Passengers riding the Amtrak Cardinal train between Chicago and Washington, D.C., on selected dates in October and November will once again have the unique opportunity to experience spectacular views of West Virginia and Virginia fall foliage season when the historic “Great Dome” rail car makes a return appearance for two round-trips.
The car features an upper level with windows on all sides – as well as overhead – to provide passengers with panoramic views of the changing colors of the trees and of the New River Gorge and the Shenandoah Valley. The dome section runs the full length of the car, a rare feature even when dome cars were more numerous on the nation’s railroads.
The dome car will operate eastbound from Chicago on two Saturdays, Oct. 29 and Nov. 5, and westbound from Washington on two Fridays, Nov. 4 and 11. The Cardinal (Trains 50 & 51) operates three days weekly between Chicago and New York, via Indianapolis, Cincinnati and Huntington, West Virginia. The height of the car prevents it from operating between Washington and New York.
“The opportunity to ride the Cardinal and view the colorful fall foliage from the panoramic windows of the Great Dome car is one our passengers will always remember,” said Brian Rosenwald, chief of product development for Amtrak. “We’re thrilled to offer this very special service.”
Seats in the dome car are not reserved and are available on a first-come, first-served basis for travel only on these dates in October and November.
About the “Great Dome” Car
The only remaining dome car in Amtrak service, car number 10031, is a Great Dome car previously used on the Chicago-Seattle Empire Builder when the train was operated by the Great Northern Railway and the Chicago Burlington & Quincy Railroad (later the Burlington Northern Railroad). It was built in 1955 by the Budd Company for the Great Northern and carried the name “Ocean View,” car number 1391. It was conveyed to Amtrak in 1971, with this car first being given the number 9361. It was renovated in 1985, renumbered 9300, and used in daily service on the Amtrak Auto Train to and from the Washington, D.C., and Orlando, Fla., areas through 1994.It was further refurbished in 1999, renumbered to 10031. This year, the “Ocean View” has been freshly re-painted in honor of Amtrak’s 40th Anniversary in the Amtrak Phase III paint scheme and wears stripes comprised of equal red, white and blue stripes, symbolic of Amtrak being America’s Railroad.