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 Post subject: Re: Illinois Ry. Museum Plans Main St. Expansion
PostPosted: Thu Jan 18, 2018 9:12 pm 

Joined: Mon Jan 10, 2005 3:15 pm
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Location: San Jose, CA
You should take a lesson from Walt Disney and give it the feel of Main Street USA in Disneyland. The stores are all functional and the street has the "feel" of an old time street. As a railfan and preservationist I really enjoyed my visit to IRM about 20 years ago. But I'm not so sure my wife and daughters would like it as much and want to stay all day as I did. Having other things that they can enjoy would make IRM a more attractive stop for them.

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 Post subject: Re: Illinois Ry. Museum Plans Main St. Expansion
PostPosted: Thu Jan 18, 2018 9:52 pm 

Joined: Mon Apr 30, 2007 12:45 am
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Location: Illinois
Dennis Storzek wrote:
Others have spoken to the purpose of the building, both interior facilities and the facade to set the scene for the streetcar line. One thing that has been missing is any reference to what the external side that will face the parking lot will look like. Here is my suggestion :-)

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Hey, I remember that!

I was young, but some memories last a lifetime!

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 Post subject: Re: Illinois Ry. Museum Plans Main St. Expansion
PostPosted: Fri Jan 19, 2018 1:55 am 

Joined: Thu Aug 26, 2004 2:50 pm
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Location: Northern Illinois
psa188 wrote:
JayZee wrote:
They have such potential if they can see the advantage of a mainline going to the nearest town to offer a destination for riders. That would help ridership more then a 'train ride to nowhere'.


I think that the reason that the line stops where it does has something to do with a natural barrier that needs to be bridged. Also, I don't know how far museum property extends.


The IRM ROW extends from the edge of Jefferson St. in Union to the middle of nowhere about a mile west of Huntly, but the track actually ends about a mile further west yet, just west of the Kishwaukee River, where there was originally a bridge and about 600' of timber trestle, now long gone. Of course the trestle area could be filled and a bridge built, but Huntly is quickly becoming a bedroom suburb, and that only gets the museum a mile closer to the NIMBY's back yards, and we all know how that usually works out.

A bit of ancient history for background. At the time of the move to Union, the organization was the Illinois ELECTRIC Railway Museum, dedicated to preserving the Midwest's interurban past. The museum was founded to preserve the interurban and street railway technology that was fast disappearing during the fifties. The large system that radiated out of Milwaukee had quit in 1948 (portions hung on until the 1952 head-on collision during a fan trip ended it for good); the large Illinois Terminal system radiating out of St.Louis into central Illinois took down the wire in 1956; The Chicago Aurora & Elgin quit in 1957, and the North Shore in 1963. When a new home for the growing museum was needed, the search was definitely for a railroad with the characteristics of a Midwestern interurban, not a steam railroad. Of course, just about concurrent with the move the membership voted to broaden the scope (and change the name), but the new site had already been acquired.

So IRM had an ROW, but no railroad facilities. Entrance to Union had been via street running, and the only facility the line had had in town was a combined station / sub-station, which had been torn down some years previous, the town water tank now sits on the site.

Union isn't much, the business district is less than two blocks long, and main street intersects Jefferson at one end of that. Yeah, we always talked about how neat it would be to run in the street and be able to pose cars by the business buildings at main street, but in reality, it's not worth the hassle, either political or insurance wise.

So, IRM started as a bean field, and everything has been imported. The museum has over the years, moved a railroad depot, an interlocking tower, a grade level "L" station, a historic diner, a historic general store, an antique gas station, and a couple truntables. Not all is installed yet, and I really don't expect all will be in my lifetime, but the pieces of the puzzle keep on coming, and the volunteer membership keeps amazing me with what they can accomplish.

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 Post subject: Re: Illinois Ry. Museum Plans Main St. Expansion
PostPosted: Fri Jan 19, 2018 2:47 am 

Joined: Wed Sep 02, 2015 11:34 pm
Posts: 234
I am curious but what is IRM's relation with the McHenry County Historical Society. With this new addition could events be coordinated with the society to bring additional visitors into Union? The main street does look like it could use some life and tourists from afar can bring in some much needed revenue. Has some sort of understanding between the two parties been conducted in recent years, if so what ideas have been proposed?

Cameron


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 Post subject: Re: Illinois Ry. Museum Plans Main St. Expansion
PostPosted: Fri Jan 19, 2018 3:20 am 

Joined: Sun Apr 05, 2015 1:28 am
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Location: Suffolk, UK
An impressive set of bulding frontages to set up the beginnings of your streetscene.

Here in the UK there are a couple of local history museum sites that have recreated urban areas by re-using buildings that were threatened with demolition. There is the Black Country Museum near Birmingham and also Beamish Museum in the north east of England.

