Hours/Admission 2021

The museum is currently closed for the season. Information on our 2021 schedule will be published in the spring.

Click here to download a printable 2021 IRM calendar (PDF)

Purchase General Admission Tickets

Before you visit, even if you have been a regular visitor in the past, please take the time to review the following procedures and policies. There are significant changes from the way that the Museum has operated in the past. We expect these will be temporary, and we intend to modify them in phases as both health conditions and regulations permit.

Our Promise and Our Expectations

The Museum is committed to taking all necessary steps to maintain the health and safety of visitors, members and staff. We’re doing our part to keep you safe, but we can’t do it alone. The success of our Reopen Plan requires the cooperation of everyone.

Our visitors and members help us ensure the health and safety of all by agreeing to the following:

  • Visitors and members are invitees to private property and, as such, are required to follow all of our policies.
  • Visitors and members that have been exposed to COVID-19 recently or have symptoms of COVID-19 (including a fever, cough, or shortness of breath) will not visit.
  • We recognize that no practical level of precautions can provide absolute security against infection. Visitors and members that have underlying health conditions or are otherwise concerned about contracting COVID-19 should not visit the Museum.

New and Updated Policies Currently in Place

  • Access to the Museum requires pre-purchased tickets or advance reservations for groups. Tickets are available through www.irm.org or by calling the Museum office at 815-923-4391. Entry without a ticket or reservation is not permitted.
  • Contactless check-in will be conducted by staff at our main parking lot entry booth.
  • To facilitate contactless check in, members will need a new-style plastic membership card. To speed your first visit, apply for the new-style card in advance. It will be ready for you at the gate.
  • All visitors, members and staff will be asked to confirm that no one in their party has exhibited a temperature or other COVID symptoms in the previous 24 hours, nor knowingly been in contact with a positive test result within the previous 14 days.
  • We reserve the right to carry out a temperature check before allowing entry to the Museum. Anyone with a temperature of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or greater will be denied entry.
  • Face coverings are required for everyone ages 2 and up. Please bring your own face covering and wear it at all times, except when dining. All face coverings should:
    1. Fully cover your nose and mouth and allow you to remain hands-free.
    2. Fit snugly but comfortably against the side of the face.
    3. Be made of breathable material, either disposable or reusable.
  • Costume masks are not considered appropriate and are prohibited.
  • Face coverings are not a substitute for physical distancing.
  • Anyone unwilling or unable to wear a face mask will not be admitted.
  • Trains are limited to no more than 25% of normal capacity. In addition, the length of the ride on the demonstration railroad may be less than the full length of the line.
  • Our children’s playground will remain closed.
  • Hand sanitizing stations are located throughout the property. Our public restrooms remain available for hand washing. Please sanitize your hands upon entry.
  • Our Diner remains closed. Beverage vending machines are available. You are welcome to bring your own food.
  • Frequent and enhanced cleaning and sanitization is occurring throughout our property and railcars, with particular focus on high-touch areas.
  • Signage throughout the property encourages social distancing of at least 6 ft between non-household individuals, use of face masks, and good hand hygiene. Please respect indicators of direction and distancing as well as making full use of the sanitization facilities provided.

Trains are currently scheduled to operate on the following dates only:
Saturdays: TBA
Sundays: TBA
Weekdays: TBA
The museum is not open year-round. Please check our calendar for a complete list of dates the museum is open.

Museum Hours
Weekends: 10:00AM to 5:00PM (Last admissions 3:00PM)
Weekdays (except holidays): 10:00AM to 4:30PM (Last admissions 2:30PM) – the museum is closed until further notice on weekdays

Hours and fares for special events may differ; check calendar listing for details.
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.

Fare Structure
( Tickets are good for unlimited rides – prices not applicable on Special Fare Days)
Adult Seniors 62+ Children*
Weekdays (except holidays) $11.00 $9.00 $8.00
Weekends – October $11.00 $9.00 $8.00
Weekends – July through September $15.00 $13.00 $11.00

*Children ages 2-11; children younger than 2 are admitted free

Chartered trains are available on dates the museum is open and may be available on certain other dates; for charter information, click here or write to the Charter Director, IRM, PO Box 427, Union, IL 60180.

For further information, telephone 815-923-4000 or 1-800-BIG-RAIL
For driving directions and information on reaching the museum via public transit click here.
Food service at the Central Diner is currently suspended. Water and soda are available at vending machines. Visitors are welcome to bring their own food.
The gift shop will be open during public hours.
All equipment, schedules, and prices subject to change without notice.


Events listed below are considered TENTATIVE and are subject to modification or cancellation due to health and safety regulations. Dates will be announced when events are confirmed. Please check back on our website 1-2 months in advance of each event.

April – Saturdays – Bunny Trolley Hop

May – Saturday – Scout Day

May – Sunday – Mother’s Day

May – Saturday, Sunday & Monday – Memorial Day Weekend

June – Saturday & Sunday – Railway Post Office (RPO) Weekend

June– Saturday – Chicago Day

June – Sunday – Father’s Day

July – Saturday & Sunday – Trolley Weekend

July – Saturdays & Sundays – Day Out With Thomas™

August– Sunday – Vintage Transport Extravaganza

August– Friday, Saturday & Sunday – Diesel Days

September – Saturday, Sunday & Monday – Labor Day Weekend

September – Saturday & Sunday – Museum Showcase Weekend

September – Saturday – Bus Day

October – Saturday & Sunday – Pumpkin Train

November – December – Saturdays & Sundays – Happy Holiday Railway

For further information, telephone 815-923-4000 or 1-800-BIG-RAIL
All equipment, schedules, and prices subject to change without notice.

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