• Built 3/1949
• SN 6245
• Following NYC PC merger, became PC 4034.
EMD NYC 4112 was an E7B, 2,000 hp (1,491 kW) passenger locomotive.
• Built 2/1948
• SN 4857
• Following NYC PC merger, became PC 4112. Same fate as 4034.
Train of Tomorrow
On the brighter side of the E7 story, General Motors went off script, and decided to show the public their new 2,000 hp passenger locomotive, towing the first dome cars to enter rail service.
As the legend goes, a vice president of General Motors was impressed with the view from the cab of an E7. He challenged his technical staff to design a "car with a view." Working with tekkies at Pullman-Standard, the Astra Dome was conceived.
A souvenir brochure (14 MB .pdf) relates how the concept for the train evolved. The Astra Dome featured the same heavy laminated window panels, found in warplanes. (See "Preserving the Moon Glow Car," listed in the Addendum, shows how the windows were salvage.)
The cars were semi-permanently coupled, with fairing to emphasize "streamliner of the future," and assigned lyrical names.
• Dome coach named "Star Dust"
• Dome diner named "Sky View"
• Dome sleeper named "Dream Cloud"
• Dome observation lounge named "Moon Glow"
• Built 4/19/1947
• SN 4147
• To Union Pacific 988, 4/1950
• UP converted to E8 specifications, 2x EMD 12V-567B, 2,250 hp, (1,678 kW), 1964.
• To Amtrak 417, 5/1971
• Amtrak converted to E9 specifications, 2x EMD 12V-567C, 2,400 hp, (1,790 kW), 1974
• AMTK 417 shows up again in a scrap yard.
Danbury Railway Museum in Danbury Connecticut. (There never was a "4096"; the number follows the roster of E's in the New York Central fleet.)
The "Train of Tomorrow" cars and matching locomotive were painted a silverish shade of blue, with stainless steel fluted panels bolted on to give the train an added taste of modernity.
Completed in May, 1947, GM dispatched it on a transcontinental tour, announced to the public with a two page spread in Life Magazine, June 16, 1947.
• The "Train of Tomorrow" traveled 65,000 mile, covering 28 states.
• An estimated 6 million visitors rode or stood in long lines whilst on static display. I have not been able to verify this; but I ran across a photo of the train with a Pullman-Standard green baggage car attached. This to carry baggage of passengers on some press runs, as no Astra Dome baggage car was conceived!
• General Motor's invested US$1.5M to build the Train of Tomorrow, in 1947. Today, the project would cost GM US$16M plus change. The U.S. dollar saw inflation at an average rate of 3.50% per year between 1947 and 2016.
New Life on the Union Pacific
The entire "Train of Tomorrow" was purchased by Union Pacific in April 1950. Following re-paint, the locomotive and cars went into service between Portland, Oregon and Seattle, Washington on schedules 457 (northbound) and 458, beginning on June 18, 1950.
• E7A EMDX 765 renumbered UP988
• Baggage, mail, express cars.
• Five or six 48 seat chair cars.
• Train of Tomorrow domed cars, bearing UP numbers (See Don Strack, Addendum, below.)
• Northbound, a sleeper car from the Chicago to Portland "City of Portland."
Round trip fares:, expressed in 1950's US$:
• Chair cars, $6.84.
• Dome coach "Star Dust," $9.49.
• To ride the dome sleeper (referred to as "suites") $15.65, which also included access to the domed club/observation car, "Moon Glow."
And according to a report in the Oregonian, that was $2.64 less that riding a DC-6 between PDX and SEA.
But there is a happy conclusion. The Union Station Foundation in Ogden has established a plan to salvage this priceless piece of railroad history.
Addendum• Don Strack, UtahRails.net, provides a rich history of each car to its final disposition
• Ric Morgan has written "Train of Tomorrow," considered by many as the "essential" history of the train. Available through Abe's Books and other outlets.
• General Motors "promotional short," shown in movie theaters.
• "Inspection" Train of Tomorrow.
• "Preserving the Moon Glow Car" Domed observation/club car, Train of Tomorrow.
• "Moon Glow Restoration" Removing components to safe storage.
• "Riding Train of Tomorrow" Black and white, no sound, but great views inside Astra Domes!