History of the IRM - A Museum In Motion


Overhead View of Our Facility
A realistic recreation of an operating railroad requires that the track and structures exist in the proper relationship to each other. IRM has worked toward this goal throughout the years, planning for a phased development of our site. The main passenger boarding and alighting area is built around an 1851 depot (from Marengo, Illinois), the oldest continuously operating passenger station west of Pittsburgh. Another visitor boarding point is the 50th Avenue rapid transit station built in 1910 and removed from Cicero, Illinois.

The steam servicing facilities just east of Barn 9 form another attention point with the steam shop just west of the same barn. Our carbarns are arranged to simulate railroad yards, but purposely separated for ease of visitor accessibility, maximum protection of the rolling stock and attractive site appearance. Between Barns 3 & 4 a display of signals and signage from many different lines is located to enhance the theme atmosphere (refer to the map of the IRM grounds).

Our streetcar line completely encircles the main Museum grounds enabling visitors to view the buildings and facilities and providing a convenient distribution system as an alternative to walking. At each stop on the car line, historic or replica shelters have been (or will be) erected for visitor protection and visual enhancement.

Let's take a ride around the car line. We begin at Depot Street just down from the main station. This shelter originally served the C&NW at Arlington Heights. To our right is Barn 3 which contains passenger cars. Next, we pass Barn 2, a storage building and Diesel Shop.

Before coming to our next stop, Riverview, we pass Yard 4 (electric cars) and cross the leads to Yard 5, Barn 6, Barn 7, and Barn 8. Riverview is a replica of a Chicago & West Towns shelter; here our route shares overhead wire with the trolley coach system for several hundred feet. To our right is the trolley coach garage, which can be viewed by special arrangement. To the left is our group picnic area, available to families and larger groups.

Continuing around the loop, we parallel scenic Boot Creek with the material yard to the right. Turning through the sharp streetcar reverse curves we can see some of the steam locomotive collection sitting on tracks that some day will be part of a large roundhouse. Clattering across Yard 10 lead (a storage yard) we see the soon-to-be installed turntable and come to the Barn 9 stop.

Home of a number of steam and diesel locomotives, as well as the Nebraska Zephyr, Barn 9 is our largest display building. The north end of this barn is convenient to the Steam Shop and Barn 7 (Chicago Collection and other electric cars). A short ride to Central Avenue brings us to the refreshment stand and 50th Avenue rapid transit station. From here it's an easy walk to Yard 5 (diesels & passenger cars) and Barn 4 (electric cars and shop - shop area open by special arrangement). The final stop is our point of origination, Depot Street.

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