Glenwood Canyon Inspired Amtrak’s Vista-Dome Railcar
Glenwood Canyon inspired Amtrak’s Vista-Dome railcar in the 1940s

Glenwood Canyon Inspired Amtrak’s Vista-Dome Railcar

For train buffs aboard Amtrak’s California Zephyr the Glenwood Canyon section of railway is an extra special treat along a route that travels daily between Chicago and San Francisco.

In fact, it was Glenwood Canyon’s spectacular scenery that inspired the design of Amtrak’s iconic Vista-Dome railcar. In 1944, while traveling on the Denver & Rio Grande Western through Glenwood Canyon, General Motors executive Cyrus Osborn was moved to create a railcar that would allow passengers to enjoy unimpeded, the spectacular views of the canyon’s sheer cliffs.

The California Zephyr with its Vista-Dome car named the Silver Dome made its inaugural pass through Glenwood Canyon in 1949. In September 1950, a monument to the origin of the innovative design was erected; it was relocated to the Colorado Railroad Museum in the 1980s to make way for the expansion of I-70 through Glenwood Canyon.

Although the Silver Dome has long been retired, visitors can still ride Amtrak’s California Zephyr with its Observation/Sightseer Lounge Car that features panoramic, floor-to-ceiling windows that are ideal for viewing spectacular Glenwood Canyon. The train makes daily stops at the historic rail station in downtown Glenwood Springs. For visitors who want to stay a day or two, exceptional lodging, dining and activities are all within walking distance of the train station.

For lodging reservations and to find out more about Amtrak through Glenwood Springs, please visit

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