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Semi-OT Illinois Railway Musuem

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  • Semi-OT Illinois Railway Musuem

    Hi Guys!

    I just got back from a trip to the Illinois Railway Museum. This is the third or fourth time I've been there and there is always new stuff as the complete restoration projects. For those of you who have not been, it is well worth a trip if you are in the area (Union Illinois, between Chicago and Rockford).

    There are several cars and locomotives that are very rare and very cool! We saw a 4-8-4 steam locomotive that weighed 970,000 lbs and had a tractive force of 114,200 lbs with 54" wheels and a boiler pressure of 270 psi. A very impressive machine, to say the least. It was capable of over 100 mph!

    There was another locomotive that had similiar stats and was articulated to negotiate sharp turns. It was used to haul coal over the allegheny mountains.

    This is a similiar machine. I believe it weighed 560,000 lbs less the tender, so about the same weight as the other. Its tractive force was 62,000lbs with 74" wheels and a boiler pressure of 250 psi.

    There are steam locomotives, electric locomotives and diesel locomotives. Many different cars and some from 1890 and before!

    Anyway, I thought some of the members here would be interested. I wish they had a machine shop there, but I couldn't find one. They might've had one hidden in the diesel service building. I did find a treasure rusting away out in the weeds. A Niles #10 radial drill along with some other odds and ends, including what I think may be a balancing dealy for axles. I'm going to start a different thread on those. I'd like to talk to the museum about restoring that radial drill or, failing that, selling it to me.

    Here is a link for those who are interested. It looked to me like they could use an experienced metal worker/machinist who has a passion for these machines. Its a little over an hour drive for me, but next summer I may do it once a week or something.

  • #2
    Nice. Thanks for sharing. Looks like there is one more place that I need to mark down on my visit list.

    I always worry that with scrap prices moving up and up, some of the old cool stuff will make it to the furnace instead of a nice museum.

    Civil engineers build targets, Mechanical engineers build weapons.


    • #3
      That is a great museum. I've been there several times when in Illinois. Well worth going to for a day trip from Chi Town or the suburbs. Thanks for sharing! Joe


      • #4
        I went there in 1965, right after they moved there from some place north of Chicago.
        All was there at that time was Indiana Railroad car 65.
        I have been back many times after that.
        One time they were shooting a movie.


        • #5
          Hi Jack - I see this is your first post! Welcome aboard, as they say!


          • #6
            Awhile ago on a GG-1

            I noticed on the first picture next to the there is a quarter shot of a GG-1. It brought back some memories. I, in all probably ran that thing at one time or another.

            They were very uncomfortable but they could get up and go for their time. I hope you looked her over, there's a lot of interesting history there.

            Thanks for the picture and the memories...
            Member C.A.L.S. Balt'
            If it's not broken, why do I keep trying to fix it....


            • #7
              Yes the IRM is a cool place to visit and yes they do have a machine shop for their steam engines, but it “typically” closed to the public. I have been taking my car to their annual car show for the last 15 years. 600 plus vintage cars, trucks, motorcycles, even a bus or two to look at in addition to the trains. Here are a few of the pictures i took at the last event.

              let it snow

              tired of walking around the museum? Ride the streetcars

              If you’re tired of walking around and looking at the trains and showcars you can sit down and lounge in a lounge car.

              of course if you want a little more luxury there are private cars of the railroads presidents.

              Also on their web site they have live video of the grounds.