About the DepartmentThe Trolley Coach Department of the Illinois Railway Museum is responsible for a fleet of 20 trolley coaches. Among them are the last two trolley coaches to run in Chicago (CTA Marmon-Herrington 9553 and 9631), the last trolley coach to run in Cleveland (CTS Pullman 874), the last trolley coach to run in Milwaukee (M&ST Pullman 350), the oldest operating trolley coach in the world (CSL Brill-American 84) and the only surviving post-war Fageol-Twin trolley coaches (SF 614 & CTA 9763). We also have the largest fleet of preserved Chicago trolley coaches (6) in the world, the largest fleet of preserved Dayton coaches (3) outside of Dayton, and (we believe) the only known preserved coaches from Des Moines and Milwaukee.
Among the responsibilities we have are yearly and as needed inspections of each operating coach, maintenance and repair of anything found to be defective, preservation and restoration of both operational and non-operational coaches, providing training and guidance in maintenance and restoration for department volunteers which can lead to operations training, and providing service for the public on an ongoing basis. Our operating schedule changes every year, so please check the Schedule section of the website for specifics on this year's operations. As is always true when operating antique vehicles, our ability to provide service, among other factors, is subject to the condition of the equipment and overhead.
Our demonstration line, which was the first one in the world in a museum setting and still the only one in this hemisphere, is approximately 4/10 of a mile. It starts with a loop in front of the Andersen garage, runs west down the museum's Central Avenue, crosses Depot Street, past the O'Mahoney Diner, then turns north on Railroad Avenue to a Wye near the admission booth, then returns down the same route.
Facilities and EquipmentThe Trolley Coach Department is housed in two buildings. The original Andersen Trolley Coach Garage can house up to 12 trolley coaches and is used as our shop. (Our articulated coaches take up two spots each). Normally this building is closed to the public, however, if a department member is around, please don't hesitate to ask for admittance. We will be happy to accommodate if it is safe to do so. This garage has overhead wire so we routinely store our operational coaches and any that are currently undergoing restoration in this building.
We also occupy the west half of the Hoffman Garage. There is space for up to 10 coaches in this building. This building is routinely open to the public. If for some reason it is not, again, don't hesitate to ask one of us to open it up for you. Since this building is not yet equipped with overhead wire, we store the non-operational coaches here. Once the overhead is complete, we will have the capability to move the coaches freely when needed.
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