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Illinois Railway Museum

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Bierboy

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Wife and I are considering a day trip to the Illinois Railway Museum in Union, Ill. Has anyone here ever been there? Is it worth spending the day? The Web site is not a particularly good, descriptive one, but, from what I see, it looks interesting. Claims to be the largest railway museum in the world. Any insight would be welcomed.
 

JayPea

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I was there in September 2006. Only problem was that one day wasn't enough! It is definitely worth the time there. I highly recommend spending the day there. Very much worth it! There is lots of rolling stock and locomotive power to see there. Amongst this online album of mine, there are a few photos I took while there, just a tiny fraction of what there is to see there: http://jeffsjourneys.multiply.com/photos/a...inois_trip_2006
 

J-1 3235

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Wife and I are considering a day trip to the Illinois Railway Museum in Union, Ill. Has anyone here ever been there? Is it worth spending the day? The Web site is not a particularly good, descriptive one, but, from what I see, it looks interesting. Claims to be the largest railway museum in the world. Any insight would be welcomed.
I have been to the IRM, and I heartily recommend a visit. It is definately worth spending the day. Many great locomotives, rolling stock, and even subway/streetcar equipment. I'm certain you'll enjoy the museum.

Mike
 

coachseats

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I went to the IRM about a year and a half ago and loved it! They had a HUGE variety of equipment for different time periods, some diesel, some electric, some long distance, some urban, lots of streetcars, trolleys, interurbans, freight. Lots of huge barns you just kind of wander around in on your own time and can get "lost" looking at whatever it is you are interested in. Also just as impressive was the trip I took on an electric interurban car, with two very friendly and informative volunteers. We went in a big loop around the museum and then out on their "main line" which was a couple of miles through the countryside. I know they have a variety of special events and different operating equipment on different days so check their website to pick a day that features something you are interested in. If you are at all interested in trains, plan on a whole day to see everything. The only downside is that it is kind of out in the middle of nowhere and unless it is on one of the very few occasions that Metra runs a special train out there it is not accessible by public transportation.
 

MattW

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VERY VERY VERY HIGHLY recommended to go! As said, lots of equipment, and a good train ride. Unlike many museums that might make 5mph on a downhill straightaway, out on the IRM "mainline" which parallels a UP line (doing trackwork on it the day we were there :( ) we easily made 40mph in the streetcar after a loop around the museum. Some days they also have full-size consists operating behind diesel and steam, and though I've never seen it in person, the pics look great, and the mainline trip is sure to be incredible!
 

Steve4031

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Its a great day trip. You need to rent a car to get there as there is no public transportation.
 
G

Gord

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One of the largest and finest volunteer-run, operating, railroad and rail transit museums in the world, a must see. Easily worth a day and if you have time go for a ride on the nearby Fox River Trolley Line in South Elgin.

Gord
 

dlagrua

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The Illinois Railway Museum is on our June Chicago trip itinery . We've been told that this museum is a must see as it has a huge collection of vintage rolling stock including a restored and running Burlington Zephyr.

If you wish to get around and see the sights like us, you can pick up a Hertz or National rental car at Union Station. It looks like Union IL is a 1 1/2 hour drive from downtown Chicgo.
 

Bierboy

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Thanks for all the replies. Actually, we'll be driving there, since we live only 130 miles away (in the Quad Cities). Looks like a must-see for us!
 

MikefromCrete

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The Illinois Railway Museum is perhaps the best volunteer-run railroad museum in the country. Unlike the museums in California and Pennsylvania, it receives no monetary support from the state. The museum has an excellent 4-5 mile long "main line" salvaged from an old interurban line. There's a trolley loop through the museum site and more equipment on display that you can possibly comprehend on a single visit.

You'll need a car to visit since, perhaps ironically, there's no public transit to the site in a still rural area.

It's a great way to spend the day. Both hard-core railfans, causual visitors and kids will all get a kick out of it.
 

MrFSS

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If you are interested, here are some pictures I took a few years ago. I took a lot more, but these were the ones I posted at the time.
 

Bob Dylan

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If you are interested, here are some pictures I took a few years ago. I took a lot more, but these were the ones I posted at the time.
Good pics as usual, thanks Tom! ;) Looks like a really neat place for sure! Especially enjoyed the Pullmans with the sections, makes one appreciate the roomettes of today alittle more! I also found the ATSF chair cars interesting, I never rode on one of those mixed trains or day coaches on the ATSF but did plenty of times on the SP! :)
 
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