Publicizing the First Dome Car

In addition to the brochure presented yesterday, the Burlington distributed thousands of copies of this postcard showing the new Silver Dome car. “In this new type of car,” says the back of the card, “24 passengers are seated in the Vista Dome, a laminated, heat and ray-resisting glass penthouse.”

Click image to download a PDF of the front and back of this postcard advertising the Silver Dome.

The Burlington also published this ad in National Geographic and other magazines. It refers to its own dome as a “Vista-Dome” but calls the General Motors’ dome idea an “Astra-Liner.” Union Pacific tended to call its domes “Astra-Domes,” while the Missouri Pacific used the term “Planetarium Domes” and the Santa Fe called the domes on its Super Chief “Pleasure Domes.”

Click image for a larger view.

The ad also makes the curious claim that the remodeled car contains “six more seats than before.” This is curious because the car actually lost 18 revenue seats. As a coach, it had 52 revenue seats, but as a dome car, it had 34 revenue and 24 non-revenue seats–and some of the revenue seats, being beneath the dome, were of limited value. Dome coaches that Budd built for later Burlington day-trains had as many as 54 revenue seats, while Budd dome coaches for overnight trains had 46 revenue seats, each with more leg room than the 52 seats in Silver Alchemy.

Click image for a much-larger (2-MB) view.

Someone recently advertised the above image on ebay as a 7×10 print that was supposedly 64 years old. However, I suspect it is a more modern print based on a photograph from a 1945 National Geographic magazine. Unfortunately, my collection of National Geographics doesn’t go quite that far back. The photo caption says, “Later, domes will be teardrop-shaped,” referring to the curved-glass windows planned by Budd.


Leave a Reply