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Illinois Railway Museum, Union

#23 of 237 in Museums in Illinois
Must see · Specialty Museum · Museum
The Illinois Railway Museum (IRM, reporting mark IRMX) is the largest railroad museum in the United States. It is located in the Chicagoland metropolitan area at 7000 Olson Road in Union, Illinois, 55 miles (89 km) northwest of downtown Chicago.

Granted tax-exempt status in 1957, the museum aims to demonstrate the vital role railroads have played in the growth of Chicago and the United States as a whole. There are over 450 pieces of prototype equipment in its collection as well as numerous displays. Visitors may ride on some of the museum's electric, steam, and diesel-powered trains from April through October.

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Illinois Railway Museum reviews

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TripAdvisor traveler rating 4.5
288 reviews
  • The museum's trains come alive on weekends. On weekdays there's more than enough static displayed locomotives, rolling stock and railroad memorabilia to keep any rail fan happy, but on weekends the...  more »
  • A bunch of rusty junk, "curated" by walking attitude problems. These "people" need to learn common courtesy.  more »
  • We went on Museum Showcase Weekend and were able to see and ride several of the restored antique trains and trolley cars including the streamlined Zephyr and a Chicago cable car. Definitely an interesting outing for train enthusiasts and kids of all ages. I was impressed by the number and variety of locomotives and passenger cars on display from steam engines to electric trains and everything in between. Amenities include a well stocked gift shop appropriately themed, and a diner/restaurant serving surprisingly tasty fast food fare. We spent a leisurely 4 hours wandering the grounds and accessing equipment representing the significant periods of our train transportation history. Worth the trip to Union IL.
  • We have been to this museum twice now, and we are so grateful to have found it. The grounds and buildings are clean and well cared for. Even on a quieter day, we were able to take a nice ride along their line, and on a busier day, like "Diesel Days," there were plenty of ride options. The staff is kind and knowledgeable. There is a playground for young children and plenty of places to eat your own lunch, or you can eat in their cafe. I look forward to seeing what they do in the future, and we will be back!
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