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CB&Q Vista-Dome Buffet-Lounge-Observation #377 -- Silver Solarium

The Silver Solarium was built by the Budd Company in 1948 as one of the original six vista dome observation sleeping cars for the famed California Zephyr which was inaugurated on March 20, 1949. In the Zephyr consist the car carried the designation as CZ-10. Built to Plan Number 9511 the Solarium had an operating weight of 159,250 pounds (almost 80 tons). As built, the car contained lounge space for 50 and overnight space in 3 double bedrooms and a single drawing room that contained the only shower facility on the train.

The car was one of three cars assigned to the Chicago Burlington and Quincy Railroad (CB&Q) share of the pool of equipment for the California Zephyr that operated through March 1970. The car carried CB&Q number 377. The Silver Solarium later served the CB&Q and later Burlington Northern on various routes until ownership was transferred to Amtrak in 1971. Amtrak renumbered the car as Amtrak 9252 and retained the name.

The car served Amtrak patrons throughout the country until being retired in April 1978 with over 7 million miles. Amtrak sold the Silver Solarium in November 1985 to a private individual who restored the car for private charter service.

Today, the Silver Solarium is the only one of the seven original California Zephyr vista dome observation cars in private charter service. From August 2002 through November 2002, the car was used by the American Orient Express as the tail car. The Silver Solarium carries Amtrak private car number 800333.


At the right is the current full-load capacity of car #377. Bar seating under the dome was converted into a master bedroom.


        Area   Seats
Dome   24
Lounge 11
Bed Rooms 11



These cars had the latest in technology and were constructed with Stainless Steel. Not just the outside sheathing, the structure was also Stainless..

Here is looking forward in the rear lounge. The center stairs go up to the Vista-Dome. At the left you go down a couple of stairs to the bar.

Here is looking down the dome stairs into the rear lounge.

Here is an older configuration without a desk.

In the old days, the top center red light was a Mars lamp that oscillated in a figure-eight pattern. No longer allowed. Today a moving Red light means STOP.

The webbing is so you wouldn't fall out of the top berth if you forgot where you were.

The buffet seating area below the dome has been made into a master stateroom. The bar is intact..

This is what railroad's call a Clearance Diagram. 

To Download and run a video that is very similar to what our train will look like, click: "Amtrak"
We will be using that tail car, but in the video, the other CZ car is a sleeper with no vista-dome. We will be using a vista-dome coach instead

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