Rio Grande Zephyr in Hideaway Park, Colorado – 1971 by Steve Brown
When Amtrak took over American passenger service on May 1, 1971, the Rio Grande Railroad chose not to join the Amtrak system. They were thus mandated to continue operating their own passenger service between Denver and Salt Lake City, Utah. Their little vista-dome train (sometimes as few as four cars) was given the nickname “pocket domeliner”, though in later years, as the service became more popular with tourists, the train was sometimes quite long. I rode the train in 1975 and again in 1981.
Here the westbound train is at Hideaway Park, Colorado, approx. sixty miles west from its origin point of Denver on August 14, 1971. The vista-dome observation lounge was a most attractive punctuation mark to the rear of the train.
The Rio Grande Railroad did join Amtrak, in the early 80’s, and the Amtrak California Zephyr now plies this route daily on its run between Chicago and San Francisco.