Moonlight Dome was the first of three private room-dome cabin cars originally built for the Chesapeake & Ohio Railway (C&O) and intended for service on The Chessie, the planned but never-operated Washington-Cincinnati dayliner.
These cars were called Strata-Domes. These three C&O dome cabin cars were ordered in 1946 and built by Budd.
Now without a need by C&O, the three cars were sold to the Baltimore & Ohio in December 1950. The Baltimore & Ohio gave the three cars names: MOONLIGHT DOME, STARLIGHT DOME, and SUNLIGHT DOME.
Beginning on December 20, 1950, STARLIGHT and SUNLIGHT operated in daily service on the Capitol Limited while MOONLIGHT operated in alternate directions on the Shenandoah until October 1963.
Thereafter it became the spare car for the Capitol Limited.