The museum is open daily through Sept 15th

Diesel Days

Purchase Tickets Online

Take the Throttle Tickets

Cab Ride Tickets

For news and additional schedule information, check out Diesel Days on Facebook

Are you attending all three days of the expanded 2019 Diesel Days event? For less than the cost of three days' tickets you can become an IRM member! Membership includes general admission through the end of 2019, museum store discounts, and a subscription to Rail & Wire magazine.
Click here to become a member of the Illinois Railway Museum

Diesel Days 2019

Feel the ground shake beneath your feet as you see, hear, and ride behind some of the most powerful locomotives ever built! Ride and see some of the less frequently run and rare diesel locomotives at IRM. See and ride behind recently-restored locomotives like Santa Fe FP45 92 and Rock Island GP7R 4506 as well as new arrival TTI/IRMX 260. Bring your camera and enjoy the weekend!

New for 2019, IRM is offering the opportunity for you to ride in the cab of many of our diesels and for you to operate others as the engineer! Check out the bottom of this page for more information.

The 2019 Diesel Days event is expanding in 2019 to include Friday, August 9th as well as Saturday and Sunday, August 10th and 11th. We will not have the parade of power as in previous years. Instead, there will be a set schedule of different trains running each day. The locomotives and lash-ups used on each train will be changed often. The current schedule is as follows:

Friday Train Time - Train - Locomotive

10:30 AM - Nebraska Zephyr - CBQ 9911A
11:15 AM - Coach Train - MILW 118C, METX 308
12:00 PM - Nebraska Zephyr - CBQ 9911A
12:45 PM - Coach Train - BN1, BN2, METX 308, MILW 118C, CNW 411
1:30 PM - Nebraska Zephyr - CBQ 9911A
2:15 PM - Coach Train - BN1, BN2, BN3
3:00 PM - Nebraska Zephyr - CBQ 9911A
3:45 PM - Bilevel - CNW 411*
4:30 PM - Coach Train - CBQ 9911A, SLRG 102, BN3
5:15 PM - Bilevel - METX 308, CNW 411*

Saturday Train Time - Train - Locomotive

10:30 AM - Caboose Train - CBQ 9255
10:45 AM - Coach Train - CBQ 9911A, SLRG 102, BN3
11:00 AM - Bilevel - METX 308, CNW 411*
11:20 AM - Nebraska Zephyr - ATSF 92
11:35 AM - Caboose Train - WC 7525
11:55 AM - Coach Train - CBQ 504
12:10 PM - Bilevel - METX 308, CNW 411*
12:30 PM - Nebraska Zephyr - CBQ 9911A, SLRG 102, BN3
12:45 PM - Caboose Train - CNW 6847
1:05 PM - Coach Train - ATSF 92, WC 7525
1:20 PM - Bilevel - CNW 411*
1:40 PM - Nebraska Zephyr - CBQ 504
1:55 PM - Caboose Train - IT 1605
2:15 PM - Coach Train - CRIP 4506
2:30 PM - Bilevel - BN3*
2:50 PM - Nebraska Zephyr - CBQ 9911A
3:05 PM - Caboose Train - CRIP 4506, IT 1605
3:25 PM - Coach Train - ATSF 92, CNW 6847, WC 7525, CBQ 504
3:40 PM - Bilevel - BN3*
4:00 PM - Nebraska Zephyr - CBQ 9911A
4:15 PM - Caboose Train - SP 1518
4:35 PM - Coach Train - CRIP 4506, IT 1605, CNW 411, METX 308
4:50 PM - Bilevel - BN3*
5:10 PM - Nebraska Zephyr - CBQ 9911A
5:25 PM - Caboose Train - CE 15

Sunday Train Time - Train - Locomotive

10:30 AM - Caboose Train - NP 14
10:45 AM - Coach Train - UP1848
11:00 AM - Bilevel - CNW 1689*
11:20 AM - Nebraska Zephyr - BN 5383
11:35 AM - Caboose Train - IRMX 260
11:55 AM - Coach Train - GBW 2407
12:10 PM - Bilevel - BN3*
12:30 PM - Nebraska Zephyr - BN 5383
12:45 PM - Caboose Train - UP 1848
1:05 PM - Coach Train - GBW 2407, CNW 1689
1:20 PM - Bilevel - BN3*
1:40 PM - Nebraska Zephyr - CBQ 9911A
1:55 PM - Caboose Train - UP 1848
2:15 PM - Coach Train - GBW 2407, CNW 1689
2:30 PM - Bilevel - BN3*
2:50 PM - Nebraska Zephyr - CBQ 9911A
3:05 PM - Caboose Train - BN 5383
3:25 PM - Coach Train - IRMX 260
3:40 PM - Bilevel - CNW 411*
4:00 PM - Nebraska Zephyr - CBQ 9911A
4:15 PM - Caboose Train - MT 200
4:35 PM - Coach Train - BN 5383, IRMX 260
4:50 PM - Bilevel - CNW 411*
5:10 PM - Nebraska Zephyr - CBQ 9911A
5:25 PM - Caboose Train - MILW 760

*No cab rides available these trips

All schedules and equipment are subject to change without notice.

