“Enjoy the rich railroad history”
The Illinois Railway Museum, as you see it today, is the result of decades of effort by a dynamic group of dedicated volunteers. All of the buildings, track, locomotives and cars were assembled here at Union on what was once farmland. Our main line trackage was laid on the vacant right-of-way of the Elgin & Belvidere Electric railway. Why would rational adults freely contribute so much of their time and treasure to creating this repository of railroad history? To answer this question, we must remember that at one time in our nation's past the railroad industry was the largest private employer. With so many families supported by one enterprise, the widespread interest in that industry is understandable....manifesting itself in special interest groups devoted to various activities such as taking railroad pictures or publishing books on railroads, building railroad models or just "riding the rails," The Illinois Railway Museum is probably the ultimate railroad historian special interest group. Originally formed to preserve one important piece of rolling stock, it has evolved into an educational and historic preservation organization recreating possibly the largest operating demonstration railroad showcase on the North American continent.
Not impressed by the Day Out with Thomas the Train that was hosted here. I have never been her before this visit and was shocked at the lack of organization and lack of things to do. None of the museum items seemed to be available and even some folks who had been there before sounded disappointed that during this event that they were not able to get close to the trains on display. Thumbs down.
Glad it has volunteers to run it but I won't be returning, too run down and disorganized and messy for me.
Fun place and reasonably priced for the amount of equipment they have on display. Check their web site before you go to see when they're running demonstration trains. They were running an electric inter-urban car along 6 miles of track when we were there. Other days they run authentic steam and diesel engines. Train rides are included in the price. Also, they allow leashed dogs on the grounds, but not onto the actual train cars. They even have a small train-themed play area for the kids. A bit of a drive from just about anywhere (about 1 hour from Chicagoland), but was well worth the trip.
Equipment is restored by volunteers, nice place to relive past times.
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Illinois Railway Museum
- Sun, Sat: 10:30 am - 5:00 pm
- Mon - Fri: 11:00 am - 4:00 pm
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