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Been here before? - here's a page (by date) with the

NOTE: There is a site search engine at the end of this page...

Also, if you are a first time visitor, or not familiar with the site, you will find a great deal of information on this page. If you are familiar with the site, you will probably find you can get where you wish quicker with the WEBSITE PAGE DIRECTORY. For even faster access, you can locate and link to the history and photos of any car by ORIGINAL NUMBER, by AMTRAK NUMBER, by AMTRAK "800xxx" MOVEMENT NUMBER, by 'SILVER' CAR NAME, by NON-'SILVER' NAME, or by LOCATION.

(below) "HEY! I wonder what the odds are that my train today is going to have a dome on it?" {Warren Krekelberg}

Got a question and can't locate the info? Just send an e-mail and we'll be happy to help!


Photos of the following cars are missing or poorly represented on the site - .jpg's, photos, slides, or even HINTS as to where a photo can be obtained would be greatly appreciated! (photos received in answer to this plea are noted in green).

CBQ 252 "Silver Roundup" (burned 1970) 2/12/04 T Klinger/Dave Varilek (bless you-last car with no photo!
CP 15405 "Fundy Park" (wrecked 1959) 1/19/2003 - Mike Sowsun
CP 508 'Skyline' (wrecked 1969) 2/8/2002 - John Godfrey
GN 1321 (wrecked 1979 on Amtrak) 1/5/2002 - John Kuehl
GN 1322 (wrecked 1975 on Amtrak) 1/19/2002 - Dave Varilek
UP 7004 (wrecked 1975 in Alaska) 8/25/2003 - Chuck Crisler
UP 8002 (scrapped Auto Train) 10/24/2005 - John Praggastis
UP 8006 (scrapped Auto Train)
UP 9010 (scrapped Auto Train) 10/24/2005 - John Praggastis
UP 9012 (scrapped Auto Train) 08/11/2008 - Jack Whitmeyer/Norm Anderson
UP 9013 (scrapped Auto Train) 2/6/2003 - Dave Varilek
UP 9014 (scrapped Auto Train) 6/10/2003 - John Praggastis

Still with us? Then welcome to the history of railroad "dome" cars. Each section of this site contains historical information (and photo links as available) on a portion of the 237 original cars built in North America, broken out by the original owner of the cars.

For a brief chronological overview of domecar history from the first car built up until Amtrak, as well as scrapping information, check out the

The format of this site was based on a spreadsheet compiled by Roy Wullich ( and then "fleshed out" with information gathered painstakingly over a number of years by Phil "Vista"Dohmen (, the dedicated tracker of the lives of these beautiful cars.

Research revealed dozens of errors in the data used to compile earlier publications on this subject, and this web site and possible upcoming publications will attempt to rectify those errors.

Phil may someday do a publication (hardback, possibly paperback, maybe even just a "kinkos" bound copy) that continues the story of these cars with many details not previously known or shown in the brief summarys on this site. No date has been set to complete the effort.
Additionally, Phil is also working on tracking ALL (approx 1250) of the "heritage" Amtrak cars into a 12 chapter book.

As an example of what it takes to "uncover" some of the info, see what it took to track down just ONE CAR in our

Have you ever seriously considered becoming a private car owner, and would you like it to be one of these beautiful domes? Find out more in

Also, we would appreciate notification of movement of any dome car out of its' regular "habitat" (other than the UP business fleet). Recent ownership changes and leases are listed in

If you know the URL of any site that contains a picture of a dome car not shown herein, please nofity us so the picture can be linked to the appropriate page. There are over 2,000 photos, with all 237 cars (last one located 2/12/04) photo identified.

You might also like a quick look at some of the photos that we found that we considered "best" due to color, point of view, or other notable characteristics.

Also, here's a great .gif display of virtually all of the dome/color combinations by Tom McCann.


Note: every effort has been made to identify and give credit to the photographer on photos. If you notice an error, please notify us.

The photo montages and all miniature .gif trains are courtesy of Justin Nelson (

Comments, criticism (never mind, forget that part - not allowed - an absolute NO-NO), questions and/or CORRECTIONS and UPDATES from anybody with any knowledge will be greatly appreciated.

Please e-mail corrections / comments / whatever to the webmaster.

Additionally, to be kept abreast of changes on this website, and information and discussion on domes in general, send a blank email to

Minor "holes" (in addition to any car with wrong info)

.....After the (pre-Amtrak) Auto Train bankruptcy, "OFFICIAL" records indicate which "high bidder" got the cars. NOT TRUE. In some cases, the bankruptcy judge later OVERRULED the sales and had some of the cars SCRAPPED. Also, like with many car sales, people bought cars at the sale who didn't really have any idea what to do with them, and when they found out what was going to be involved with moving and storing their new acquisition(s), they just walked away. Since this was a time when there were many cars on the market and not many buyers, (and indeed, not many people even knew about the auction) the cars in question were scrapped as a last resort.

Anybody got specific details?

