I wasn't around, so I don't know. I imagine LONG before 1971, it was quite glamourous, like air travel up until the 70's. But, it seems like the 5-10 years before AmDay, it was pretty bad. Some services, excepted, like the Southern, which I understand was quite nice up until the end.How was it before Amtrak took over?
My main experience was with what is now called NEC South, between New York and Washington, and mostly centered in Philadelphia, during the period 1966 - 1971. There was a frequent service, but, boy some of the rolling stock seemed like it should have been in a museum. On the other hand, some of the newer rolling stock was pretty nice. When you think about it, some of the older cars weren't much older than the Amfleet-1s are now, but they weren't air conditioned, they didn't have reclining seats, and the ride was noisy as anything. On the other hand, they had a whole lot of nice streamliner long-distance coaches from all the trains they were discontinuing, so it was always an adventure about what kind of car you rode in. They also had parlor cars, which I never rode, as the fare was over twice that of coach, and dining cars on some trains. The "cafe" service was what they called a "snack bar coach" which was basically a food cart at one end of a coach car serving overpriced pre-made sandwiches, snacks and drinks (35 cents for a can of coke you could get for 15 cents in any vending machine). You didn't want to sit in the snack bar car, as there was always a line in the aisle. Despite all our bad-mouthing the Penn Central, the cars were clean and in good repair.How was it before Amtrak took over?