Your life might be a ceaseless conveyor belt of misery taking you to a much-too-late grave, but there’s at least one thing you should drag your sorry ass to just this one time to get a glimmer of joy just this once: Amtrak’s bubble top train, here on the Adirondack line.
Amtrak has just one bubble train, or rather, the Great Dome Car. I last rode the Great Dome Car (car #10031) a few years ago from LA to San Diego when it was on Pacific Surfliner duty. Hazy late afternoon light filtered in the tinted, curved windows. Warmth. Comfort. Sunlight glimmered on the gentle ocean waves too bright to look at, like nostalgia itself. The low ceiling hung close and life seemed, briefly, in order.
Here is an extremely 1991 photo of how the car looks on the inside, though it is no longer a dining car:
It has been bopping around the country since it got restored most recently in ‘99. Currently and through November first it’s making the Montreal-Albany-New York run, headed northbound on Thursday, Saturday and Monday (Train 69) and southbound on Friday, Sunday and Tuesday (Train 68). You can find more information on Amtrak’s own site.
The seats are unreserved—you just have to be one of the people knowing it’s coming and quick enough to climb the carpeted steps up to the top. Apparently there will be historical commentary on some of these rides from volunteers, which is the most train people thing imaginable.
They call this the Adirondack line, giving you a beautiful view of Fall foliage, the colorful deathtime of leaves. See, the Great Dome Car can make anything seem nice, if only for a short while.
(Hat tip to Mike Roselli, who showed me that this car had recently popped up on Reddit)