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 Post subject: Re: Visiting the Illionis Railway Museum
PostPosted: Fri Jul 26, 2013 3:50 pm 

Joined: Thu Aug 26, 2004 2:50 pm
Posts: 2061
Location: Northern Illinois
Well, I would imagine that by this time Joshua has made his rental car arrangements, so I guess we can just continue this discussion in the direction it's going...

Back thirty or forty years ago, when I was active at IRM, I would occasionally eschew the tollway and drive the "Huntley Blacktop" into the Fox Valley. At that time it was all rural except for the six blocks through Huntley, over hill and dale, until the last rise gave a beautiful panorama of the Fox Valley, an orchard-like nursery providing the foreground. That is the area the Trib was crowing about; it is now entirely packed full of houses, condos, strip malls, and fast food joints. IRM is still another seven or eight miles beyond the western fringes, although some "estate housing" (read, big lots) has been springing up in the surrounding area, which is why IRM is buying the surrounding farmland as fast as they can. If and when this development resumes, it will eventually push west along the former Milwaukee Road, too, and there will be a push to extend Metra service to Hampshire, which still won't get to IRM. However, since the area around Huntley has a head start, I'm banking on a lot of pressure to turn the Metra line northwest past Elgin and that could put the end of the line within sight of the end of IRM track.

The Elgin & Belvidere is the quintessential interurban electric railway. Conceived when the automobile was still nothing more than a rich man's toy, its purpose was to provide better service than the parallel "steam road" could ever hope to compete with, and take all its passenger business. The fact that there were two brand new technologies developing concurrently is what makes the story of the interurban so compelling; the people who bet on the 'lectric cars lost.

Dennis Storzek

 Post subject: Re: Visiting the Illionis Railway Museum
PostPosted: Fri Jul 26, 2013 5:08 pm 

Joined: Sat Mar 17, 2012 12:11 am
Posts: 141
Location: North Carolina USA
It's been about twelve years since I moved to North Carolina and back then, the drive to IRM was pastoral, and so to hear that the area you described became simply more suburban sprawl is disheartening, but inevitable, as it is pretty much the same situation where I currently live, south of Charlotte NC. I think the flavor of IRM being in a remaining rural location really illustrates the long ago era of rural public transportation represented by the E&B. I know I had that sense of any ride I took through that countryside on IRM was nearly identical to what an E&B rider must have experienced, or the Illinois Terminal or many others. Remote towns that were no bigger than a small subdivision. I often though the a-building Main Street they are developing would have been perhaps better suited historically to be placed at the end of the current line to give that feeling of a journey through rural farms and fields to a small town, running the tracks through the "towns street" to illustrate that aspect of the interurban engineering of that era. England has some great examples of that sort of context. I know of none here in the U.S. I have ridden many a museum's trackage that ends in the middle of nowhere, grinds to a halt and reverses back, rather than giving the accurate historical experience of going from point A to B, which one would think would be more of a draw.
I have always been surprised perhaps naive, but nonetheless dumbfounded why this aspect of recreating the experience has been neglected.

 Post subject: Re: Visiting the Illionis Railway Museum
PostPosted: Fri Jul 26, 2013 6:03 pm 

Joined: Mon Aug 23, 2004 3:01 pm
Posts: 1429
Location: SouthEast Pennsylvania
Branford (Connecticut) Electric Rwy. Ass'n. - Shore Line Trolley Museum is within a 5 minute walk of local bus lines at both ends of its line, and about a 10 minute walk from more frequent service some of the day. Transfer to a 2nd bus route is necessary to get to the intercity train station.
Electric City Trolley Museum & Station in Scranton, Pennsylvania is across the tracks from the intercity bus station, where some local transit buses also stop, although it's a slightly longer walk through the underpass or over the pedestrian bridge.

 Post subject: Re: Visiting the Illionis Railway Museum
PostPosted: Thu Aug 01, 2013 1:37 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 9:14 am
Posts: 217
Location: Baltimore, MD
Joshua K. Blay wrote:
I'm coming out to Chicago at the end of August for a friend's wedding and if possible I'd love to visit the IRM the Friday before Labor Day.

I'm coming in by train, and I was looking to see if a METRA ride would be convenient.

Thanks for any help,


Getting back to the original question, METRA to Woodstock seems to be best. IRM's Executive Director Nick Kallas told me he would find a way to get you to IRM from Woodstock if you would like. Contact him at once you know your plans if you are interested.

Peter Schmidt

 Post subject: Re: Visiting the Illionis Railway Museum
PostPosted: Thu Aug 01, 2013 11:05 pm 

Joined: Tue Jun 04, 2013 4:28 pm
Posts: 53
For your information:
2050 is a N&W Y3a class 2-8-8-2.

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