For hours and admission prices on August 9th click here.

For hours and admission prices on August 10th click here.

For hours and admission prices on August 11th click here.

Be a Part of the Action!

Have you ever ridden in the cab of a streamlined E-unit passenger engine? Have you ever felt the rumble of a 2,000-horsepower diesel freight locomotive as you release the air brakes and notch up the throttle to accelerate away from the station? New this year for Diesel Days, the Illinois Railway Museum is offering you this unique opportunity. Besides just watching our diesels run past, or riding behind them on our demonstration railroad, you can be in the cab or even in the engineer's seat. The museum is offering two unforgettable opportunities:

Take The Throttle offers you the chance to be the engineer of one of our historic diesel locomotives over a one-mile course. Over the course of your 18-minute session you'll receive instruction in how to run one of these behemoths. You will have your hand on the throttle and the brake as you operate your engine over the museum's demonstration railway for this rare opportunity. Different locomotives will be available to run at different times during our Diesel Days event, so you can pick your favorite - or favorites!

Our Cab Ride program will give you the chance to ride along with the engineer on a ten-mile, 40-minute trip over the museum's main line. Experience the unmatched view from the cab as you experience our railroad from the head end of the train. You'll be able to see other trains you pass at "meets," observe the operation of our Automatic Block Signal system, and see how our certified engineers control these antique locomotives. Cab rides on many different locomotives will be offered but only two tickets per trip are available, so make sure to sign up for your preferred engine before it is sold out!

For news and additional schedule information, check out Diesel Days on Facebook

Take the Throttle

Purchase Tickets Online

Now YOU can be the engineer! During the 2019 Diesel Days event, the Illinois Railway Museum is offering Take the Throttle opportunities on several different locomotives. For the price of $75 per session, you will operate an historic locomotive over the one-mile course shown below. Your session will include instruction in the operation of your locomotive and, of course, you will spend the majority of your time actually running the engine. Don't miss this unique opportunity - sessions are limited to only 20 per day and these are expected to sell out.

Different locomotives will be used for Take the Throttle at different times during the Diesel Days event:

Friday, August 9th: Minnesota Transfer 200 (Alco RS3)
Saturday, August 10th, 10:20am to 12:20pm: Milwaukee Road 760 (Fairbanks-Morse H10-44)
Saturday, August 10th, 1:00pm to 5:00pm: Chicago Burlington & Quincy 9255 (EMD SW-7)
Sunday, August 11th: Rock Island 4506 (EMD GP-7)

You MUST bring your Take the Throttle ticket to the Schroeder Store at the museum entrance to fill out a waiver form and have your ticket validated before your trip. We recommend arriving at the museum at least one hour before your trip time. Please plan to arrive at the Take the Throttle platform, located on the east side of Depot Street next to the Barn 9 North streetcar stop (just south of the Central Diner), 10-15 minutes prior to your scheduled trip. Participants must be 18 years of age or older and must bring a state- or federal-issued ID with them to the platform.

Equipment may be substituted at any time for mechanical or other reasons. Take the Throttle trips may not be transferred or canceled. All sales are final. You must have an event admission ticket or museum membership in order to have your ticket validated.

Cab Rides

Purchase Tickets Online

The Illinois Railway Museum is offering the opportunity to ride in the cab of one of our historic diesel locomotives during a full trip 10-mile round trip over our railroad. During the 2019 Diesel Days event, you can sit in the cab with the engineer for the cost of just $40 per ride. You will be able to get an engineer's-eye-view of train operations on one of the busiest museum railroads in the country including a close look at the operation of our Automatic Block Signal system. You'll see how the controls of some of our most powerful locomotives work, observe the engineer up close, and feel the locomotive as it accelerates. There's no better way to get the full experience of Diesel Days than to be inside the engine!

Only two cab ride tickets will be sold for each main line trip. You will be able to pick which locomotive you'd like to ride in and, depending on trip times, perhaps which train you'll have following you. Cab rides will last approximately 30-45 minutes. Just make sure to sign up early - many trips will sell out quickly. For a full list of trips available, please see the Diesel Days operating schedule by clicking here or go to the purchase tickets link below.

You MUST bring your Cab Ride ticket to the Schroeder Store at the museum entrance to fill out a waiver form and have your ticket validated before your trip. You will not be permitted aboard the engine without a VALIDATED ticket. We recommend arriving at the museum at least one hour before your trip time. Please make sure you arrive at the East Union Depot at least 10-15 minutes before your trip. Participants must be 18 years of age or older and must bring a state- or federal-issued ID with them to the platform.

Equipment may be substituted at any time for mechanical or other reasons. Cab Ride tickets may not be transferred or canceled. All sales are final. You must have an event admission ticket or museum membership in order to have your ticket validated.

  • Illinois Railway Museum
  • August 10, 2019
  • Saturday, 10:00AM to 6:00PM

Contact event manager

Thank you Kindly

Diesel Days

7000 Olson Road, Union, Illinois 60180, USA

Saturday, 10:00AM to 6:00PM
August 10, 2019

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Diesel Days

7000 Olson Road, Union, Illinois 60180, USA

Saturday, 10:00AM to 6:00PM
August 10, 2019

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