CP Executive train in Albany

CP Executive train in Albany

Sunday, October 31, 2021

Happy Halloween (and domes "in disguise")!

Halloween means a lot of things to different people, but one memory is dressing up and going to collect candy. My mother sewed us excellent costumes when I was a child. Anyway, the D&H tried its own Halloween magic in 1975 when it decided to push back against Amtrak regarding the operation of the "Adirondack" passenger trains. Though they were jointly run by the two railroads, with funding from the State of New York, it was Amtrak that provided the dome cars in their standard red and blue colors. Usually the rest of the train, including the engines, was in the D&H's yellow and blue as seen in the below show taken in Mechanicville on August 21, 2976. They couldn't fit through the tunnels into NYC so they were always pulled off the train at Rensselaer before the train headed south. Due to the cost of switching them off the train they were always located behind the engine and got filthy from Alco exhaust smoke as a result.

However, some D&H employees thought that the domes would look better repainted in blue and yellow to match the rest of the train. So, for a week at the end of October 1975 the D&H secretly modified the domes between runs by painting over the red Amtrak stripes with yellow paint and even added D&H shield emblems on the sides! Within a couple of days (literally) Amtrak officials saw it while riding the inaugural Lake Shore Limited train (Doh!) and demanded that the red be restored.

Back when I started collecting D&H slides I focused on obtaining one of these illusive dome shots. Why I cannot say, except that they were only available during a five-day window before the cars had their red stripe restored. This is the first "dome slide" I found (dated October 28, 1975) and I was super excited to buy it. It is hard to make out the colors of the stripes on the dome, but they are in fact yellow and blue.

This next picture dated 10/31/1975 shows the yellow and blue stripes along with Amtrak's red and blue "pointless arrow" emblem. The yellow is much more obvious than the first image. I guess the D&H decided not to paint over the Amtrak emblem.

The last picture is only dated "1976". By this time, it is my understanding that Amtrak and the D&H had fought over the dome cars so much that Amtrak pulled them from the trains. The D&H, in response, leased two dome cars from Canadian Pacific. These cars had green glass in the domes and are easier to spot. They were painted in the proper D&H colors.

Though just a footnote in the history of the D&H, I found this story fascinating. 


  1. The D&H's interactions with Amtrak have always given me a chuckle. Thanks for sharing.

  2. D&H leased 2 CP dome cars named Willsboro point #35 and Bluff point #36 on the D&H They were used from start of service Aug 74 till spring 75. Train was domeless for a while then Amtrak supplied a dome car as you described was very briefly painted as your above picture at Albany Rensselaer station