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Union, Illinois: Illinois Railway Museum: Largest in North America

If you're going to a museum of old trains, you might as well make it the biggest one on the continent. Also: streetcars and buses. Museum has its own five-mile loop railroad.

Illinois Railway Museum

7000 Olson Rd, Union, IL
From downtown Union drive east a half-mile on Jefferson St. until it ends. Turn right onto Olson Rd. Drive a quarter-mile to the museum entrance, on the left.
M-F 10-4:30, Sa-Su 10-6 (Call to verify) Local health policies may affect hours and access.
Adults $15.
RA Rates:
Worth a Detour
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Visitor Tips and News About Illinois Railway Museum: Largest in North America

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Northern Illinois Train Museum

The Illinois Railway Museum is the largest railroad museum in the United States and is located 55 miles northwest of Chicago. Its mission is to demonstrate the vital role that railroads have played in the growth of the Chicago area as well as the United States as a whole. There are over 450 pieces of prototype equipment in its collection as well as numerous displays.

[Bob, 03/31/2023]

Borden's Milk Tank Car.

Illinois Railway Museum: Largest in North America

The museum is a fantastic complex of many things, on a very large property. Give yourself time to see everything.

[Damian D, 08/13/2021]


Illinois Railway Museum

The museum was founded in 1953 and has grown to become the largest collection of preserved railway and transit equipment on the continent, with some 450 pieces of historic equipment including steam engines, diesels, streetcars, interurbans, passenger and freight cars, buses, and trolley buses. Among the famous trains at the museum are the Nebraska Zephyr, the only complete surviving Zephyr streamliner; Frisco 1630, a 1918 steam locomotive originally intended for export to czarist Russia; and the Electroliner, a revolutionary high-speed electric train dating to 1941.

The museum's site features some 100 acres of exhibit buildings and historic structures including the 1851-vintage East Union Depot, the oldest active train station west of Pittsburgh. Visitors ride historic trains on a one-mile streetcar loop and a five-mile main line railroad, both lines constructed and maintained by the museum. It receives no state or federal funding and all of its operations and historic preservation activities are funded through daily operations and donations.

[Brian Vehrs, 10/05/2018]

Nearby Offbeat Places

Groundhog Day B&BGroundhog Day B&B, Woodstock, IL - 7 mi.
Shoe TreeShoe Tree, Woodstock, IL - 8 mi.
Groundhog Day Movie TownGroundhog Day Movie Town, Woodstock, IL - 7 mi.
In the region:
Wayne's World Car Replica, Aurora, IL - 34 mi.

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