• California Zephyr or Super Chief

  • Tell us where you were and what you saw!
Tell us where you were and what you saw!

Moderator: David Benton

  by NJTRailfan
Thank you for your input Mr Norman. I can't beleive I had forgotten about the Empire Builder and the City of Los Angeles. So I take it that the UP's City of Los Angeles beath both the Super Cheif and the CZ according to some? How many dome cars and lounges did they have and were their sleepers, diners and service alot better then both the CZ and the Super Cheif? I can't believe that the Builder wasn't that great. I thought that was a really good train. Didn't it offer the great service and views along with the sleeping Cars and Diners not to mention the service?

A bit of a foot note but I did notice the CZ did not have a Railway Post Office while the Super Chief did and I think so did the Empire and the City of Los Angeles.

  by Gilbert B Norman
As Col. Perkowski noted, the UP City had three domes; but one such was a Dome Diner - the only kid on the block with that!

As I noted some six years ago, the North Coast with two domes each for Coach and Pullman had better scenery, better food, and much more on-line traffic potential. The Builder's full-length Pullman dome (one such remains in Amtrak service today) really had limited sightseeing potential (not that there was much to see), but they did provide three domes for the Coach folk to view the wheatfields.

  by NJTRailfan
I forgot to ask how did the UP City of San Francisco rate? Better then the city of Los Angeles? I heard it was a pretty good train by one or two people but did UP also have a dome diner for that train as well?I haven't heard much about this train.

  by Gilbert B Norman
The City of San Francisco did not have any through domes. Off-peak it was combined Chi-Ogden with the "LA" and access was afforded to the domes reserved for the respective classes. Ogden-Oakland, an SP Full length dome was assigned. While these cars had an attractive interior motif, they offered limited dome visibility (the Budd "short' was best).

Even though I held SP passenger service in high respect (review "Bum Rap' topic at this Forum), domes were an anathema to SP.

For all you ever want to know about domes, and then some, visit this site maintained by our Member, Pismobum.

http://community-2.webtv.net/web_lurker ... sDOMEmain/

  by Scoring Guy
Mr. Norman Wrote:
Regarding the CZ Domes, three such were 46 seat 28 Dome seat Coaches - in short one non revenue seat for every 1.64 passengers - utterly absurd by today's standards. There were two domes for the five Pullman sleeping cars (111 pax) which made for a somewhat more rational dome seat for each 2.31 passengers. If that wasn't enough, there was a Coach Diner Lounge mid train (also crew dorm and Pullman Dome). Pullman passengers also had the Dome obs with lounge. Not even AOE offers that much non-revenue space; maybe a cruise ship does. .

The AOE consists (I or II), which carry about 90 paid passengers (in six and a half sleepers), have a (non-revenue) Budd Full Length dome car, a (non-revenue) tail observation lounge car, and a flat top (non-revenue) piano lounge car, along with two (non-revenue) dining cars, and certainly have 1+ non-revenue seats for each passenger

  by Scoring Guy
prr60 Wrote:
I would love to see the AOE do something like that with their equipment. Run a point-to-point train, coast to coast with no bus tours, lectures, or the other stuff that is part of the typical AOE trip. Just provide a first class travel and dining experience for three days and nights from New York to LA or San Francisco.
I thought that way too until I rode the AOE, and I found that I liked the tours. I selected their Trans Continental Journey trip (Wash. DC to L.A.) which still included two whole days when we rode the rails, while on six other days we did tours - 9 nights total on board. Plus we went on some routes not used by Amtrak.

Speaking of coast to coast: Amtrak offers numerous options for coast to coast (non-stop?) travel, with only a short layover in Chicago to switch trains. And of course, thanks to Katrina, there used to be the, Florida - California, Sunset Ltd.

While on a south bound Coast Starlight, I shared a table in the dining car with a couple from Wilmington, DE. They had never riden the train before, and did their first trip big time: Local service to New York City, Lake Shore Limited to Chicago, Empire Builder to Portland, Coast Starlight to Emeryville, California Zephyr to Chicago, Capital Limited to Wash. DC, and local back to Wilmington. Seven Nights in a row on Amtrak, NO layovers, NO stops, NO hotels, only Amtrak bedrooms. Wow!
  by Agent at Clicquot
NJTRailfan wrote:The Domes on the CZ were pretty cool but all they were were just coaches.
Not just coaches. Early on, some had a door in the center aisle to permit one of the coach seating areas to be sectioned off for women and children. Others had a Conductor's office. And yet a third type had snack buffet and dorm space for the OBS crew (which ran through). IIRC, the space under the dome coaches were small rooms that could be partitioned off.

And lastly, the seating area aft of the dome in the dome obs was a lounge. Under the dome was a bar/buffet and ahead of the dome was a drawing room and three double bedrooms.

Add to this, dome seats in each dome were unreserved, so this space could be considered lounge space, too.

The obs was oriented to run vestibule forward. The dome coach and dome-dorm-coach-lounge were all oriented to run vestibule trailing

Take a virtual tour of Silver Crescent.

* JB *
Recreating No. 17 and No. 18 in HO gauge ...[/i]
  by John Laubenheimer
On the topic of the mid-train dome lounge ...

The car, as originally built, contained a lounge for coach passengers, dormitory space for the crew with indicivial single bedrooms for the dining car steward and Zephyrette, and the 24-seat dome for sleeping car passengers only. This car was originally situated between the last dome coach and the first 10-6 sleeper. The car had no vestibule.

Later on, the consist was shuffled; in order, baggage car, 3 dome coaches, dome lounge, diner, 6-5 sleeper, 2 10-6 sleepers, 16 section sleeper, trans-con 10-6 sleeper and 3-1 sleeper-dome-obs. All coaches ran vestibule to the rear; all sleepers ran vestibule forward.

Toward the end of its career, the mid-train dome lounge was modified to contain in well-known "Cable Car Room", which provided a small sit-down dining area for light meals. This was done to take some of the load off the diner, especially when tour groups brought additional off-line cars to the train and swelled the consist. (Typically, there were 4 seatings for dinner in the diner. Once the 16 section sleeper was converted to a 48-seat coach, and the 6-5 sleeper was added, this put a bit of a strain on the single 48-seat diner; help was needed. Just about every other train in operation had some sort of secondary food-service car; so, it was just natural to add one to the CZ.)

  by Gilbert B Norman
The only East West "premier train" during the 60's that did not offer a secondary food service car, i.e. "basic" meals such as stews and cassaroles, was the City of Portland. It's secondary car was limited to peak travel periods.

Even the Golden Freight (whoops, Golden State) offered a secondary car that I recalled served pretty decent hamburgers. Of course, that hardly held a candle to the excellent steaks SP offered in its full Diners.

But somehow I think any participant at this Forum knows how I was such an "SP hater". Here's a"sample" of "such".