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Although B&O obtained other domes when the C&O "Chessie" was stillborn, the "original" pair of domes were the first PS cars sold to a railroad, and B&O placed them in it's Baltimore-Chicago "Columbian" service, May 5, 1949. The "Chessie" domes were built by Budd and acquired from C&O in 1950 (cars originally delivered to C&O in 1948).

On the 5550 and 5551, a large panel on the front dome bulkhead held a speedometer, altimeter, barometer, and clock. Below was a speaker grill adorned with a large "B&O" for a radio and public address system.

The dome seated 24 in low backed seats for better visibility, as the cars had only 21" vs 28" standard dome height due to eastern clearance restrictions.

Downstairs were another 42 seats and two step-down lounge areas under the dome. Rather than being enclosed by full walls, the lounge areas had waist-high railings and were open to the thru-passageway and the seating area at the rear of the car.

In 1952, B&O added four floodlights just forward of the domes (on all their domes, not just the 2 original cars) to give customers "night" scenery. The lights were turned off when passing thru towns.

B&O 5550 named "High Dome" - Amtrak 9420, wrecked & repaired. Sent to Chicago to re-enter service and derailed/rerailed twice en route. Set out and returned to Grove via slow freight. Retired officially 11/75 due to wreck damage, stored at Beech Grove until sold 2/76 to Earl Bishop (a CONRAIL employee) through his company "Ampol Wrecking" whom contracted Jessie Castle of Indianapolis to scrap the car during 11/80.

B&O 5551 named "Sky Dome" - Amtrak 9421, retired 8/76 and sold to Lake Shore Railway Hist Society Northeast PA 9/76, Oral Parsons/Lake Erie Railcar (1982), purchased by Brad Black for MARC for Steve Zuidervine/Operations Manager as a business car and assigned #99 (1986) but never restored - stored at CSX Brunswick MD yards, sold by Brad Black to Illinois Transit Assembly (10/99), to Museum of Transport St Louis (07/00).

B&O 7600

named "Moonlight Dome", ex C&O 1850

B&O 7601

named "Starlight Dome", ex C&O 1851

B&O 7602

named "Sunlight Dome", ex C&O 1852

Please e-mail us any additional info or corrections.

Additional info: Roy Wullich, PTJ

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