Jun 1, 2018

In December 2017 the Friends of the 261 purchased two dome cars from Canadian National. The cars are former Western Pacific California Zephyr dome coach Silver Palace and Algoma Central dome coach observation. The cars were last used on CN’s Algoma Central Railway Agawa Canyon Tour Train. CN gained ownership of the cars when it acquired Wisconsin Central and subsidiary Algoma Central in 2001.

The former WP car was named Silver Palace and numbered 813 when the Budd Co. delivered it to Western Pacific in 1948. It remained in Zephyr service until the train was discontinued in 1970, then was sold to Auto-Train. It went through a succession of owners, and was leased to several operators before WC bought the car in 1998. Among the work being done on the car are all new dome windows, removing paint and a red painted band from the side of the car, replacing damaged side windows, head end power repairs, Amtrak certification updates, generator rebuilding, electrical clean ups and updates, servicing of the plumbing system, service and repair HVAC system, new window sills, new custom ordered carpet (like what is currently in Skytop Cedar Rapids but blue), and LED lighting upgrades. The car will make its debut on the Gourmet Express in September.

The Algoma Central car was one 15 of the dome blunt-end observation cars ordered by Union Pacific from American Car & Foundry. UP received the car in February 1955 and assigned it to the City of Los Angeles. It was sold to Auto-Train in 1972 and renumbered 901. In late 1981, it was sold to a dealer, then in 1982 was sold to the Green Bay & Western Railroad for use as a business car. WC acquired the GB&W in 1993, and in 1997 the car was moved to Algoma Central

With the addition of the two cars, the Friends now own cars built by the three major dome car builders: American Car & Foundry, Budd Co., and Pullman Standard. The Friends has owned P-S built Milwaukee Road Super Dome No. 53 since 2005.


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