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Open weekends in May. Calendar →

Barn 6

Barn 6 is one of our train exhibit buildings, or barns. In Barn 6 you’ll find interurban cars, freight equipment, and maintenance equipment from electric railways in the Chicago area and from across the Midwest. Exhibits in Barn 6 include:

  • The elegant Talisman, a 1906 interurban parlor car that features stained glass windows and gold leaf lettering
  • North Shore Line caboose 1003, which you can walk through to see how conductors managed their freight trains
  • The only surviving 1920s “Wickerliner” electric cars from the Illinois Central suburban line, today known as Metra Electric
  • Distinctive electric locomotives known as “steeplecabs”
  • A North Shore Line interurban car known as a “Silverliner” painted with a unique faux stainless steel livery

Our Barn 6 exhibit barn is open for self-guided tours whenever the museum is open. Barn 6 is located at the southeast corner of Central Avenue and Depot Street, right across from the Central Diner annex.

Illinois Railway Museum

The Illinois Railway Museum, as you see it today, is the result of decades of effort by a dynamic group of dedicated volunteers. All of the buildings, track, locomotives and cars were assembled here at Union on what was once farmland. Our main line trackage was laid on the vacant right-of-way of the Elgin & Belvidere Electric railway. Why would rational adults freely contribute so much of their time and treasure to creating this repository of railroad history?

To answer this question, we must remember that at one time in our nation’s past the railroad industry was the largest private employer. With so many families supported by one enterprise, the widespread interest in that industry is understandable….manifesting itself in special interest groups devoted to various activities such as taking railroad pictures or publishing books on railroads, building railroad models or just “riding the rails,” The Illinois Railway Museum is probably the ultimate railroad historian special interest group. Originally formed to preserve one important piece of rolling stock, it has evolved into an educational and historic preservation organization recreating possibly the largest operating demonstration railroad showcase on the North American continent.

We welcome all to our Museum and encourage you to join in our education, restoration and preservation efforts. Only one prerequisite is recommended, a sincere interest in some aspect of railroading.

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