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A dome car is a type of railway passenger car that has a glass dome on the top of the car where passengers can ride and see in all directions around the train. It also can include features of a coach, lounge car, dining car or observation. Dome cars were primarily used in the United States and Canada, though a small number were constructed in Europe for Trans Europ Express service. In North America, dome cars were manufactured by the Budd Company, Pullman Standard and American Car & Foundry. Southern Pacific Railroad built its own dome cars in their Sacramento, California, shops. As railroad passenger ridership declined in the late 1950s, some railroads retired dome cars due to the extra maintenance costs. Other railroads that had not purchased dome cars new bought them second hand. Illinois Central purchased several cars from Missouri Pacific and Canadian National bought several cars from Milwaukee Road for example. Because of their enormous usage of sealed glass, the cooling of the cars required massive air conditioning capacity. Both maintenance and repair to these cars ran high. Breakdown of the air conditioning system on the road, even in winter, could render a car unusable. Some railroad museums have preserved several dome cars. These cars are very popular with visitors who often remember the spectacular rides they had in these cars. In the 1990s Colorado Railcar began producing dome cars. Generally, seats in the dome were considered "non-revenue" like lounge car seats. When dome cars operate today in excursion trains, the dome seats often command a premium fare. [READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE]
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