Friday, February 28, 2014

Illinois Railway Museum

I visited the Illinois Railway Museum on May 23, 2004. I originally posted this content on my website as a PLACES page on November 26, 2004.


(NOTE: This website is NOT affiliated with the Illinois Railway Museum; see for current info)

The Illinois Railway Museum is located in Union, Illinois, and is the largest railroad museum in the United States, with over 375 pieces of equipment on 26 acres, with a mile long streetcar loop and a 5-mile mainline. The museum originally began in the 1950’s as the Illinois Electric Railway Museum to save a single historic interurban car. As more cars were added, the location the museum was using in North Chicago was quickly outgrown and the museum looked for a new home. As the museum searched for a new location, it also decided to expand its focus from only electric railroads to all railroads in March 1962, and the name was changed to the Illinois Railway Museum. In March 1964 the museum purchased the property in Union, Illinois, and by August 23, 1964, all the museum equipment had been moved to Union. On July 23, 1965, the first train ran at the museum. Since then the museum has become the impressive place it is today.

Here are some random pictures from the Illinois Railway Museum that do not justify their own posts.

55389545-33 Steam Locomotives at the Illinois Railway Museum on May 23, 2004
Photo by Cliff West

Here is a line of steam locomotives awaiting future restoration. It was a wet day and there were some large puddles on the property.

55389545-31 Signals at the Illinois Railway Museum on May 23, 2004
Photo by Cliff West

Here is part of the museum’s collection of railroad semaphores and signals, lined up alongside one of the museum’s buildings.

Billboards at the Illinois Railway Museum on May 23, 2004

Preserved billboards for the North Shore Line (Chicago, North Shore & Milwaukee Railroad) and the South Shore Line (Chicago, South Shore & South Bend Railroad). As their names imply, the North Shore Line ran north out of Chicago along the shore of Lake Michigan to Milwaukee, and the South Shore Line ran east along the south shore of Lake Michigan to South Bend, Indiana.

The South Shore sign originally stood in Gary, Indiana, on Broadway next to the old passenger depot. It was there at least until 1981.

More of the museum’s collection is featured in the following posts.

Illinois Central 2-4-4T #201
Illinois Central 2-6-0 #3719
Toledo-Detroit 4-4-0 #16
Louisiana & Arkansas 2-8-0 #99
Norfolk & Western Y3A 2-8-8-2 #2050
J. Neils Lumber Co. Shay #5
Grand Trunk Western 4-8-4 #6323
Milwaukee Road 4-8-4 #265
Chicago Surface Lines #4021
Chicago Transit Authority Cars
North Shore Line #604
North Shore Line #714
North Shore Line #251 & #757
North Shore Line Electroliner
Commonwealth Edison #4
Pennsylvania RR GG1 #4927
South Shore Line #803
CB&Q E5A #9911A Silver Pilot
Milwaukee Road H10-44 #760
Minneapolis, Northfield & Southern DT-6-6-2000 #21
Commonwealth Edison #15
Grand Trunk Western #1951
Southern Pacific SD7R #1518
Illinois Terminal GP7 #1605
Toledo, Peoria & Western #400
Green Bay & Western #2407
Union Pacific Gas Turbine #18
Union Pacific DDA40X #6930
Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe FP45 #92
Burlington Northern BN-1/BN-2
Burlington Northern BN-3
Burlington Northern #5383
Union Pacific Rotary #900075
Union Pacific Boxcar #907149
DOTX Boxcar #3
Borden’s Milk Tank Car #520
CB&Q Nebraska Zephyr
CB&Q Caboose #13572
Milwaukee Caboose #01984

Continue to Illinois Central 2-4-4T #201

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