Illinois Traction Society 37th Annual Meet

As part of the activities for the Illinois Traction Society meet on Saturday, April 27, 2024, we are offering ITS members the chance to actually BE THE MOTORMAN or BE THE ENGINEER!
EVERY piece of operating IT equipment will be available for guest operation (even the three-car ‘Tangerine Flyer,’ but more on that later) and it has all been carefully scheduled to maximize opportunities while still enjoying them in service for riding and photography.
We have FOUR different “Take-The-Throttle” opportunities available for booking:
  1. IT 101 (Center-door “Yellowhammer” Alton Car, built by American Car Co. in 1917) will be making hourly trips on our Main Line at speeds up to 40 MPH with passengers aboard! In order to maximize guest Motorman opportunities, TWO people will be assigned to each trip, one running East and the other one West.
 TWO slots each at 9:00, 10:00, 11:00 AM and 1:00, 2:00 and 3:00 PM.
(Operating a full round trip is available by booking BOTH slots at the same time.)
Cost: $125 each slot.
NOTE: Due to the nature of Main Line train scheduling, your trip may depart at ANY time during the scheduled hour, returning approximately 35 minutes later. DO NOT schedule another Take-The-Throttle event in the hour immediately following your scheduled slot. 
  1. IT 415 (“Bridge Car” rebuilt from ex-Illinois Valley lightweight car 64, built by St. Louis Car in 1924) will be operating on the Streetcar Line continuously throughout the day with passengers. A guest motorman will be scheduled every half-hour to make up to two circuits of the Streetcar Line. This is not only a good car for the beginner, it has the fewest steps to navigate to board or detrain if steps are an issue for you.
415 Slots at 9:30, 10:00, 10:30, 11:00, 11:30 AM, 12:00 Noon, 1:00, 1:30, 2:00, 2:30, 3:00 and 3:30 PM.
Cost: $75.
  1. IT 1565 (Class B freight locomotive, built 1910 by ITS Decatur Shops) will start the day on the demonstration photo freight train, then move to Take-The-Throttle duties in the afternoon. Each guest motorman will operate the 1565 ‘light engine’ (without cars) from East Union Depot to the west end of our railroad at Jefferson St. and return, including “changing ends.”

Each trip will take approximately 20 minutes.
One slot each at 1:00, 1:20. 1:40, 2:00, 2:20, 2:40, 3:00. 3:20 and 3:40 PM.
Cost: $200.


Purchase Take The Throttle Tickets Online

  1. ITC 1605 (GP7 roadswitcher freight locomotive, built by Electro-Motive Division of GM in 1953) will operate opposite the 1565, being available for guest Engineers in the morning and pulling the demonstration freight train in the afternoon. As with 1565, you will operate light engine between East Union Depot and Jefferson St. As there is only one control stand and NO trolley poles, the experience of “changing ends” has been omitted!
One slot each at 9:20, 9:40, 10:00, 10:20, 10:40, 11:00, 11:20 and 11:40 AM.
For safety reasons, ALL guest Motormen/Engineers will be accompanied by a qualified IRM Pilot, whose instructions MUST be followed. Failure to do so may result in forfeiture of the remaining portion of your experience without refund.

While the cost of a Take-The-Throttle trip might seem high, keep in mind it is not only a truly unforgettable experience at the controls of a classic piece of Illinois Terminal history, all proceeds from each booking will be earmarked for the continued care and restoration of the Museum’s Illinois Terminal equipment. You’ll see some results of our recent restoration efforts during the meet, as well as projects that could use more help. Your support helps us ensure this equipment will continue to educate and entertain visitors for generations to come!

Now, what about that ‘Tangerine Flyer’ you ask?

While we will not be offering guest Motorman opportunities on the three-car orange train during the day (being a motor and two trailers, the potential for undesired slack action prohibits guest operators from running with passengers aboard for safety reasons), we WILL be holding a raffle for ONE lucky person to get the opportunity to operate the three-car train (Motor-Combine 277, Coach 518 and Office-Parlor Car 234) without passengers during the forward (eastbound) portions of a full round-trip on our Main Line (East Union to Kishwaukee Grove and again from Jefferson St. back to East Union).
This trip will take place immediately after the dinner break at 6:00 PM (time is NOT negotiable). The winner may bring up to three guests along (riding in 277), who may take photos/video of the event.
Tickets will be available on-site the day of the event ONLY. No advance sales and (of course) you MUST be present to win!
Illinois Terminal interurban car 101
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