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History-Silver Solarium: Vista-dome-Sleeper-Lounge

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 (showers on trains were not expected in 1948!)

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 377 as for accounting purposes. 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 original California Zephyr vista dome observation cars in private charter service. The car was acquired in June 2002 by Rail Journeys West, Inc.

From August 2002 through November 2002, the car was selected by use by the American Orient Express for use as the rear end car on the AOE II train. The Silver Solarium carries Amtrak private car number 800333.

For more information, or to make a reservation, please contact us.

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