US rail operator Amtrak has unveiled the first of 21 Superliner passenger railcars refurbished under a $19.3bn federal stimulus grant for use on the Midwest and West routes.

The restored car, Superliner Sightseer Lounge number 33016, was launched in 1981 and travelled over 50 million miles before the renovation work, which cost an estimated $709,000.

The renovation work includes damage repair, increased seating capacity and modernised interiors, as well as new electrical systems, mechanical systems, trucks, wheel assemblies, air brakes and restrooms. The car was also equipped with electrical outlets at every seat.

The renovated car now complies with all federal rail safety regulations as well as with Amtrak standards in design, colours and amenities.

The car will run on Chicago rail routes and is expected to enter service shortly.

The rail operator will refurbish 19 more bi-level Superliners and one single-level Viewliner railcar to run on the Midwest and West routes with a federal grant.

Overall, Amtrak will refurbish a total of 81 cars and 15 diesel locomotives under a $450m federal stimulus grant to restore vehicles.