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Milwaukee Road "Skytops"

photo below - {Mike Shaffer/Jim Boyd (PTJ 12/84)}

"honorary" domes:

The 10 Skytops, created by industrial designer Brooks Stevens in 1948, were probably the most distinctive cars ever built. Milwaukee Road built the 4 parlor cars in their own shops (1 drawing room and 24 parlor seats) and had Pullman Standard build 6 sleepers, each with 8 bedrooms and a lounge. The observation ends on the Milwaukee built cars are more of a bullet than the Pullman built cars, with the rear couch about 4 inches narrower.

The lounges served on the Chicago - Minneapolis "Hiawatha Service" until 1970, and the sleepers were on the "Olympian Hiawatha" until 1964, then were sold to CN.

CN renamed them "Skyview" cars, and used them mainly on their Halifax-Montreal trains, the 'Ocean Limited' and the 'Scotian', from 1965 to 1969. They saw brief service on Montreal-Toronto corridor trains in 1969, then moved to the Gaspé-Montreal and Jasper-Prince Rupert routes until their withdrawal from service in September 1971.
Due to fire regulations (no rear door - only one access), the cars found no further use and 2 were scrapped in Canada and the other 4 sold back into the US.

Sleeper cars: - Pullman Standard Lot #6775 - plan # 4138 - delivered 11/48 thru 1/49 - all retired 1977 and stored in Winnipeg.

(diagram below from Clint Chamberlin's "Northeast Rails")


"Alder Creek"(11/48) - CN 1900 "Mahone" - Sold for scrap to Mandak Metal Processors in Selkirk, Manitoba in January 1977 (in CN colors).


"Arrow Creek"(11/48) - CN 1901 "Malpeque" - stored aboard ex GT carferry "Lansdowne". Ferry was owned by City of Detroit - car served as a club/lounge with doors cut into the car sides - the car remaining in CN colors - restaurant closed and ferry was moved to Buffalo NY and car was repainted to orange and maroon. Ferry moved 3/2000 to Erie PA. Relocated 7/06 to Niagra River in Buffalo NY.


"Coffee Creek"(12/48) - CN 1902 "Fundy" - purchased by John Arbuckle Hutchison KS & Mark Bucol St Louis MO/Gateway Railtours Inc, traded to Dirk Lenthe of Fargo ND (owns many other dome cars) - car was in CN colors, but currently is in a rust colored primer (8/2000), car sold to Taylor Johnson (reported 11/2000) - to be fully restored and operated in excursion service out of Boston.


"Gold Creek"(12/48) - CN 1903 "Trinity" - stored aboard ex GT carferry "Lansdowne". Ferry was owned by City of Detroit - car served as a club/lounge with doors cut into the car sides - the car remaining in CN colors - restaurant closed and ferry was moved to Buffalo NY and car was repainted to orange and maroon. Ferry moved 3/2000 to Erie PA. Relocated to Niagra River Buffalo NY 7/06.


"Marble Creek"(1/49) - CN 1904 "Baddeck" - sold in January 1978 to T. Sellers Junior Phillipsburg PA. Present location unknown - "Trains" magazine 8/99 lists car as "scrapped".


"Spanish Creek"(1/49) - CN 1905 "Gaspé" - Sold for scrap to Mandak Metal Processors in Selkirk, Manitoba in December 1977.

Parlor cars: built in Milwaukee Road shops - in service prior to the PS sleepers, which began arriving 11/48.

MILW 186

"Cedar Rapids" - stored for many years at west Milwaukee shops, the car was sold during 1985 (SOO Line takover) to Brook Stevens of Mequon WI, son of the car designer. After repainting and rebuilding the car was operated by a group calling themselves "First Premier Express" based in Chicago IL, with the car operating out of Milwaukee in full orange & maroon delivery colors. The car was sold during 1990 just before Amtrak's requirement that all cars be 'HEP' and 27 pin commline, etc. The new owner, William Nicholson/Cedar Rapids Ltd was based in Denver CO and the car was moved out there on the tail end of #6. After several trips up the front range, the car was stored when Amtrak's new rules came into play. The car was re-sold during Spring 1999 to the "Friends of the 261" group and the car was moved to Minneapolis. The car has been cleaned and repainted into the same original delivery scheme (maroon & orange), and went on the road in passenger service for the first time in about ten years on May 22-23 1999. Car status is "in service" (800040).

