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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 Diesel Days event? Consider becoming an IRM member! Membership includes general admission through the end of 2021, museum store discounts, and a subscription to Rail & Wire magazine.
Click here to become a member of the Illinois Railway Museum

Hours / Admission / Operating Schedule Information:

Weekend Rates and Hours Apply All Three Days of This Event.
Daily Admission Rates:
Adults $15.00, Senior $13.00, Children $11.00
Museum Hours During This Event:
10:00AM to 6:00PM (Last admissions 4:00PM)

The Central Diner will be open for food service all three days of this event, Friday through Sunday.

All equipment, schedules and prices subject to change without notice.

Operation of equipment is expected to start within 60 minutes of opening and cease 30 minutes before closing.

Parking lot opens 30 minutes before museum and closes 30 minutes after.

Before you visit, even if you have been a regular visitor in the past, please take the time to review the procedures and policies listed at this link.

Diesel Days 2021

Feel the ground shake beneath your feet as you see, hear, and ride behind some of the most powerful locomotives ever built! See some of the less frequently run and rare diesel locomotives at IRM including the museum's famous one-of-a-kind E5 locomotive, the "Silver Pilot." Inspect and ride behind recently-restored locomotives as well as recent arrivals. Bring your camera and enjoy the weekend!

Special for this event, 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 2021 Diesel Days event will include Friday, August 6th as well as Saturday and Sunday, August 7th and 8th. 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

10:30am - Nebraska Zephyr - C&NW 411
11:15am - Coach Train - CB&Q 9911A and SLRG 102
12:00pm - Nebraska Zephyr - BN BN1
12:45pm - Coach Train - CB&Q 504 and GB&W 2407
1:30pm - Nebraska Zephyr - MILW 118C
2:15pm - Coach Train - BN 5383 and TTI 260
3:00pm - Nebraska Zephyr - CB&Q 9911A
3:45pm - Coach Train - AT&SF 92
4:30pm - Nebraska Zephyr - CB&Q 9911A
5:05pm - Coach Train - BN BN1, C&NW 411, and MILW 118C

Saturday Train Time - Train - Locomotive

10:20am - Caboose Train - CRI&P 4506
10:40am - Nebraska Zephyr - CB&Q 9911A
11:00am - Coach Train - CB&Q 504
11:20am - Caboose Train - WC 7525
11:40am - Nebraska Zephyr - CB&Q 9911A
12:00pm - Coach Train - CB&Q 504
12:20pm - Caboose Train - WC 7525
12:40pm - Nebraska Zephyr - BN1
1:00pm - Coach Train - CRI&P 4506
1:20pm - Caboose Train - WC 7525
1:40pm - Nebraska Zephyr - BN1
2:00pm - Coach Train - CRI&P 4506
2:20pm - Caboose Train - C&NW 1689
2:40pm - Nebraska Zephyr - BN1
3:00pm - Coach Train - CB&Q 9911A and SLRG 102
3:20pm - Caboose Train - C&NW 1689
3:40pm - Nebraska Zephyr - CB&Q 504
4:00pm - Coach Train - CB&Q 9911A and SLRG 102
4:20pm - Caboose Train - UP 1848
4:40pm - Nebraska Zephyr - CB&Q 504
5:00pm - Coach Train - CB&Q 9911A and SLRG 102

Sunday Train Time - Train - Locomotive

10:20am - Caboose Train - C&NW 6847
10:40am - Nebraska Zephyr - BN 5383
11:00am - Coach Train - AT&SF 92
11:20am - Caboose Train - SP 1518
11:40am - Nebraska Zephyr - BN 5383
12:00pm - Coach Train - C&NW 411 and MILW 118C
12:20pm - Caboose Train - SP 1518
12:40pm - Nebraska Zephyr - UP 1848
1:00pm - Coach Train - C&NW 411 and MILW 118C
1:20pm - Caboose Train - SP 1518
1:40pm - Nebraska Zephyr - CB&Q 9911A
2:00pm - Coach Train - C&NW 411 and MILW 118C
2:20pm - Caboose Train - IT 1605
2:40pm - Nebraska Zephyr - CB&Q 9911A
3:00pm - Coach Train - AT&SF 92 and WC 7525
3:20pm - Caboose Train - IT 1605
3:40pm - Nebraska Zephyr - CB&Q 9911A
4:00pm - Coach Train - AT&SF 92 and WC 7525
4:20pm - Caboose Train - IT 1605
4:40pm - Nebraska Zephyr - CB&Q 9911A
5:00pm - Coach Train - AT&SF 92 and WC 7525

All schedules and equipment are subject to change without notice.

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? 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 2021 Diesel Days event, the Illinois Railway Museum is offering Take the Throttle opportunities on several different locomotives and on three different routes. For $75-150 per session, you will operate an historic locomotive over one of the routes 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 per route and these are expected to sell out.

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

Route 1 - Yard Route (red line on the map), boards on the east side of Depot Street next to the Barn 9 North streetcar stop:

Friday, August 6th, 10:20am to 12:20pm: Commonwealth Edison 15 (SW1)
Friday, August 6th, 1:00pm to 5:00pm: Milwaukee Road 760 (H10-44)
Saturday, August 7th: Illinois Terminal 1605 (GP7)
Sunday, August 8th: Rock Island 4506 (GP7R)

Route 2 - Main Line Route (yellow line on the map), boards at the Central Avenue Pavilion:

Friday, August 6th, 10:20am to 12:20pm: TTI 260 (U28B)
Friday, August 6th, 1:00pm to 5:00pm: Union Pacific 1848 (B40-8)
Saturday, August 7th, 10:20am to 12:20pm: Chicago & North Western 1689 (RSD5)
Saturday, August 7th, 1:00pm to 5:00pm: Green Bay & Western 2407 (RSD15)
Sunday, August 8th, 10:20am to 12:20pm: Chicago Burlington & Quincy 504 (SD24)
Sunday, August 8th, 1:00pm to 5:00pm: Burlington Northern 5383 (U30C)

Route 3 - Car Line Route (Saturday only - green line on the map), boards at the northeast corner of Barn 4:

Saturday, August 7th, 10:20am to 12:20pm: DuPont 25 (Plymouth 25-tonner)
Saturday, August 7th, 1:20pm to 4:00pm: Lone Star Cement 25 (GE 25-tonner)

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 your boarding location (there is a different boarding location for each route) 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 2021 Diesel Days event, you can sit in the cab with the engineer for the cost of just $50 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.

Special Events

Event details

  • Illinois Railway Museum
  • August 6, 2021
  • Friday, 10:00AM to 6:00PM

Contact event manager

Thank you Kindly

Diesel Days

7000 Olson Road, Union, Illinois 60180, USA

Friday, 10:00AM to 6:00PM
August 6, 2021

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Diesel Days

7000 Olson Road, Union, Illinois 60180, USA

Friday, 10:00AM to 6:00PM
August 6, 2021

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