Santa Fe Super Chief dining car, sleeping car rooms

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Two photos above and two below from Santa Fe’s brochure, “Travel the Chief Way.” The Turquoise Room, second below, a dining room for private parties, was located on the lower level of the “pleasure dome” lounge car, which always ran adjacent to the diner.

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Super Chief “Welcome Aboard” brochure


For reading, click to enlarge and then click on the enlargement to enlarge further.


Super Chief observation Navajo and bar in lounge Acoma, 1937


Both Santa Fe Railway photos are reproduced here from the beautiful Classic American Streamliners, Mike Schafer and Joe Welsh. There are many good books on specific streamliners but Classic American Streamliners has an impressive collection of  photographs, some new to my eyes, although the two above appear also in other books, such as Santa Fe Streamliners: The Chiefs and Their Tribesmen, Karl Zimmermann.

Super Chief, Dearborn Station, Chicago


By the years (1960s) that I saw the train coming through Pomona, California, the observation was gone, although the lighted drumhead remained on the rear. In summer and during the Christmas season, the train regularly carried 8 sleepers, the pleasure dome lounge, and diner. The rest of the year 4 sleepers, with diner and dome lounge in the middle, ran attached to the hi-level El Capitan.

Photo above from Classic American Streamliners.

Santa Fe Super Chief (today Amtrak Southwest Chief) en route


Passing Devil’s Footstool near Los Cerrillos, NM. Santa Fe photo by R. Collins Bradley reproduced here from an Audio-Visual Designs postcard.


Ascending Raton Pass, Fred Harvey postcard. These were sold aboard trains in packets of six varied scenes.


In a field of California poppies. Photo reproduced here from a Western Publishing and Novelty Co. postcard.


This photo, reproduced here from Santa Fe’s free booklet for kids called “The Railroad,” looks like it was taken in Colorado or Northern New Mexico, and the twelve-car consist certainly looks like the Super Chief. The photo may predate the dome lounge on the train, because the dome appears to have been drawn onto the photo, but maybe that’s just a trick of light.

Baltimore and Ohio lounge car, late 40s, early 50s



Photo reproduced here from the book shown below and in the text described as “a new streamlined combine lounge.” Since I have recently posted some about B&O, and since interior shots of so many trains seem to me hard to come by, I include this excellent photo of a stunning car.

The Richard Jay Solomon front-cover photo, below, shows the National Limited, April 1958, at Central Railroad of New Jersey’s Jersey City Station.


Domeliner City of St Louis observation lounge car being run on the rear of the train


Where else would I expect an observation lounge to be, you might ask. But until I found this wonderful picture on the “other” Streamliner Memories blog (, whereas I’m at .com), I wasn’t sure these cars had ever been run on the end of the train. By April 1959, the first time I saw the COSL, and ever thereafter, they were run mid-train, behind the diner. The interior of the car is shown in the City of St. Louis brochure posted below, and in that interior picture it’s obviously being run on the end.

The cars were added to the Cities of LA, Portland, and St. Louis in 1955, so they ran on the end of trains at most four years. Competitor Santa Fe dropped its observation cars around the same time.

Union Pacific-Wabash (later UP-Norfolk and Western) City of St. Louis



Click on photos to enlarge them, and then click on the enlargements to enlarge further.



Notice the differences between the brochure below, dated December 1964, and the one above, dated April 1960. The later brochure includes the N&W logo on the front, whereas the older one doesn’t include the Wabash logo. (I have a number of these City of St. Louis brochures and perhaps will come to one with the Wabash logo; I can’t remember whether it ever appeared.) Also different, the shot of the main floor of the dome observation lounge is facing the front of the car in 1964 and facing the back in 1960. Even by 1960, I don’t think this car was still being run on the end, but rather between the diner and the sleepers. Dome obs-lounges went into service on the Cities of LA, St. Louis, and Portland in 1955, but the cars ran on the end of the trains only for a year or so, at most a few years. I only once saw one on the end, not counting the wonderful I Love Lucy episode where the Ricardos and the Mertzes ride the City of LA and the train is shown with the dome obs-lounge on the rear. The final difference between the two brochures is that the later one also shows the lounge car that was open to all passengers and ran ahead of the diner. The City of St. Louis carried a dome coach as well. It differed from the Cities of LA and Portland in that it never carried a dome diner and that it carried the club-lounge for coach passengers instead of the café-lounge on the LA and Portland Cities domeliners.


The black-and-white dining car photo above is reproduced from the book jacket of Dennis Ryan and Joseph Shine, Southern Pacific Passenger Trains, Volume 2, Day Trains of the Coast Line. The caption reads: “Awash in the depot lights of Topeka, Steward Dennis Kogan accounts for dinner receipts collected aboard the westbound City of St. Louis as chef Dennis Ryan and Barsteward Joseph Shine (all then much younger) review photos and material for this and many other books since published by Four Ways West Publicatons.” I like the photo because it shows a dining car as they appear to those of us who ride Amtrak today: with crew at work at a table, sometimes a little messy, not the elegant-restaurant publicity appearance the streamliner brochures depicted.

The color shot of the City of St. Louis leaving Denver is reproduced from an Audio-Visual designs post card and dated September 1966.

The bottom pictures, from Harold Ranks and Wm. Kratville, The Union Pacific Streamliners, show the City of St. Louis being christened and leaving its namesake town. Note that the train was in UP’s two-tone gray Overland color scheme. The date was June 2, 1946, and from then until April 1951 the train ran only between St. Louis and Cheyenne, WY, where its cars for Seattle-Portland, Los Angeles, and Oakland were transferred to other trains (The Idahoan, the Overland, and the Pony Express, not to the other City streamliners). In April 1951 the City of St.Louis became a through St. Louis-Los Angeles streamliner. It’s route was circuitous, and leaving St. Louis around four, it arrived LA mid-afternoon two days later, not the fastest way to go between the two cities. The Rock Island-Southern Pacific Golden State carried a through sleeper from St. Louis, using Missouri Pacific to Kansas City, and that car left St. Louis at four and arrived LA at 7:30 on the second morning, 7 or 8 hours ahead of the City of St. Louis. Returning, the City left LA in mid-morning and reached St. Louis around noon, while the Golden State through sleeper left LA at 1:30 and reached St. Louis early in the morning.

To see all posts for the current month, you may need to click on “older posts,” after the last visible post. To see prior months’ posts, click on the month, under archives, and then also remember to click on “older posts” when you get to the end of those posts that are first visible for each month. To enlarge pictures click on them; click again to enlarge them further. To see everything in some posts, you’ll need to click on “continue reading.” Enjoy!

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