The Museum is open Sundays in April.

IRM Awarded John H. Emery Rail Heritage Trust Grant

The Illinois Railway Museum is pleased to announce that it has been awarded a grant of $25,000 by the John H. Emery Rail Heritage Trust. The grant will fund restoration work on Milwaukee Road lightweight coach 649, including electrical and air brake work necessary to make the car operational.

Milwaukee Road 649 is a streamlined long-distance coach built in the railroad’s own shops in Milwaukee in 1947. Originally it was a “Touralux” sleeping car named Granite Falls, but in 1951 it was rebuilt into its current configuration as a coach. IRM acquired the car in 2017 and restoration work has been ongoing since that time, including a full exterior restoration to the car’s 1950s/1960s Armour Yellow livery. Once electrical and mechanical work is complete, IRM hopes to place the car into passenger service at the museum. To support passenger car restoration and maintenance at IRM, click here.

The John H. Emery Rail Heritage Trust was established by John Emery, a longtime Chicago resident and avid rail enthusiast, for the purpose of helping to preserve rail equipment and infrastructure from the “Golden Age” of rail travel in the mid-20th century. IRM is one of 19 different organizations to have received a grant from the Trust in 2023, with a total of $250,000 being awarded altogether. The members and volunteers of IRM wish to extend their gratitude to the Trust for its support of the museum’s preservation activities. More information on the Trust may be found at emeryrailheritagetrust.org