Get on the right track
Ever felt the rumble of a 1918 steam locomotive? Seen a shiny and sleek Zephyr rolll through the countryside? Hopped aboard a mid-century streetcar?
Now is your chace at North America's largest operating demonstration railroad - the Illinois Railway Museum (known as IRM to the locals). Nestled among cornfields on the western side of McHenry County, this museum is run by volunteers. They restore the trains. They dispatch the trains. They even run the trains down the tracks. The dedicated team has spent decades assembling the buildings, track, locomotives and cars that make IRM America's largest railway museum.
Spend a few hours or an entire weekend seeing hte education, restoration and preservation efforts of this museum in motion. Different trains run on different days, so check the website to line up your visit so you can ride a steam train, an electric streetcar, a diesel train, a trolly buss...
For the budding young train enthusiasts, the museum hosts "A Day Out with Thomas" on two weekends in July. Little fans can ride on cars pulled by Thomas the Tank Engine. They can even meet Percy and Sir Topham Hatt - and can enjoy a whole day full of Thomas-themed activities with the "Really Useful Engine" and his Island of Sodor friends. During November and December, the museum offers the Happy Holiday Railway complete with warm treats and a visit from Santa. Many other special events take place throughout the year.
Visit IRM.org for a complete list of operation hours and special events.
Fun Fact: The railroads used to be America's No. 1 employer.
Map and Directions
Note: Some map locations are approximate. Please call the venue at 815-923-4391 for exact directions.Get directions from: