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A "rememberance" story

From:   Thomas Wolfrum


I rode the Shasta Daylight from '52 to '62 about 100 times with my dad who was the steward in the coffee shop on the Shasta triple unit (when he had enough seniority to hold that trip down; I think he put up the the grueling hours because a) tips were better on this train for stewards b) he was home more often than if he worked on the COSF and other trains). But I digress.

The domes had a "bar" in the end of the car on which seating was "floor level" Also on the floor level were two booths that sat four with a table between for playing cards. There were bench seats between the bar area and the booths. The bar end of the car was always toward the front of the train.

A bartender/waiter would bring drinks to passengers. The lower portions of the car would fill with smoke and reek of alcohol by late afternoon. Card games were always going on during the summers when I rode the train (400 - 435 passengers were not uncommon in those days).

The best drink for a kid was Orangeade. My dad said this was his recipie, but I kinda of doubt that. Fresh orange juice, lots of bar sugar (superfine), ice, a blender, and WOW! great stuff for thirty five cents. Sort of an early Orange Julius without the egg powder (there I go again, dating myself).

The upstairs area offered a view of the countryside only equalled by hanging out of the top of the vestibule dutch door (which I did as often as I could as the conductors would allow). As the sun set and the stars came out, the domes were THE place to be.

Seats were hard to find. Always a fine sight were the cone shaped sawdust burners (no ecology then) ablaze at night. Also a fine sight (for foamers) a long freight with Cab Forwards on the point and five (?) cars from the rear of the freight. I must admit that my memory is a bit fuzzy here. Were there domes on the Shasta when the ACs were still in freight service on the Shasta route or am I confusing the Timberline Tavern Car with the domes?

On a side note I met Arthur C. Clarke, the author, in the dome on one trip. He sent me several books he wrote. Unfortunately, science was not my forte and all that is left of that is the memory...just as that is about all that is left of my many wonderful trips on the Shasta and the domecar thereon.

Hope you enjoyed this little journey.


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