Addendum: Few people know, and no one has apparently reported, that Brook Stevens Son, Dave Stevens, moved this car to an almost concealed storage on Industrial trackage along the C&NW Madison Line in West Allis. As the cars were being dispersed, Dave Stevens purchased the Cedar Rapids as a Christmas Present. He had made arrangements to do this on Christmas Day and simply told the Elder Stevens that he would have to accompany Dave to see his present.
At this time, The Wisconsin Electric Railway Historical Society had completed an agreement with the Village of East Troy, to operate North Shore Line cars as a tourist attraction. So, it was fitting that the Cedar Rapids found its first home away from home at the East Troy Trolley Museum Shops at Phantom Woods, on the former TMER&L Interurban Rapid Transit Line to East Troy.
The arrival of this car attracted new members who fancied The Milwaukee Road and they cleaned up the car and applied the first repaint job of Orange and Maroon along with MILW Letterboard lettering. On a Special Holiday, the Village engine and crew were pressed into service on this isolated seven mile line and ran as an alternate train along with our North Shore Cars, 757 and 763.
This arrangement lasted a few years and this car and other MILW passenger cars since acquired were moved out ending full scale passenger rolling stock at the East Troy Trolley Museum. {Don L. Leistikow}

MILW 187

"Coon Rapids" - Purchased by Dave Vannes Madison WI. Car was moved to storage in upper Michigan during the mid 1970's and was used in a couple of excursions over the Escanaba & Lake Superior RR. The car was seriously damaged during long term outdoor storage and was repossesed by John Larkin for back payments owed to the former owners after his purchase of the E&LS during 1980. The car was moved to indoor storage in the old "P&H" plant in Escanaba MI along with former Milwaukee "Super Dome" #51. Car status is "stored"(in armour yellow paint).

MILW 188

"Dell Rapids: - purchased by Chapman S. "Chappie" Root Daytona Beach FL in 1970. The car was sent to William Kratville's "Autoliner Corp" shops in Omaha NE where it was refurbished and repainted into it's orange & maroon colors. During delivery the car was involved in a wreck of the eastbound BN freight it was traveling on in mid - Iowa. The car was returned to Autoliner and rebuilt on the left side where the majority of damage was, and again repainted. The car was finally delivered to Mr Root, who also owned C&O dome #1876 "Silver Holly" (D&RGW# 1249) which he purchased from Autoliner during 1970. Following his death the two cars were donated by his estate to the Daytona Beach Museum of Arts & Sciences. An indoor railroad wing was constructed for the cars and other railroad memorabilia. The cars were moved indoors 12/2000 with the display open to the public beginning Oct/Nov 2001.

MILW 189

"Priest Rapids" - This car was soaked in oil and then burned by the Milwaukee shop forces during spring 1970. An area fan photographed the car after the fire and the gutted & warped car appeared in the good old Milwaukee publication "Trains Magazine". This "unauthorized" photo effectively slammed the door in the face of every other railfan for the remainder of the Milwaukee Roads' existance (died 1985). Absolutely NO photographs were allowed: "Zero Tolorance". Only sanctioned tours allowed visits, and only two or three of these allowed cameras on the property. The shell of this car was quietly cut up during august 1970. Car status "scrapped"(died in armour yellow).

Additional info/photos: James Robinson, Trains, Brent Best, Tom Box, Justin Nelson, Jerry Appleman, Rail Merchants International, Steve Sandberg, Steve Brown, Bill Damien, Clint Chamberlin

Milwaukee Road also operated a fleet of ten "traditional" full length dome cars. See the info at

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