06 May 2013

Dome car, 1947

One of the most memorable adventures of my youth was a train trip from Minneapolis to Washington, D.C. (albeit not in a domed car).  It's too bad more children aren't afforded that opportunity; perhaps then Americans would have a greater appreciation of mass transit.

Information about the rise and decline of dome cars.

Photo from National Geographic's Found photoblog (a great site to browse).


  1. In 1958 and 59 on two separate trips I rode the train first to California from Iowa and then our Senior Class trip to Washington D C and New York City. It was a wonderful experience and the Dome Car made it a trip to be remembered. IMHO America lost it when it stopped developing the passenger trains. They were a great way to travel. Thanks for the memories.

  2. My dad figured that passenger trains were on the endangered list when I was about nine or ten years old, so he and my mom took all of us kids (I think there were five of us then!) on a train from Wichita (actually Newton, the trains no longer carried passengers to Wichita), KS, to Wellington, KS, and back. Took a couple of hours all told. We saw mostly wheat fields as you would expect.

    However, when my husband and I vacationed in London, we took the Underground everywhere in London, and also took two side trips to Dover and to Windsor. We were amazed at how easy it was and we went everywhere we wanted. We weren't counting cost, though, so I don't remember what it cost. I would love to live in a city with public transportation so readily available.

    I will say, though, that the trains that we rode were separated from the countryside by trees and so we didn't see much of it...

  3. My last train ride was back in 2010 (or perhaps more recently), also traveling from Minneapolis to Washington, DC. You currently change once, in Chicago, with the "Empire Builder" traveling from both Portland OR and Seattle WA (the two halves meet up at Spokane WA) through Minneapolis to Chicago.

    From Chicago to DC, there are two routes, the "Capitol Limited" travels via northern Ohio and Pittsburgh uses the same Superliner two decker cars that are also used out west; these trains include at least one (that I know of) domed car, though with a longer dome then that shown above (the dome stretches almost the length of the car).

    The other route (which I have not yet taken) travels through southern Ohio and stopping in Cincinnati OH and Indianapolis IN uses the single deck cars because of limited tunnel height, which the more northern route does not have to contend with.

    Save energy and ride the train.


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