The Illinois Railway Museum will be operating special trains after dark this year on Labor Day Weekend. Saturday and Sunday, September 1st and 2nd, steam and diesel trains will remain in operation long past the museum’s normal closing time of 6:00pm and will carry museum visitors until 9:30pm.
The museum’s goal is to provide a different, more immersive experience. Riding trains at night is very different than during the day and nighttime operations in previous years have provided a thrilling “time machine” experience to visitors. The museum’s restored neon signs will be lit up and visitors will be able to see things not usually encountered during the day, like kerosene lanterns and headlights on all the trains. The Santa Fe sign from Michigan Avenue located at the front of the parking lot will be illuminated. There will be many great twilight photo opportunities for photographers.
On Saturday night the museum’s 1918 steam locomotive, Frisco 1630, will be pulling a train of restored passenger coaches from the 1910s and 1920s. Electric interurban coaches from the North Shore Line, which once connected Chicago and Milwaukee via a high speed line through Skokie, will operate as well. On Sunday night the famous Nebraska Zephyr streamliner will run at night. Accompanying it will be pre-1910 wooden interurban cars from the Chicago Aurora & Elgin.
Nighttime operations are open to all visitors on Saturday and Sunday. The museum will also be operating trains during the day on Labor Day itself, including the steam train and electric streetcars. The museum will be celebrating the 100th birthday of Frisco 1630, its most iconic steam locomotive, which was built by Baldwin in 1918.
For hours, admission prices, and scheduled operating equipment on September 1st click here.
THE MUSEUM IS CLOSED ON SEPTEMBER 2ND.
THE MUSEUM IS CLOSED ON SEPTEMBER 3RD.