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Princess Tours 7081 (Ultradome)

As built appearance at Tigard, OR. 1988. Photo by Scott Andrews

Type of Car: Ultradome Series I "C" Coach
Coach: 84
Dining: 32
Length: 85 feet
Height: 17 feet, 5 inches
Weight: 147,000 pounds
Platform Size : 18 feet by 10 feet
Kitchen/Galley: No
Lower Level Lounge: Yes, with gift shop
Restrooms: 3, 1 ADA accessible.
ADA Features: Wheelchair lift to lower level, 1 ADA restroom. Will be fitted with lift to dome level in 2005.
Built: 1988
Ran as: Tour Alaska (TAIX) 7081, Princess Tours (TAIX) 7081 "Gates of the Arctic", Princess Tours (MSEX) 7081

Notes: Car is named "Gates of the Arctic". As the first of the ultradomes to be constructed, the 7081-7084 sport some significant differences when compared to modern day ultradomes.

The first group of cars — labeled Series I cars by Princess — were built in Tillamook, Ore. using former Southern Pacific bilevel commuter cars. In the case of the 7081, that car was ex-SP 3740. The car was converted into an ultradome by litterally cutting off the top, and rebuilding it taller and with the window frames for the ultradome glass. These were the only ultradomes built this way.

After a pair of trips on the Oregon-based Port of Tillamook Bay railroad, the cars made their way to Alaska (but not before participating in a week's worth of trips behind the famed 4449 steam engine between Wenatchee and Leavenworth, WA).

The Princess Series I cars are quickly distingushed from other cars by the center entrance, a remnant of the original Pullman-Standard construction. They are also slightly shorter in height (about one inch) than other ultradomes.

Also, the first four cars were designed to operate in pairs, with a shared kitchen in one car (the even numbered cars, 7080 and 7082) and an observation platform on the odd numbered cars (7081 and 7083.)

Because the kitchens on the 7080 and 7082 take up one complete half of the car, the Series I cars have an unique feature among ultradomes — doors between cars on one side of the upper level.

For the 2005 season, the series I cars are receiving a full interior refitting, including new seating, upholstery and décor, as well as renewal of the HVAC and generator systems, and new paint. The work will be performed at Colorado Railcar’s facility in Ft. Lupton, CO.

Already fitted with a wheelchair lift from the ground to the lower level and ADA restroom, the 7081 and 7083 will receive a full ADA accessibility upgrade featuring a wheelchair lift to the dome level in place of four seats .

The 7080-7084 originally carried the reporting marks TAIX, but were renumbered MSEX 7080-7084 in 2004.

Click here for a look at the cars before their interior work.


Showing off the new interior, including wheelchair lift, at Seattle, WA. Arpil, 2005. Photo by Jody Moore.

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