The Museum at Beamish has just been awarded a $15 Million (!!!) Lottery grant to construct a "1950's Town" to complement their already existing "1900's Town".
They already have a working tramway on the site, but the new area will incorporate a working trolleybus line as well.

Details are here.......

http://www.beamish.org.uk/about/remaking-beamish/

The National Tramway Museum at Crich in Derbyshire have long taked about a recreated street scene at the south end of their line. To date, only a couple of buildings have been constructed there - both moved, brick by brick, from elsewhere.

One of them, a fairly substantial pub, certainly adds to the scene, and it is used for its original purpose at the Museum as well...

Attachment:
DSCF1906.JPG
DSCF1906.JPG [ 189.61 KiB | Viewed 1280 times ]

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 Post subject: Re: Illinois Ry. Museum Plans Main St. Expansion
PostPosted: Fri Jan 19, 2018 4:18 am 

Joined: Sun Jan 14, 2018 6:08 am
Posts: 60
70000 wrote:
An impressive set of bulding frontages to set up the beginnings of your streetscene.

Here in the UK there are a couple of local history museum sites that have recreated urban areas by re-using buildings that were threatened with demolition. There is the Black Country Museum near Birmingham and also Beamish Museum in the north east of England.

The Museum at Beamish has just been awarded a $15 Million (!!!) Lottery grant to construct a "1950's Town" to complement their already existing "1900's Town".
They already have a working tramway on the site, but the new area will incorporate a working trolleybus line as well.

Details are here.......

http://www.beamish.org.uk/about/remaking-beamish/

The National Tramway Museum at Crich in Derbyshire have long taked about a recreated street scene at the south end of their line. To date, only a couple of buildings have been constructed there - both moved, brick by brick, from elsewhere.

One of them, a fairly substantial pub, certainly adds to the scene, and it is used for its original purpose at the Museum as well...

Attachment:
DSCF1906.JPG


Whether or not they'll get said 15 million due to the Lottery Heritage Fund over-promising and not having the money to hand for it, is another matter...

The Crich Tramway Village scene however, is pretty much complete. There's not much room to cram more in due to the fact the southern end of the tramway is in a small culvert/valley and there's already several buildings/frontages of considerable size in place. This includes the old Derby Assembly rooms, their tram sheds, museum sheds etc etc. Never mind the ruddy great Victoria Bridge which seemingly prevented them from letting the two PCC units they had run.


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 Post subject: Re: Illinois Ry. Museum Plans Main St. Expansion
PostPosted: Fri Jan 19, 2018 10:13 am 

Joined: Thu May 05, 2016 6:30 pm
Posts: 147
Location: Illinois
Gee, all IRM needs now is a boat/ship and aircraft of some sort and they could be the Illinois Transportaion Museum.

Thomas

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 Post subject: Re: Illinois Ry. Museum Plans Main St. Expansion
PostPosted: Fri Jan 19, 2018 11:34 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 8:28 am
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Location: Salt Lake City, Utah
Cameron Wolk wrote:
I am curious but what is IRM's relation with the McHenry County Historical Society. With this new addition could events be coordinated with the society to bring additional visitors into Union? The main street does look like it could use some life and tourists from afar can bring in some much needed revenue. Has some sort of understanding between the two parties been conducted in recent years, if so what ideas have been proposed?

Cameron


No.

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 Post subject: Re: Illinois Ry. Museum Plans Main St. Expansion
PostPosted: Fri Jan 19, 2018 11:55 am 

Joined: Sat Aug 21, 2004 10:50 pm
Posts: 121
Location: www.easttroyrr.org
JMann wrote:
You should take a lesson from Walt Disney and give it the feel of Main Street USA in Disneyland. The stores are all functional and the street has the "feel" of an old time street. As a railfan and preservationist I really enjoyed my visit to IRM about 20 years ago. But I'm not so sure my wife and daughters would like it as much and want to stay all day as I did. Having other things that they can enjoy would make IRM a more attractive stop for them.

The storefronts on Main Street in Disneyland are in 5/8 scale with a forced perspective to make them appear taller. I wonder if this will be applied at IRM, given the limited space for this Potemkin Village.


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 Post subject: Re: Illinois Ry. Museum Plans Main St. Expansion
PostPosted: Fri Jan 19, 2018 12:06 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 8:28 am
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Location: Salt Lake City, Utah
Trolleyguy wrote:
JMann wrote:
You should take a lesson from Walt Disney and give it the feel of Main Street USA in Disneyland. The stores are all functional and the street has the "feel" of an old time street. As a railfan and preservationist I really enjoyed my visit to IRM about 20 years ago. But I'm not so sure my wife and daughters would like it as much and want to stay all day as I did. Having other things that they can enjoy would make IRM a more attractive stop for them.

