The Illinois Railway Museum celebrated 60 years with 60 cars at today’s Trolley Pageant. IRM has, of course, way more than just 60 cars. The collection has grown more than tenfold since 43 cars were moved from North Chicago to Union in 1964.
In the railfan community, it is easy to criticize, and IRM comes in for its share from time to time. But one thing today’s Trolley Pageant makes clear is that, in the big things, IRM has gotten it right. The breadth and scope of the collection is truly spectacular, and it continues to grow.
What makes it even more special is that the fans built it from the ground up. And to see cars that had once been storage sheds or chicken coops be brought back to life, to run again, would warm any railfan’s heart. Chicago and West Towns 141 is only the latest of these success stories, and is now operational for the first time since 1948.
Signs at Union proclaim it “America’s Premier Railway Museum,” and IRM’s claim to that title is as good as anyone’s. Who else could field:
A five-car train of North Shore Line cars
A three-car train of CA&E steels
A four-car train of CA&E woods
A seven car train of CTA 6000s
A three-car train of CRT/CTA 4000s
A three-car train of Illinois Terminal cars
A two-car train of CRT wooden “L” cars
All in running condition? Add to that the museum’s unique collection of Chicago streetcars, and you have something truly exceptional.
They say a picture is worth 1000 words. In this tribute to IRM, we figure it would be better to keep the words to a minimum, and concentrate on the pictures. So, we give you 60 pictures from the 2013 Trolley Pageant to commemorate 60 years of the Illinois Railway Museum. All photos are by the author unless otherwise indicated. We hope that you will enjoy them.
PS- CERA is running a special trip out to the Illinois Railway Museum on September 21st, as part of our 75th Anniversary celebrations. Tickets are on sale now.