(diagram below from Northeast Rails {Clint Chamberlin})

For comparison purposes, the various domecar heights are:

 dome heightoverall
PS(ATSF/MP/GM) 15'6"
Budd "Pattern"(CBQ) 16'2"
3/4 domes(SP) 15'2"
Budd Full(ATSF/GN/CBQ) 15'6"
PS full(MILW) 15'7"
Amtrak Superliners 16'2"
Ultradomes(PRINCESS) 17'4"
CRC(Rocky Mountaineer) 17'4"
CRC(Royal Celebrity) 18'1"
CRC(proposed)(Golden Eagle) 18'1"
CRC(Holland America) 18'1"

Photo above: short dome interior comparison - Pullman Standard {Bill Hakkarinen} vs Budd {Richard Silagi} - courtesy John Praggastis

Domes were ORIGINALLY purchased for 31 different trains, varying from a single dome in the consist to true "domeliners". Consists were as follows:

5 domes:
California Zephyr (CBQ/WP/DRGW)
Twin Zephyr (CBQ)

4 domes:
Blue Bird (WAB)
Empire Builder (GN/CBQ/SPS)
North Coast Limited (NP/CBQ/SPS)
Seattle-Portland (UP) (ex Train of Tomorrow)

3 domes:
Denver Zephyr (CBQ)
City of Portland (UP)

2 domes:
Canadian (CP)
Challenger [briefly](UP)
Chessie (C&O) (never operated)
City of Los Angeles (UP)
City of St Louis (UP)
Dominion (CP)
Kansas City Zephyr (CBQ)

1 dome:
Afternoon Hiawatha (CMSP&P)
Challenger (UP)
Chicagoan (ATSF)
City of Kansas City (WAB)
Colorado Eagle (MP)
Columbian (B&O)
El Capitan (ATSF)
Kansas Cityan (ATSF)
Missouri River Eagle (MP)
Morning Hiawatha (CMSP&P)
Olympian Hiawatha (CMSP&P)
San Francisco Chief (ATSF)
San Francisco Overland (SP)
San Joaquin Daylight (SP)
Shasta Daylight (SP)
Super Chief (ATSF)
Texas Eagle (MP/IGN/TP)

Amtrak scattered the cars all over the system, but train 348 was captured 1/16/95 with FIVE ex NP/CBQ 'North Coast Limited' domes - 554(9405) - 558(9406) - 551(9400) - 553(9402) - 552(9401) {Mike Abalos/Andrew Taylor}

Domes were built in two general styles, full or "3/4" (car-length) domes and short (center of the car). They are broken out in separate sections below, with a detailed history of each car.

All 38 full size domes were basically designed to serve as lounges, while the short domes broke down as 87 coaches, 35 food service/lounges, 11 diners, 15 sleepers, 25 round-end sleeper-observations, 7 round-end lounge-observations, and 19 square-end lounge-observations.

Also, several railroads "pooled" cars for trains (CB&Q and SP&S with GN on the "Empire Builder" and with NP on the "North Coast Limited" - IGN & T&P with MOPAC on various "Eagle" trains - Wabash with UP on the "City of St. Louis"). Cars are listed under both railroads if they were "pool" equipment.

Next are "secondary" dome owners who purchased cars but were not original owners of "new" cars. If they had both, they are listed here followed by the name of the road they purchased from in brackets "[]". The "Amtrak" page also shows the current status of the car.

Want to ride in one of these beautys? VIA runs them across Canada, and there are many on the Alaska Railroad - either railroad owned or as Westours cars. Scattered across the US and Mexico are a large number of cars running on tourist roads and dinner trains, and Amtrak had one (not Amtrak owned) running on the "Piedmont" until it was sold to the "Friends of the 261" group, and 3 others had been running in "Surfliner" service or on special trains in the Bay area and the Pacific Northwest until 2 were sold 9/2001. One has been retained for special train use. Additionally, some owners run special trips that can be booked - contact info is included here under

Also, you can locate where all the domes are by state, country, or region in our

You can also directly link to the history and photos of every car with the

And finally, a "catch-all" of cross-references, non-railroads, and other miscellany.

Site posted to the internet 7/30/1999 - photos are added as received - Last site change/updated 07/29/2009

(this paragraph being worked on)...
Wonder where Amtrak got their cars? When they began in 1971, they purchased 1190 cars, including the domes (there were later purchases as well). Listed below are the railroads that furnished the original equipment. When a link becomes active, the cars will be listed for that road with original road number, builder, date, and Amtrak's number for the car.

AT&SF            441
B&O 6
CB&Q (via BN) 101
C&O 11
GN (via BN) 41
L&N 25
NP (via BN) 53
N&W 16
RF&P 19
SCL 276
SP 80
SP&S (via BN) 1
UP 120

NOTE! If you utilize the search engine below and don't get a hit, feel free to drop us an email note - we'll try to locate the problem and/or help you locate what you couldn't find...

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A web site selected to receive a Web Gem Award must:
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VIA 8718 "Yoho Park" - observation/lounge/sleeper - (CP 1954) - {Steve Brown}

photo above - Alaska RR 7013/UP 7013 in Chicago 2/81 headed for HEP conversion to ARR 500 {John Kuehl}

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