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The upper level of an SP dome.

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SP Dome Car No. 3601.

The first of Southern Pacific's Dome Cars, No. 3600.
Car List 
No. 3600
Year Built: 1954
Formerly: SP Parlor-round end observation No. 2950 (built 1937)
Disposition: Scrapped 1973
Note: This car was 81 ft. long. All the others were 85 ft. It was also the only car with a true "3/4" dome - the others had a full-length dome with a 3/4 length upper floor beneath the glass. In 3600, the 1/4 remaining space was sleeper space for OB crew.
No. 3601
Year Built: 1955
Formerly: TNO parlor No. 700 (Built by Pullman-Standard 1937)
Disposition: Scrapped 1988-1989
No. 3602
Year Built: 1955
Formerly: SP Lunch counter - tavern - lounge No. 10311 (Built by Pullman-Standard 1937)
Disposition: Preserved, due to be restored
Note:  34 dome seats
No. 3603
Year Built: 1955
Formerly: SP Lunch counter - tavern - lounge No. 10310 (Built by Pullman-Standard 1937)
Disposition: Restored to "Rio Charges" and operating on Panama Railway
Note: 34 dome seats
No. 3604
Year Built: 1955
Formerly: SP 29 seat parlor - one drawing room car No. 3000 (Built by Pullman-Standard 1937)
Disposition: Now a stationary restaurant
No. 3605
Year Built: 1955
Formerly: SP Tavern car No. 10312 (Built by Pullman-Standard 1937)
Disposition: Preserved and in storage
Note: 48 dome seats
No. 3606
Year Built: 1955
Formerly: T&NO Diner lounge/round end observation No. 950 (Built by Pullman-Standard 1937)
Disposition: Refurbished, used as a retail location.

SP Dome Overview
Build date: 1954-1955
Manufacturer: Southern Pacific

Number Built: 7
Numbers: 3600-3606

See also:
Passenger Cars

The first of Southern Pacific's Dome Cars, No. 3600.

SP herald.
SP Dome Car No. 3601.
The upper level of an SP dome.
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Southern Pacific Dome Cars
Southern Pacific converted seven lounge and observation cars one three-quarter length and six slightly less than full-length dome cars in 1954 and 1955. A lower-level lounge at one end of the car was topped by a high, domed ceiling.

The Southern Pacific designed and built its own dome cars out of older cars it had on hand due to the fact that most dome cars were too tall to fit through its tunnels. The first car was built from a 1938 Coast Daylight observation car using a dome lattice and windows manufactured by the Budd Company. This car also had a crew-dorm at the rear end and was shorter (81 feet compared to 85 feet) than the other SP domes. On June 24, 1954, this car was introduced on the San Joaquin Daylight.

These were among the shortest domes ever built at only 15-feet, 2-inches tall. This was a full inch shorter than the Baltimore and Ohio’s Pullman-built domes for their Columbian passenger train, and five inches shorter than the Milwaukee Road’s Super Domes. Most of the Budd-built short domes were a whopping eight inches taller.

The SP domes featured upper deck with seats that extended approximately half the car’s length. The first car’s upper deck had approximately 28 coach-like seats and 16 more seats that faced tables. The five dome cars built after the first car featured coach seats with bench seats at tables. The last two cars were built for the Shasta Daylight and featured upper decks that had bench seats and tables.

Each car had two stairways, with one stairway leading to the door to the next car and the other going down to a 20-seat lounge with the dome above, which gave it a cathedral-like feel. A small kitchen for serving drinks and snacks to passengers was in end of the car that did not have a domed ceiling.

In addition to the San Joaquin Daylight and the Shasta Daylight, Southern Pacific’s domes also served on the Coast Daylight.