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The Museum is closed until Bunny Trolley Hop.

Milwaukee Road Museum

The Milwaukee Road Museum and Archives is operated by the Milwaukee Road Historical Association. Open only on certain Saturdays during the summer, it celebrates and preserves the history of the Milwaukee Road, a major Class One railroad that once ran between Chicago, Milwaukee, the Twin Cities, and the Pacific Northwest. The Milwaukee Road Museum is located on IRM’s historic Main Street adjacent to the Schroeder Mercantile Store. There is no additional entry cost for IRM visitors.

The Milwaukee Road Museum features a variety of artifacts from that railroad. Discover signage from stations and stops across the Midwest and west, artwork depicting the railroad’s famous Hiawatha trains, and items like bells, signals, and uniforms that would have been common sights to the Milwaukee Road’s patrons. Maps and models help tell the story of the railroad’s extensive operations. The Milwaukee Road Historical Association also has a reading and research room located in the same building where those looking to explore the association’s archival holdings can delve into the story of this famous railroad.

Learn more about the Milwaukee Road Historical Association here.

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.

Learn more