Libraries

The Illinois Railway Museum’s preservation mission isn’t limited to the trains themselves. Preservation of historical documentation is also a vital function of the museum. To that end, IRM maintains two separate libraries, both located off-site: the Pullman Library in downtown Union and the Strahorn Library in downtown Marengo, about five miles west of the museum. The museum also hosts an online archive of historic Chicago transit documents.

Pullman Library

The Illinois Railway Museum’s Pullman Library maintains a collection of manufacturer’s drawings, photographers, and other documents from several companies. The Pullman Library was formed in 1992 with the acquisition of Pullman Companies materials from Pullman Technology, a division of Bombardier of Canada. The Pullman Library supplies copies of materials in the collection under license from Bombardier who holds title. The Pullman Library is not open to the public except by appointment. Copies of drawings and other documents may be requested by researchers via e-mail or mail.

Pullman Library Contact Information

Email: pullmanlibrary@irm.org

Illinois Railway Museum
Pullman Library
Post Office Box 427
Union, IL 60180

Strahorn Library

The Illinois Railway Museum’s Strahorn Library  was formed in October 1997 when the Strahorn Memorial Library building at 118 East Washington Street in downtown Marengo was leased by the museum. Five years later the building was purchased outright by IRM. The Strahorn Library houses a vast collection of books, manuscripts, periodicals, government and corporate records, movies, slides, and photographs covering all aspects of railroad history. Surplus books are offered for sale to support the upkeep of the building and improvement of archiving and storage of these records. The Strahorn Library is a non-circulating library but researchers are welcome. The library is staffed 100% by volunteers and is usually open Wednesdays 10:00am – 2:00pm and by appointment.

Strahorn Library Contact Information

Phone: 815-568-1060

Illinois Railway Museum
Strahorn Library
Post Office Box 427
Union, IL 60180

CTA Historic Archive

The Illinois Railway Museum holds a vast collection of historic documents from many railroads and transit companies. One of the largest collections is from the Chicago Transit Authority. Rather than simply keeping all these priceless artifacts locked up in boxes, the decision was made to scan and make them available to everyone via the internet at IRM-CTA.ORG. Originally an arm of the Strahorn Library, the website has evolved into much more than that. Currently available for viewing on the site are old system maps, transfers, route descriptions and histories, destination sign readings, blueprints, vehicle requirements/assignments, and much more. New things are always being scanned. The website will grow larger as volunteer time becomes available. Please take a few moments to check out the site. You might be surprised at how much time you spend browsing!

CTA Historic Archive URL: IRM-CTA.ORG
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