The storefronts on Main Street in Disneyland are in 5/8 scale with a forced perspective to make them appear taller. I wonder if this will be applied at IRM, given the limited space for this Potemkin Village.


Pretty sure there is a fairly large amount of space available. The plans that were circulated show a fully-functional second story for this structure.

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 Post subject: Re: Illinois Ry. Museum Plans Main St. Expansion
PostPosted: Fri Jan 19, 2018 12:58 pm 

Joined: Mon May 24, 2010 10:22 am
Posts: 481
There is a pretty good map of IRM here:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/polybalt/4125673150/

I believe the "Potemkin Village" is in 5a.

Lots of room.

-Hudson


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 Post subject: Re: Illinois Ry. Museum Plans Main St. Expansion
PostPosted: Fri Jan 19, 2018 1:20 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 8:34 pm
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Location: Union, IL
HudsonL wrote:
There is a pretty good map of IRM here:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/polybalt/4125673150/

I believe the "Potemkin Village" is in 5a. Lots of room.

That's correct. Main Street is effectively a westward extension of Central Avenue, which in the late 1960s was actually the southern boundary of the museum's property. The eventual plan is for a built-up street scene some 600' long with a roughly 30-degree bend in the middle so that you can look down the street and not see a cornfield at the end of it. For comparison, this would make it some 50% longer than the "town scene" at Beamish.

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 Post subject: Re: Illinois Ry. Museum Plans Main St. Expansion
PostPosted: Fri Jan 19, 2018 2:05 pm 

Joined: Tue Mar 27, 2012 4:49 pm
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Location: San Jose, CA
Frank Hicks wrote:
That's correct. Main Street is effectively a westward extension of Central Avenue, which in the late 1960s was actually the southern boundary of the museum's property. The eventual plan is for a built-up street scene some 600' long with a roughly 30-degree bend in the middle so that you can look down the street and not see a cornfield at the end of it. For comparison, this would make it some 50% longer than the "town scene" at Beamish.[/quote]

Will there be any improvements to the trolley bus loop as a result of this project?


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 Post subject: Re: Illinois Ry. Museum Plans Main St. Expansion
PostPosted: Sun Jan 21, 2018 9:46 pm 

Joined: Mon Jun 13, 2016 10:40 pm
Posts: 166
Location: San Francisco, CA
Folks,
I am a long time IRM member and am most pleased to see this project. It will answer the critics who say that streetcars were part of an urban scene and most museums with streetcars lack that.

IRM is however much more that that, they announced recently the the Chicago & Northwestern Historical Association has broken ground for an Archives building. Their seperate web site says they are half way to raising the funds for the building. They have helped pay for Car Barn space for the IRM C&NW collection.

I have been watching railroad videos on You Tube recently. If you want historic film or video shot last week; they are all there. The proposed movie theatre wil have not lack of subject matter!

The project has also laid tracks in Main Street, using Belgian blocks for some of the paving. It will connect with the existing streetcar loop.

The only downside that I can see, is the funding may compete with installing the D&RGW turntable recently delivered to the property.

Another upbeat announcement is that the museum has paid off all of the mortgages on its land purchases. For the first time in its long history they do not have any monthly payments to make.

The intent of all of this is to make the museum a year round destination; not just a train ride.

Ted Miles, IRM Member


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 Post subject: Re: Illinois Ry. Museum Plans Main St. Expansion
PostPosted: Tue Jan 23, 2018 1:04 pm 

Joined: Thu May 03, 2007 9:19 pm
Posts: 40
The Pullman Library will (at least the plan at the moment) be in a building occupied by both the Model railroad Exhibit & the Milwaukee Road HS archives. Within will be a "rotating" exhibit space (that is, not one that turns, though one could have a merry-go-round and combine plans). The outside will be like the Meyers stores - multiple facades on a large building, giving the look, if not fully functional, of multiple stand-alone buildings.

How this plays out is part of that ancient fortune cookie curse. Interesting times, indeed.

A lot to plan and work out. Not the least is whether or not the Pullman Library is the right place for various parts of the collection - the EMD PR files, C&NW station tickets (which may be put in the aforementioned archives), EMD Maritime power blocks, drilling blocks, etc., technical manuals of air brakes and other misc. parts, and other, railroad specific manuals, drawings and documents.

There is one 3 floor building, 3 railroad cars and tons of material to consolidate into that one space. Added to that is the need for cabinets, shelving and racks to stage material in the process of moving it. Much of the work that Ted has done aside from fulfillment had been pointed to this move. There is likely 1.5-2 years before the bulk of the work comes to fruition.


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