-Line's Superliners, but like you guys said they are hard to find, and the ones I've seen cost at least twice the value compared to their original MSRP (and that seems to be the case on any 21-inch cars that are currently listed on eBay). There's only one K-Line Superliners that's going for 200 bucks on eBay, but I'm sure that will go soon.

I was fortunate enough to acquire a complete set of K-Line 21” Amtrak California Surfliner aluminum hi level cars through the years. The only “drawback” with them are the incandescent bulbs. They beg for LEDs but it’s a royal PITA to convert them. 10 cars total in the set. Lionel has already declared they wouldn’t produce aluminum cars (Pocahontas set was the last set, 18”) and MTH only uses ABS. These K-Line cars are perhaps most prized of my entire collection. As stated previously GGD would be an exquisite set but I’d prefer to keep all of my appendages. I think if Lionel produced them they would likely be around $679 per 4 car set, of course without figures inside them.

So do you guys all have layouts arranged in an abandoned hockey rink somewhere?  Don't you need like a half mile radius for 21" cars to negotiate?  I'm unfortunately stuck in a basement layout with 054 curves as the LARGEST, with many 031 curves on inner loops.

I wish I could run scale Superliners.  I have the slightly smaller MTH ones but haven't had a chance to run them for 20 years.  They live on the wall until I complete a layout at my father's place.

I would be interested. I already have :

  • the GGD El Capitan in Amtrak.
  • I also have the GGD full domeGGD-Full-Dome-Car01
  • Atlas O Amtrak San Francisco Zephyr

IT appears I am converting to Scale Pax cars as I just acquired the PRR Jeffersonian set and have on order the

  • GGD Amfleet sets and
  • Amtrak  Viewliners and
  • PRR Broadway Limited set.


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Last edited by prrhorseshoecurve

Historically the Williams cars were offered in 15" and 20". The latter ones, if their length is as quoted, would still be 5' short of the prototypical 85'

---PCJ (I have the 15" ones from when they were offered in six-car sets. I don't think I've ever run them though)


I have O72 curves and Lionel's CSX 21" passenger set (because I wanted the camera car which they later put in a caboose. Could have saved a bundle) and I can say on my 30'x40' layout the curves are too small. It doesn't look right. Too much overhang. I would suggest O80 or larger curves.

I had a set of KLine Superliners.  They were beautiful cars and begged for redoing the interiors, which I did.  However, they never came out with the lounge car, which to me is the defining car of this train.  So, I sold them and bought a set of the Lionel semi-scale length with the lounge and sound diner.  

And yes, I will be in line to purchase a new set if they ever come out!IMG_6649


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Lionel's existing 21" cars can run on O-54 but obviously look better on wider curves. My layout is 17'x17' and most of the curves are around O-80 or wider so scale cars don't look too bad. 

I am very interested in scale length Superliners.  K-line cars are near impossible to find and I am looking for the Phase III paint scheme anyway.  If GGD were to do a set they would nicely interchange with my Amtrak El-Cap cars even if the paint scheme isn't the correct era on the EL-Cap cars. 

When I was riding the Southwest Chief in the late 80's and early 90's we would occasionally get a former El-Cap coach or lounge and the the first car behind the MHC and baggage cars was an El-Cap coach modified into a crew dorm. 


That $202 coach is still there, so I assume that it is not a bargain.  I promise you, if I wanted a string of these, it would be on its way to my house.

@Gpritch posted:

Hmmm, hasn't this been done by K-Line, MTH and Lionel already?



Not quite. Yes k-line did a phase 4 set and a california set missing the viewliner in 21". Lionel has yet to make one in 21"-they only did 18" in phase2 and phase IV.

Same with mth 18" and no full scale ones.

21 inchers would be awesome! Probably best done by GGD IMHO. 

I had both sets of Lionel’s Amtrak aluminum Superliners. They are very nice and extremely well built. I sold the Phase IV and kept the Phase II. Really wish they had made these in Phase III and Phase IVb. I also have a set of the MTH Phase III and am holding out on buying any more until someone makes the IVb. Let’s have ‘em!!

@Will Ebbert posted:

I think the Superliners are a few inches taller than the Hi Levels.

There are several major differences between the EL Capitan cars and the Superliner.  The main one is over 20 years separation between builds between two manufacturers.  Budd built the El Cap fleet starting in 1956 with full delivery by 1958.  They are shorter by a few inches and have a rounder roof profile. 

Superliners were built originally by Pullman Standard with a flatter and taller roof profile.  The fluting is very different on the car sides as well.  Superliner II's while nearly identical to the Superliner I fleet was built by Bombardier as Pullman Standard barely got the original order out and was not longer in the passenger car business.  Look at a photo of the Coast Starlight around 2016 and you can clearly see the differences. 


The K-Line cars are awesome. I have a set of 10 Superliner cars that I completely re-painted into Phase VI, added LED lighting, Tinted windows and Kadee couplers. These would be sold out instantly if they were manufactured. Here’s a pic



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Last edited by Jeff78rr

K-Line did a five-car set of California Surfliner cars with the correct commuter doors. MTH was clairvoyant in their Surfliner offering (repainted Superliners) as Amtrak eventually added a sixth (sometimes sixth and seventh) car to the consist and repainted them to match the commuter cars. The Surfliner set is almost impossible to find and the last set I saw was listed for $400/car in 3-rail. I'd probably get a set if they were offered at a more reasonable price in the correct size and configuration. I have a set of K-Line 21" Bombardier Metrolink cars that I run at the club from time to time.

I'd also like to see more road name offerings in Lionel's 21" passenger cars. It's sometimes distracting when your engine consist is longer than the cars it's pulling.

My perfect world scenario would be a Lionel offering where kinematic couplers would allow more buyers and I could easily convert to scale couplers. I personally prefer plastic cars over aluminum but would take either. Also in my perfect world, both Superliner Is and IIs would be offered. The Superliner I trucks look really interesting even though they ride rougher. 

Count me in too! I have been lobbying the major players for quite some time. 

I missed out on the GGD El Cap cars which I really want. But anything reasonable will work too. No way I will spend $500 or more on one car.

maybe if Lionel has the Kline molds, that could help.

good post....thanks. 


@GG1 4877 posted:


When I was riding the Southwest Chief in the late 80's and early 90's we would occasionally get a former El-Cap coach or lounge and the the first car behind the MHC and baggage cars was an El-Cap coach modified into a crew dorm. 


Until a couple years ago,the former El-Cap lounge cars were standard on the Starlight. Restricted, as I recall, to first class passengers.

A few years back I bought a set of Wiiiams Superliner cars to commemorate our coast-to-coast AMTRAK trip*. Too short, true, but not grossly so, to my eye. What really lets them down are the trucks. If someone could identify replacement trucks, I'd be grateful.

*Once in a lifetime, thank the good Lord.

I can't imagine it happening anytime soon, if ever, but lately I've been thinking it would be nice if Kato started making O scale trains. I'm sure they would have some Superliners right off the bat.

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