Thursday, February 20, 2020

Surplus Domes in Beech Grove

Beech Grove, IN (February 20, 2020) — Dome cars were a fixture on most of Amtrak’s western long-distance trains through the late 1970's.

Dome cars could be described as the ultimate traveling experience aboard a passenger train and their addition to such famous trains as the California Zephyr and Empire Builder vastly increased their popularity by giving patrons unequaled vistas of the passing scenery of the Rocky Mountains and Pacific Northwest.

Surplus short domes are shown in March 1995 at the Beech Grove shops after being removed from service and awaiting sale to new owners.

During its early years Amtrak continued to provide dome car service via the used equipment it received from the railroads. Today, though, that is not the case. However, they do operate a version of these cars in the way of Superliners, which are double-decked cars that serve in the same function as domes with lounge-seating accommodations on the upper floors to passengers can watch the passing scenery from the highest vantage point.

But as Superliner equipment began arriving in 1979 many of the dome cars were retired and sold to private owners. A few domes were rebuilt as dome coaches for the Heritage Fleet and they operated on such trains as the City of New Orleans, Capitol Limited and Lake Shore Limited.

Domes on the latter operated only west of Albany, New York. But the gradual retirement of the Heritage Fleet also meant the sidelining of its fleet of short domes. The Capitol Limited and City of New Orleans lost their domes due to the trains being assigned Superliner equipment. Amfleet II coaches became the standard for the Lake Shore Limited.

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Thursday, February 13, 2020

New York Central Number 6451

Beech Grove, IN (February 13, 2020) —Pictured is New York Central Number 6451 in 1930 along with the crew of Locomotive Erecting Shop of the Beech Grove Shops as the locomotive is about to enter service.

The large crew needed to build such an enormous and complicated steam powered machine consisted of metal fabricators, welders, pipe fitters, mechanics and several other skilled tradesmen.

The facility served as the company’s major repair shop for steam locomotives and passenger and freight cars, and also contained an extensive freight rail yard. Surrounding this important building were the smaller coach, paint, boiler, and wheel shops.

Acquired by the New York Central Railway (NYC) in 1906, the Big Four operated as an independent entity until it was finally subsumed by its owner in 1922.

The shops remained in the hands of the NYC until it merged with the rival Pennsylvania Railroad in 1968 to form Penn Central, whose tenure was short-lived as it declared bankruptcy in 1970.

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