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CB&Q 235 Silver Chateau Denver CO Aug 20, 1964, photo by Chuck Zeiler

Chicago Burlington & Quincy dome lounge observation 235 "Silver Chateau", on the rear of Train #10, the eastbound Denver Zephyr at Denver, Colorado, August 20, 1964, photo by Chuck Zeiler.

This car was one of two built for the 1956 Denver Zephyr (DZ). The order was placed to the Budd Company in February 1955 (Job 9646-169) and delivered in September 1956. The other car built on this order was 236, the "Silver Veranda". The forward parlor section and the rear observation section each seated 11 passengers, while the bar/lounge under the dome served 12 patrons. Ultimately, these two cars found their way into Amtrak service, renumbered 9330 and 9331. I don't know the final disposition. There were two other blunt-end dome observation cars built for the 1953 Kansas City Zephyr; #365, "Silver Terrace" and #366 "Silver Tower", but they were a different configuration, and their domes were shifted forward of the center of the carbody. They became Amtrak 9320 and 9321.

I had occasion to ride this car. My parents took me on a trip to Colorado Springs in August 1964. I had a single room in the Slumbercoach, while my parents enjoyed a compartment in one of the sleepers. The Slumbercoach was a tight fit, packing 24 single and eight double bedrooms in an 85 foot car. Although each single bedroom had its own toilet, the only way to use the toilet at night was to open the door to the hallway, lift the bed up and stow it away. When in use, the bed covered the toilet, in fact the bed took up the whole room.

I was a real pain on the trip, I wanted to do train stuff, my parents wanted to do tourist stuff. I was only 16, so they won. After a week, it was time to head back to Chicago, and they finally broke down and dumped me off at the train station while they packed and checked out of the hotel. I shot photos of everything with flanged wheels that I saw. Some of the photos can be seen at this link (the photos dated August 20, 1964):

The arrangement was for select cars to be removed from the DZ upon arrival at Denver, and attached to the rear of the waiting D&RGW Train #1, the Royal Gorge (RG). These cars were the DZ's Colorado Springs Connection, and would be uncoupled at Colorado Springs. When they were empty, a waiting D&RGW switcher would collect them and any freight cars that needed transfer, and this "mixed train" would move to the other side of town, where they would be attached to the northbound D&RGW Train #2 RG for return to Denver. In Denver, a waiting CB&Q Alco S2 switcher would remove them from the RG and switch them into the waiting DZ. See this link for the switcher, and the second link shows the front of this train

This gave me the opportunity to hop off and snap more photos. Once the train was assembled and ready to leave, I got aboard, hanging out a dutch door and snapping more photos. This met with disapproval of the crew, and I was banished to my Slumbercoach room, at least until they could collect the tickets. I escaped my room and wandered the length of the train, sitting in vacant coach seats for a while, visiting every dome, peeking into empty compartments, and finally enjoying a fine steak dinner with my parents. After everyone retired for the evening, I made my way back to the Silver Chateau, which by late evening was nearly vacant. I parked myself in the dome and watched as evening turning into night, and the Mars light of the lead E8 danced across the tracks ahead. I spent the entire evening in that dome savoring every moment, and each new crew checked in on me, but left me alone in the dome, enjoying green signals turning to red as we made our way across mid-America. As the evening wore on, the only occupants of the Silver Chateau were the conductor and rear brakeman, and me.
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