BRUNSWICK — Looking to see the Midcoast from a 1955 perspective? Amtrak may have a way to help.

No, they haven’t invented a time machine. But they do have a machine that can take you back: The Amtrak great dome rail car returned to Maine and the Downeaster Brunswick-Boston rail service for the second time on Aug. 19.

The great dome rail car previously only came to the Northeast in the fall, where it spent time in northern New York State touring fall foliage in the Adirondack Mountains. Northern New England Passenger Rail Authority asked last year if, in between the busy West Coast summer season and fall, it could take a trip to New England. The first-ever dome car trip in New England was the result, to great success.

“We tried it as an experiment last year. The car, physically, spends most of the time on the West Coast,” said Patricia Quinn, executive director of NNEPRA.

The visit was the first time a dome car of any kind had ever been used for revenue service in New England, making it a special treat. It is the last remaining car of its type in service with Amtrak, and was restored in 1999 to be used in special excursions.

All it takes is one glance to tell that the dome car is straight out of the 1950s. The interior suggests its age with retro-styled swivel chairs and a color palette that looks like it belongs in the interior of a 1959 Caddy with tail fins. The exterior, while matching that of the rest of the train, sports a bright stripe setting it apart from the rest of the fleet.

The key component of the car, of course, is the dome itself. Comprised of curved windows the length of the car, it offers a panoramic view of the surroundings from above the train. The car’s height allows passengers to see 360 degrees.

“The car itself, it is definitely very retro. You feel like you step back in time going on it,” said Quinn. “It is a very different perspective, people really enjoy it.”

Anyone who is riding on the Downeaster can sit in the dome car, there are no special reservations required. However, since seating is limited, it’s recommended that anyone looking to ride it get on board early.

The Great Dome car is operating until Sept. 24 on two round trips each day between Brunswick and Boston. Monday through Friday it will be on southbound trains 682 and 688, and northbound trains 683 and 689. On Saturday, the car will be on southbound trains 692 and 696, and northbound trains 693 and 697. On Sunday, southbound trains 690 and 698, and northbound trains 691 and 699.

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