Sunday, October 31, 2010

Experience Amtrak's Great Dome

Many years ago, when traveling by rail was a luxurious experience, America built the finest railroad cars in the world.  Those days are over, but many of the old cars still exist, having been handed over to Amtrak when it began operations in 1971. 

Among these amazing old rail cars is Car 10031, the Great Dome. With 90 seats, the Great Dome began its life as the Ocean View and was one of just six cars whose signature domed glass ceilings spanned their entire 85-foot length.  Today, it's the only such car left in Amtrak's inventory.

Car 10031, the Great Dome
For several years, Amtrak has brought the Great Dome into service on its Adirondack route linking New York City and Montreal.  This year, Amtrak is offering passengers a very limited chance to experience this vintage railroad car another way, as part of its Cardinal route between Chicago and Washington, D.C.

The Great Dome is being included on just four trips, one of which unfortunately was today (Train 50 from Chicago to Washington).  The other three are:
  • Nov 5, Train 51, WAS-CHI
  • Nov 6, Train 50, CHI-WAS
  • Nov 12, Train 51, WAS CHI
Amtrak's Cardinal route is featuring the Great Dome on just a few trips between Chicago and Washington, D.C.
To take advantage of this rare opportunity, passengers don't need to get a ticket for the dome itself.  Any passenger riding on the train, whether in Coach or in Sleeper First Class, may sit in the Great Dome on a first-come, first-serve basis.

As I'm writing this, ticket prices start at just $83.  Unfortunately, having found out about this slightly too late, I can't make any of the dates.  If you can and do, though, send pictures!

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