This beautiful booklet was used to introduce the 1949 Columbian, an all-coach train between Chicago and Baltimore-Washington that complemented the all-Pullman Capital Limited. I’ve previously described this train twice, but this booklet provides far more information.
As built by Pullman, the first car on the train was half crew dorm and half coffee shop with seating for 16 people. This was followed by two 56-seat coaches; the dome-coach with 42 revenue seats, 24 non-revenue seats in the dome, and 17 non-revenue seats underneath the dome; a 38-seat diner; two more 56-seat coaches; and finally a full-length observation car with 41 seats. That’s 136 non-revenue seats for 266 revenue seats, a pretty impressive ratio (though not as high as many western trains).
Being an all-coach train, B&O originally planned to run it during daylight hours, but at the last minute put it into overnight service. A 1955 schedule shows it just a few minutes apart from or running at identical times as the Capital Limited. In 1958, the B&O added Slumbercoaches to the train.
In response to a brief brochure about the train, someone asked where the “semi-private coach sections” were located. This booklet shows that they were underneath the dome along with two small restrooms. One lounge had room for six people; another for eleven. Both lounges were non-revenue areas open to all passengers. “Their large, comfortable sofa-type seats, Marbelle flooring, fluorescent lights, and smoking accessories” made them “friendly, cozy gathering places.”
These lounges were probably used mainly as smoking rooms. The 56-seat coaches had large lounges and dressing rooms associated with the restrooms. Many Budd domes also had men’s and women’s dressing rooms associated with restrooms under the domes. The non-gender-specific lounges in these Pullman domes may have provided family space as well as smoking areas, as shown in the pictures in this booklet, but at the sacrifice of not having dressing rooms in that car.