FROM BLW/ZT ... The
1955 Empire Builder!
Quoting from John F Strauss, Jr. of the Great Northern Railway Historical Society in GNRHS
Reference Sheet 227:
"... in 1953 the Great Northern announced an order of dome cars for the Empire
Builder. These dome cars became the last new passenger cars purchased by the Great
Northern. Even though the Great Northern could be regarded as the
"Johnny-Come-Lately" to the dome competition, when it decided to do so, it did
so in grand style.
Each of the five Empire Builders in service received three dome coaches and one
full-length dome lounge car, and they were the only Northwest domeliners to have two
differently styled domes in their consists.
With these four dome cars, the Empire Builder offered 150 dome seats to its passengers,
more by quite a few than offered by any of the competing domeliners; the Canadian, the
City of Portland, the North Coast Limited, the Olympian Hiawatha, and the Super
The coach domes were inaugurated into the consists on May 29, 1955 and the full-length
dome lounge cars were placed in service during the following October. The dome coaches and
the full-length dome lounge cars were named "Great Domes" by the Great Northern,
which described the 1955 Empire Builder in an information brochure, as follows:
"Today's modern fleet of five Great Dome streamliners whisks across the top of the
nation daily, offering the utmost in luxurious accommodations at standard fares.
Rediscover the joys of train travel. Go Great...Go Great Northern's Incomparable Great
Dome Empire Builder."
This set includes a fairly standard consist for this premiere train, circa 1957.
GN F-7A #363C
GN F-7B #281B
GN F-7B #365B
GN F-7A #270A
Storage Mail GN #272
RPO-Storage mail GN #42
Baggage - REA GN #274
Baggage-Dormitory GN #1201
60-seat coach GN #1210
46-seat dome coach GN #1324
46-seat dome coach SP&S #1332
46-seat dome coach CB&Q #1334
Ranch (Cafe - Grill) GN #1245 Whitefish Lake
4-7-3-1 Sleeper GN #1262
4-7-3-1 Sleeper GN #1274
Bois De Sioux River
6-5-2 Sleeper GN #1380 Suiattle Pass
36-seat diner GN #1254 Lake
Great Dome Lounge GN #1392
4-7-3-1 Sleeper GN #1264
Bad Axe River
6-5-2 Sleeper GN #1375 Jefferson
6-4-1 lounge obs GN #1193 Rocky
Every effort was made to accurately capture the look and feel of this famous name train.
Special Thanks to the folks are railfonts.com for the excellent Empire Builder font.
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Screen shots by Rail Sim Images
taken on VSC's A&O Sub , WHITEFISH 4 - Hawk's & GN Hi Line - Michael Stephan
BLW © 2007 Belanger Locomotive Works / ZosaTrains ALL RIGHTS RESERVED