California Zephyr Dome Coaches

Dome Coach Door Right

Comfort and convenience was afforded all coach passengers in the regularly assigned vista-domed-coaches. All coaches, normally three per train, featured forty-six deep cushioned reclining seats, comfortable foot and leg rests as well as arm rests dividing each seat which folded out of the way when not in use. The two seats next to the bulkhead at the foot of the stairs leading to the vista-dome did not recline. Seating on the “main floor” of the coaches was reserved and assigned in advance. Divided into two sections at car-floor level the forward section, as the cars were normally placed in the train, could seat eighteen passengers with the rear section seating twenty-eight. Access to the vista-dome was by stairway from the twenty-eight-passenger section.

Windows, with sills at elbow level and equipped with venetian blinds were frost-proof, mist-proof and heat resistant. Featuring recorded music and radio reception each coach had its own color scheme. The first was a blending of nut-pine, rust and shades of mocha-gray, henna and brown; the second in soft shades of turquoise, brown, beige and green; the third in Indian red, orchid-gray, woodtone and burgundy.

Featuring wall-to-wall carpeting, spacious restrooms, modern interior decorating as well as murals depicting scenic and historic highlights enroute the cars were comfortable and functional. Soft pillows were available from the car attendants and the lights were dimmed during sleeping hours. Originally six of the coaches (which were placed immediately behind the baggage car) were fitted with a forward section, divided from the rest of the car by a swinging door behind the entrance to the women’s restroom that was reserved for women and children only. This section had electric receptacles for use with a bottle warmer, which could be obtained from the hostess. This use was later discontinued and the door removed. The Silver Bridle, Bronco, Dollar, Feather, Lariat and Lodge were so equipped.

Coupled directly behind the baggage car (later behind the 48-seat coach) each coach featured a vista-dome similar to the one in the lounge-observation car. Accommodating twenty-four passengers each, reservations were not required nor was there an extra charge for these seats. The second dome-coach in each train differed from the other two by replacing the luggage shelf space with a conductor’s booth at the vestibule end of the car. This booth was fitted with a shelf desk, a seat and a locker.

Of the eighteen vista-dome chair coaches ordered, CB&Q owned seven numbered 4716-4722 and named Silver Bridle, Lodge, Lariat, Ranch, Rifle, Saddle and Stirrup. D&RGW owned four the 1105-1108 named Silver Bronco, Colt, Mustang and Pony with WP owning seven which were numbered 811-817 and carrying the names Silver Dollar, Feather, Palace, Sage, Schooner, Scout and Thistle.

Dome Coach (with Conductors Window) Door Left
Dome Coach Door Left