Located in the train shed at the Oliver C. Joseph Chrysler Dodge Jeep & RAM location at 3795 W. St. Rt. 15 in Belleville, Illinois, our 1927 Private Railroad Car is a very unique piece of history and it’s one you can touch! The car is named the “Oliver C. Joseph” after the founder of the dealership and it weighs 100 tons. Oliver Dee Joseph bought the car in 1975 from the President of the Strasburg Railroad in Pennsylvania. The Strasburg was founded in 1834 and is still in operation in the famous Pennsylvania Dutch tourist region near Harrisburg. Brad Joseph is now part owner!
The car was originally painted a maroon color and lettered Pennsylvania for the railroad that built it and was originally named the “Quaker City.” Dee Joseph had it repainted into the colors of his favorite railroad, the Great Northern, and then shipped to Belleville in February of 1976 via St. Louis Union Station on the back of an Amtrak train.
The car features an observation parlor with vintage furniture and spotlights to view the track along with “frontview” mirrors to see the train ahead of you. It also has the famous platform that many politician have made speeches off of in newsreels and movies. There are three staterooms, some with showers and tubs, along with a dining room that displays vintage railroad dining car china, silver, linens and crystal. There is a pantry kitchen featuring a charcoal fired cook stove and a crew quarters for two.
The car was moved to our new location on the same day thirty years later that it was put on display at the original dealership in 1976 after being “stuck” in the middle of 3rd street for a couple of days! The car is used regularly for meetings and is available for charity functions.