Chicago Burlington & Quincy 4717

"Silver Lodge"

1948 California Zephyr "Vista Dome" Coach


Type Vista Dome Coach

Train:  California Zephyr

Builder:  Budd Company

Build Date April, 1948

Acquired: Purchased by FRRS, part of FRRS "Zephyr Project"

Status:  Stored pending restoration



The original California Zephyr ran over the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad from Chicago to Denver, Colorado, the Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad between Denver and Salt Lake City, Utah, and the Western Pacific Railroad from Salt Lake City to Oakland, California. Cars owned by different railroads ran together; cars cycled in and out of the consists for service, repairs, and varying passenger loads with the seasons.

The first train was christened in San Francisco by Eleanor Parker while California Lieutenant Governor Goodwin Knight, Mayor of San Francisco Elmer Robinson, and WP President Harry A. Mitchell looked on. For the inaugural run in 1949, every female passenger on the train was given a corsage of "silver" and orange orchids that were specially flown in from Hilo, Hawaii. The women who worked as car hostesses on this train were known as "Zephyrettes."

The train traversed the route's 2,525 mi (4,064 km) in 2 days.

Equipment used

The passenger cars used when the train was inaugurated in 1949 were as follows:


         Vista-Dome chair car (Women & Children's car)

         Vista-Dome chair car (Conductor's Car)

         Vista-Dome chair car

         Vista-Dome dormitory-buffet-lounge car

         Sleeper (10 roomettes, 6 double bedrooms)

         Sleeper (10 roomettes, 6 double bedrooms)

         Diner (48 seats)

         Sleeper (16 sections)

         Sleeper (10 roomettes, 6 double bedrooms) this was a run-through car to New York City

         Vista-Dome dormitory-buffet-lounge-observation (1 drawing room, 3 double bedrooms)

The forward section of the first Vista-Dome car was partitioned off and reserved for women and children only. There was a door in the corridor under the dome just behind the women's restroom that provided access to the reserved section. Early on however, this reserved section was opened up to all passengers and the door and partitions were removed. Like the train's operation, ownership of the cars was split between the three railroads almost evenly across all car types. Each car was owned by a single railroad, but the ownership of the cars on any specific day's run of the train depended more on what equipment was available at the terminals than whose railroad the train was operating over at the time.

California Zephyr "Silver Lodge", in storage at the Western Pacific Railroad Museum awaiting restoration.


Links to Train Sheet articles about CB&Q 4717:
Train Sheet #131, Page 8:  CZ Dome "Silver Lodge" Arrives in Portola
Train Sheet #127, Page 6:  CZ "Silver Lodge" Purchased