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Thanks for that!  Those really turned out nice.

If they do one in Santa Fe, then I would order it.  They would just need to enlarge that one lower window so that all 4 are the same size, and add the breaker bars in front and back of the dome.  Then it would be spot on for the 506-513 series Santa Fe big dome.  But the Lionel window arrangement is correct as is for the Santa Fe 550-555 series big dome.  They just need the breaker bars in front and back of the dome.

It would also be easy for Lionel to offer a pretty complete Santa Fe mid 1950's "San Francisco Chief" consist using their existing tooling with that big dome car, some coaches, sleepers, two diners, and a couple of head end cars.  The same would work for a Santa Fe mid 1950's "The Chief" consist if the big dome lower window is enlarged, and a chair car/parlor observation would also be appropriate for that consist, or perhaps a sleeper observation in the first years of the big dome on that train.

*(EDITED TO UPDATE FOLLOWING FURTHER RESEARCH)

Last edited by Jtrain
Jtrain posted:

Thanks for that!  Those really turned out nice.

If they do one in Santa Fe, then I would order it.  They would just need to enlarge that one lower window so that all 4 are the same size, and add the breaker bars in front and back of the dome.  Then it would be spot on for a Santa Fe big dome.

It would also be easy for Lionel to offer a pretty complete Santa Fe mid 1950's "The Chief" consist using their existing tooling with that big dome car, some coaches, sleepers, a diner, and a couple of head end cars.  A chair car/parlor observation would also be appropriate for that consist.

I imagine we'll see it in the catalog coming out in a couple weeks. It was supposed to be in 18 V2.

I'm not sure why the window is small, but it's good enough for me for now. If it bothers me down the road I can probably do a little surgery on that.

I think they are great cars also.  I do not need sound though for my purposes.  Fall Foilage dialogue doesn't work on my "auto -train" run.   No offense to the Reading Northern, but the lack of interest in the cars is likely due to the limited exposure of a regional tourist train. Lionel needs to offer up some more road names, Amtrak for one. Nice to see the ATSF and Iowa Pacific versions catalogued.  20190117_02262820190117_02260920190117_022553

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Last edited by VistaDomeScott
@Jtrain posted:

It is pretty close to the real thing:

16994161430_d91f1fc02a_b

I just read some information on the Big Domes from someone who worked on the Santa Fe back in the day.  Apparently, those metal bars in front and in back of the dome windows are merely handrails, and not icicle breaker bars as many have stated.

The Big Domes were delivered without those handrails, which builder's photos and other early photos show, and the handrails were added later, probably around 1960, when ladders/handrails were added to the noses of F unit diesels.  As with the F units, the Big Dome handrails were to aid in window washing and maintenance.  It seems that it was due to a safety requirement that kicked in about that time.

If you look closely, you can see that they could not be icicle breaker bars because they do not cover the full width of the front windows.

So, the Lionel Santa Fe Big Dome is actually a very accurate model of a 1950's version of the Big Dome (without the added handrails).  The car would be accurate for the San Francisco Chief and also for the Chief (although this version of the Big Dome with the small lower window is the lounge/dorm version of the car that typically ran on the San Francisco Chief, they likely ran on the Chief too).  Lionel modeled their matching train as the Chief.

Last edited by Jtrain

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