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Princess Tours 2005 car refitting, part 2

Over the winter of 2004-2005, the first four ultradomes ever built — Princess Tours’ 7080, 7081, 7082 and 7083 — are being sent to Colorado Railcar for refurbishing and upgrades, and a general renewal of several systems. This is part 2 of a series on that refitting, and the conclusion of our look at the cars before the work is commenced. Click here if you missed part 1.

Upstairs in the 7081, looking back toward the door to the 7080. One other feature from their bilevel days that the cars retain is the stairway locations, which are centered up in the car. Two of the four original staircases were removed during construction. Also, the doors between cars retain their reliable original vapor door mechanisms, which Mr. Crews called “bullet-proof”.

The observation platform looks a little cluttered right now. Those are two of the cars’ air conditioner condensers, which will also be rebuilt. Inside the door, there was a small gift shop. It will be rebuilt, but with a slightly different configuration. Things inside are being shuffled around slightly on the 7081 and 7083 to make way for a wheelchair lift to the upper level, which will be installed during the refitting.

One thing John and I had a good laugh about was the carpet glue on the floors of both cars. It would seem that it was a little colder in Alaska when the interiors were removed. But when we got onboard down in Seattle, well, the glue had heated up a bit and gotten a whole lot tackier. We looked pretty comedic getting stuck to the floor with each step, pulling our shoes up and taking another step. Maybe I’m easily amused...

It was a little harder tracking down the 7082 (above) and 7083. Their barge was delayed for a week in Prince William Sound by severe storms, then steamed into Seattle a full day ahead of the revised schedule. I had to go to Seattle for business, but found that they had been shipped out already. Luckily, I stumbled across them in Pasco, WA a few days later.

The light was fading as I grabbed this shot of the 7083. Like the first two, the 7082 and 7083 were shipped from Alaska sans interiors, so I wasn't that sad that I couldn't get interior photos yet. That will have to wait until next spring.

Here's something I never figured I'd see. Pasco was my old stomping ground, and I always enjoyed watching the old SD9's that the BN used as hump and trimmer sets in the yard. I haven't been back in a while, and though I was expecting some changes, the sight of an SD40-2 set on the hump was a surprise. That and remote control locomotives. Ah, things have changed.

More photos will come when these cars make their way back to Seattle next spring. The other six cars in Princess’ fleet, 7084-7089, are expected to be similarly refitted next winter.

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