The Hoffman Bus Garage, home to many of our preserved buses and trolley buses, is one of our equipment exhibit buildings. The Illinois Railway Museum’s collection mostly consists of railway equipment, but we also have a collection of rubber-tire mass transit equipment. These motor buses and trolley buses are displayed in the Hoffman Bus Garage. In this building you’ll see:
- Electric-powered trolley buses from cities across the United States and Canada
- The first articulated bus ever owned by the CTA, a trolley bus nicknamed the “Queen Mary”
- Motor buses from Chicago and several other Midwestern cities spanning nearly a century of bus development
- The last trolley bus to run in Chicago before electric bus operation ended in 1973
The Hoffman Bus Garage is also home to a complete narrow gauge train from the Chicago Tunnel Company, an underground freight railroad which had tunnels running throughout the Loop to deliver goods and coal to downtown businesses. The diminutive electric locomotive was extracted by IRM from the tunnels in the 1990s when reconstruction work on Lake Shore Drive uncovered an elevator shaft, allowing access.
The Hoffman Bus Garage is open for self-guided tours most weekends the museum is open. The garage is located at the east end of the main campus, along Central Avenue near the Electric Park streetcar stop.