Build Barn 15

The Illinois Railway Museum is appealing for donations towards building its next railway equipment storage barn. Donations toward the Indoor Storage Fund can be made either online here, or by check and mailed to the museum.

One of the most valuable tools in preserving railroad equipment is indoor storage. Storing historic cars and locomotives indoors and out of the weather makes an enormous difference in the long-term stability of the artifacts. Indoor storage almost completely arrests decay due to moisture. This means the long-term preservation of paint, interior furnishings, structural wood and steel, and electrical/mechanical components. In short, indoor storage is the ultimate difference between preservation and deterioration.

Barn 15: The Next Home for History

IRM has more historic railway equipment stored indoors than any other museum. Roughly two miles of track are currently under roof, with the majority of the museum’s historic collection already housed indoors. However, dozens of pieces of equipment are still stored outdoors. And they’re subject to deterioration until enough buildings can be funded and built to house them.

The planned Barn 15 project is for a four-track storage building similar to Barns 13 and 14, both completed in 2015 (the photo on this page shows Barn 13 under construction). The new barn will house roughly 1,800 feet worth of track indoors, allowing for the indoor storage of dozens of pieces of historic railway equipment. IRM has long funded equipment preservation and restoration by soliciting donations for specific pieces of equipment, or for classes of equipment. In the case of Barn 15, building construction will be funded by “subscriptions” from equipment departments. As of early 2024, Barn 15 is fully funded thanks to donations from museum supporters like you!

The work isn’t over: we hope to build additional storage barns in the future to house more of our historic collection. Your donation to a specific department will allow that department to contribute a certain percentage of the cost of the next barn, and an equivalent percentage of the available indoor storage space will be made available for equipment in that department. Donating to the Indoor Storage Fund and specifying the Passenger Car Department, for example, means that not only will the next barn be constructed sooner thanks to your contribution, but more space will be available for indoor storage of passenger cars.

How to Donate

Donations toward indoor storage space may be made to the department of your choice here (select “Indoor Storage Donation”). Thank you for your support.

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