All aboard! Shortly after the start of operations on May 1, 1971, Amtrak handpicked approximately 1,300 cars from a total pool of 3,000 held by the two dozen private railroads that had turned over their passenger services to the new company. Most were either constructed of, or sheathed in, stainless steel, which meant lower maintenance costs. Amtrak soon began a program to refurbish and paint the cars in its red, white and blue color scheme. These cars prominently display the inverted arrow, Amtrak’s first service mark.