Dome Cars : LUSENET : ACL and SAL Railroads Historical Society : One Thread

I have some Con Cor domecars I picked up at a swap meet lettered Seaboard but the paint and letting job is really bad and I want to do them over again. Can anyone tell me what numbers the Seaboard dome cars were and what trains they ran on?

-- Chuck (), November 18, 2002


Another note regarding the P-S parlor dome mentioned by mike; when the Wabash Blue Bird(built by Budd)began running between St. Louis and Chicago, demand for the Dome-Parlor became so great that the P-S dome was ordered to cover the need. One problem with this car, however, was that the stairwell lights, located at the forward end of the dome,would,at night, reflect against the front dome glass,making it very difficult to see forward.

-- Paul Coe (, September 20, 2003.

Mikes reply about dome cars spiked two notes. First the mention of extra moves,crews etc at Richmond to add/remove the dome.Should have been a crew on duty 24/7 to handle any and all moves,so I don't think that would be much of an extra cost.The dome was always the last car,so easy to do that.What is strange,as an example now;the Amtrak trains in Jacksonville back on to their roadrailers or box cars,using the road crew only.Haven't things changed? I rode those domes on the SCL "Floridian" and the exWAB dome on the "Nancy"

-- Joseph Oates (, November 19, 2002.

Buck: I have already added a Dome Car article to my list of articles for Lines South. There is a four or five article backlog, but I may consider moving it up the line.

The reasons for not ordering dome cars were primarily dictated by clearances. The limiting clearance was the First street tunnel entering Washington Union Station, as well as the operation under the catenary. When B&O ordered domes for the Columbian, they had to get s pecial low level design in order to clear the catenary at Washington Union Station. Even then, the B&O did not permit passengers in the dome while the train was under the wires. The clearances in the First St. tunnel were such that even the short domes were a little too close to the wire.

Thus, the dome cars could not operate into Washington Union Station. This meant that they would be limited to operating south of Richmond, the nearest major station where equipment could be switched in and out, and cleaned, restocked, etc. Switching the cars at Richmond also added a cost to the operations, as a switching crew and switcher had to be provided, along with some added time in the schedule.

The fact that most of the trains operated during the night meant that the use of the dome car for "sightseeing" was limited to a few hours at best. Further, anyone who has ridden through Florida knows that there is not much scenery.

The clearance restrictions meant that PRR and RF&P could not operate the cars, and therefore, the costs of the cars would have to be borne directly by ACL or SAL. This in effect put a nail in the dome car coffin.

Once surplus dome cars were available in the late 1960's, the cost equation looked a little brighter. However, the only cars available were the three surplus B&O sleeper-domes. These cars, originally built for the never to be run Chessie, had a unique configuration that limited their revenue making capabilities. They did have a low profile dome-this permitted them to operate into Washington Union Station on a few tracks that were modified to permit the B&O dome operation, but they still could not clear the First st. Tunnel.

ACL leased the cars for a season, then they went to CN for Expo 67 duties-where they operated out west between Jasper-Prince Rupert. SCL was able to buy them at a low price, and then used them on the Silver Star and Florida Special between Richmond and Miami. I rode in them- nice cars, but for anyone other than a railfan, the view from them became quickly boring and they were never really well populated as were the western cars.

The Southern indeed had dome cars-two cars that they purchased from the N&W. They were a UP styled dome car originaly built for the City of St. Louis and a P-S "angular" dome originally built as a dome parlor for the Wabash. These cars ran on the Nancy Hanks, the Asheville Special and between Atlanta-New Orleans. Again, they never ran to Washington DC.

-- Michael W. Savchak (, November 19, 2002.

Mike, I hope you and others who seem to have a grasp on this interesting bit of trivia will consider doing articles for Lines South about the "eventual" use of dome cars on southbound trains.

I can remember, as bizzy 10-year-old, riding back from Emporia, KS on the eastbound Chief in the dome watching the signals drop from green to red as the locomotives (some 15 cars ahead) would pass them at 105 mph.

I also remember that one either froze or roasted riding in the dome, depending on whose car it was....I'd love to hear everyone else's stories, especially about the migration of the dome cars to the SE and why they weren't ordered to begin with.

-- Buck Dean, Webmaster (, November 19, 2002.

Bill, I hate to pile on, but the Southern did have domes. About the only major road that ran through Virginia that didn't was the R.F.& P.

-- Dave George (, November 18, 2002.

Yes-you are right-there is good information here. Perhaps this will make a for a future article in Lines South-I volunteer! As Larry G stated, the SCL did indeed purchase the three ex B&O, ex C&O sleeper dome cars. These cars were leased by the Canadian National during the Expo-67 traffic surge, and were just returned when SCL purchased them. In 1969, they were running on the Silver Star between Richmond- Miami-I rode in one car that summer.

Both the South Wind and the City of Miami had NP sleeper-domes starting in 1959. These cars were used in the winter season only, when NP could spare them from its North Coast Limited. The IC invariably re-painted the cars into its Chocolate-orange livery, while the cars used on the South Wind remained in two-toned green.

In 1967, the IC purchased some dome cars from the MP. These were coach-domes and one car was assigned to each of the City of Miami consists. These cars ran year round. By early 1971, the IC domes were removed from service.

-- Michael W. Savchak (, November 18, 2002.

To boot, SCL purchased 3 ex-B&O domes (Starlight, Sunlight, and Moonlight) and ran them on the Florida Special and Silver Star - going from memory, I believe they were numbered 6800, 6801, and 6802. Also one more footnote, ex-NP domes ran on the ACL while such cars were used on IC's City of Miami in various years starting 1959. Seaboard's "answer" to the clearance problems that prohibited through New York-Florida domes was their purchase of the 3 Sun Lounge cars of 1956.

-- Larry Goolsby (, November 18, 2002.

Gary -

Thanks for correcting me - and my apologies to the purple shirters. I was unaware of the ACL using B&O domes south of Richmond. I have learned something today - I guess that makes this a good day then as some educational information was passed around.


-- Bill Parks (, November 18, 2002.

The ACL ran the B&O Sunlight Dome, Starlight Dome and the Moonlight Dome on the Florida Special only between Richmond and Miami because of clearance problems.

-- Gary Riccio (, November 18, 2002.

Chuck -

The Seaboard never had any dome cars. Dome cars were too tall for the tunnels leading to Union Station in Washington DC, so they never had any (nor did the ACL or Southern). Unfortunately, manufacturers tend to overlook this as it is easier (and cheaper) to produce sets with the same type of cars for several roads than it is to produce accurate sets for each road.

-- Bill Parks (, November 18, 2002.

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