Advertising the Vista-Dome North Coast Limited

Naturally, the Northern Pacific featured dome cars and other improvements in its advertising for the North Coast Limited. I don’t know where the following ad came from, but it was put together well before the domes arrived and obviously is little influenced by Budd, the dome-cars’ builder.

The dome car in the ad has a smooth roof instead of the ribs on the actual dome-car roofs. Even the sides are smoother than in reality; though the NP domes did not have the flutes of, say, a Burlington dome, they did have a few minor ridges on the side. Finally, the drawing shows full-width diaphragms between the cars. These were common on pre-war streamliners but had gone out of fashion by 1954 and I don’t think were ever used on any Northern Pacific passenger cars.

Leslie Ragan’s portrayal of the North Coast Limited, commissioned by Budd, shows both the roof ribs and subtle side ribs. (Click to view the complete Budd Company ad.)

Click this or any following image for a larger view. Warning: Most of these files range from 4 to 16 megabytes

A black-and-white version of the above ad appeared in the September, 1954, National Geographic, but this color version, from a September issue of, probably, Saturday Evening Post, looks much nicer.

By December, 1954, the NP could safely advertise that each North Coast Limited had four dome cars. Notice that the exterior view of the dome car is from the “coming soon” ad above. (This and all following ads appeared in National Geographic.)

In July, 1955, the NP splurged on a four-color ad. Note that it does not yet mention the Traveller’s Rest cars.

This ad from August 1955 not only uses the “coming soon” image but has an interior view of the pre-Traveller’s Rest coffee shop car.

In July 1956 the NP splurged again: not only four colors but two pages of ads. The Traveller’s Rest car finally makes an appearance in the ad.

This full-color ad from December, 1956 uses many of the same images as the two-page ad above but fits them on one page–and all in color.

In April, 1957, the ads are back to black-and-white.

Another ad in June of 1957.

They may be black-and-white, but this October 1957 ad means three full-page NP ads in one year, more than in the previous several years. Note that the photographs used in this ad differ from those in the June ad but use many of the same models.


Advertising the Vista-Dome North Coast Limited — 1 Comment

  1. Just a note–I grew up in the Minneapolis/St.Paul TV market in the 50s. Northern Pacific was a nightly advertiser on one of the leading TV sports reports at the time, which aired at 10:20pm. (In those days, one got 15 minutes of news at 10, 5 minutes of weather at 10:15, and 10 minutes of sports at 10:20–all including commercial time.) “Vista-dome North Coast Limited” is still one word to me, I heard it so often. Interestingly, I’m sure there were Great Northern ads on local TV, but none that I remember as vividly as those NP ads in the late 50s.

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