The Elegant Express — The President’s Car

We will see you next year!

Edwardian elegance comes alive at America’s oldest continuously operating railroad. This unique opulent experience — specifically for Valentine’s Day 2021 — is designed to give you an elegant and top-of-the-line experience for you and your significant other.

Enjoy a private dining experience in one of the staterooms of the richly historic “President’s Car.” While seated in one of the private staterooms, you and your significant other will enjoy a select menu prepared by the executive chef of Cafe1832 and personally presented by a member of the Cafe’s executive team. 

Reserve your spot at one of Lancaster County’s most unique Valentine’s Day experiences!

“Elegant Express” inclusions:

  • An exclusive dining experience in a reserved stateroom aboard the President’s Car
  • An exclusive menu selection prepared by Cafe1832 (see the menu offering below) with additional drinks available for purchase
  • One (1) complimentary fresh rose for each couple
  • One (1) complimentary glass of champagne, per person. Additional alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks available for purchase.
  • Two (2) complimentary souvenir wine glasses per couple
  • Complimentary chocolate for each couple provided by Lancaster County’s Miesse’s Candies

The President’s Car

Philadelphia & Reading Car No. 10, commonly known as “The Reading” during its heyday, is an Edwardian-era business car constructed in about 1913. Business-class cars were built for the railroad’s top brass—company presidents and other high-level officials. These cars were essentially a house on wheels that transported railroad officials “over the line” to carry out their railroad responsibilities. These cars were often the pride of the railroad fleet with their handcrafted woodwork, rich tapestries, over-stuffed furniture, and much more.

Philadelphia & Reading Car No. 10, now known as “The President’s Car,” was built in 1913 for George F. Baer, then president of both the Philadelphia  & Reading Railroad (P&R) and president of the Board of Trustees of Franklin & Marshall College (1894 – 1914).

Upon Baer’s death in 1914, Car No. 10 was used by socialite Edward T. Stotesbury who succeeded Baer as President of the P&R.




Year Built: 1913 P&R 10 came to the Strasburg Rail Road in May of 1964 after three Strasburg Rail Road employees purchased the car from the Reading Railroad. From 1964 until 2002, the car was known as the Paradise Car and sat on static display at the Strasburg Rail Road. However, in 2002 the car was fully restored to its original Edwardian splendor and put back on the rails for you to enjoy today!

Maker: Harlen and Hollingsworth

Length: 83 feet

Weight: 216,000 lbs.

Arrived at Strasburg: May 1964


Observation Room

This room gave the traveling dignitaries the best view of the railroad while conducting important business. According to the historical protocol, the highest-ranking official on the car used the desk to the left, while the next ranking individual sat at the desk to the right. The wood in this room is solid vermillion mahogany with intricate inlay. The rough brass plates under the windows are match strikers used before the introduction of safety matches. On long trips, the sofa in this room was made into an upper and lower berth. The air gauge, barometer, clock, and speedometer, allowed the president to keep a watchful eye over the operation. Notice the call buttons located throughout this room; these were used to summon the personal steward when needed.

Stateroom C

This room was used by the second in command or guests of the officiating person using the car. The wood is solid white mahogany with inlay. A skilled attendant could assemble the upper and lower berths in about three minutes. The sinks in the room are made of nickel. Just in case, one of the locked cabinets contained a Geiger counter to locate any radioactive material along the railroad’s right-of-way.


Stateroom D

This room was used for the personal secretary of the president of the railroad or persons using the car. The wood in this room is solid birdseye maple with inlay. Note the leaded glass in the door and upper windows. The recessed wall lamps on either side of the window illuminate with raised. The larger desk in this room is necessary for the secretary’s typewriter.


Dining Room

The desk in this room was used by the car’s user, with a safe underneath for valuables. To the right of the desk is a sideboard to be used when dining. Observe the cut class ceiling lamps and solid vermillion mahogany rosewood inlay. On long trips, the sofa could have been turned into an upper and lower berth. Tantalizing meals were served on the finest china (designed by Mrs. Stotesbury) and crystal. The porter’s serving skills were second-to-none. Even when the car was moving, he didn’t spill a drop!


The Menu

Cheese and charcuterie
with appropriate accouterments

Lobster cocktail
with citrus remoulade, traditional cocktail sauce

Intermezzo of Fizzy Fruit

Braised Angus beef short rib

Butter poached rainbow carrots and pearl onions, swiss chard, and herb goat cheese polenta

Grand Marnier scented chocolate mousse

Chocolate covered strawberries



$250 per couple

At the time of purchase, the couple will select
from the Observation Room, Dining Room,
State Room C, or State Room D options.
1 couple limit per option/room. 
The room purchased will be the couple’s
reserved room for the duration of the dining event.