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Illinois Railway Museum I Give You 5 Stars!

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  • Member since
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Illinois Railway Museum I Give You 5 Stars!
Posted by SD60MAC9500 on Saturday, October 23, 2021 8:49 PM
 

Well here again I find myself in Chicago for the weekend on a business/leisurely getaway. Today I decided to venture out to IRM for the first time. I've been seeing Trains advertise the place for years so why not check it out? I caught Metra 705 on UP's Northwest Line to Crystal Lake. Where a cab picked me up and hustled me to Union.

Once I arrived a bee-line straight to UP Gas Turbine 18. After seeing it's sister 26 at the Utah State Railway Museum back in 2019. I was curious to see the condition of 18. The paint is faded compared to 26 however cosmetic restoration for 18 is planned going forward. After venturing through the barns up front viewing all the; interurban rolling stock alongside the beautiful Northshore Electroliner, classic coaches, sleepers, cabooses, and other various rolling stock. I made my way to best barn on the property to me at least.

Barn 9 is by far my favorite one! Walking through the door being greeted by one of my favorite E-Units Burlington E5 9911 was awesome! Santa Fe Northern 2903, Grand Trunk Western U Class Northern 6325. Speaking of GTW.. Signs posted with places such as; Climax, Durand, Imlay City, and Marcellus made me feel somewhat at home. Continuing.. Pennsy GG1, Norfolk & Western Y-Class, etc., and... After turning a corner what do you know! I come face to face with Milwaukee Road Northern 265 undergoing a cosmetic restoration for an upcoming boyscout event.

So far IRM is my favorite museum. If you have not made the trip. Put it on your bucket list! This organization has put together an impressive collection of rolling stock! You will not be disappointedSmile

 
 
 
 
 
 
Rahhhhhhhhh!!!!
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Posted by tree68 on Saturday, October 23, 2021 10:13 PM

That would be a bit of a reach on my trips to Deshler, but it's worth considering.  I got over to Rochelle a few years ago.

I've been able to visit the PA museum (and a ride on the Strasburg), the VA museum (with the Link museum a bonus), the NC museum (with a train ride), and the B&O museum (with a short train ride, too).  All good places, and possible in a few days worth of a trip.

LarryWhistling
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Posted by CSSHEGEWISCH on Sunday, October 24, 2021 10:03 AM

The IRM started out as a trolley museum and has never forgotten its roots.  My first visit was in 1969 and CSL 141 was one of its prime operating cars.  They have come a long way since then and also have a fair amount of CTA and Insull lines equipment on display.

The daily commute is part of everyday life but I get two rides a day out of it. Paul
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Posted by CMStPnP on Sunday, October 24, 2021 12:44 PM

Isn't the IRM Mainline former Interurban trackage?

https://www.abandonedrails.com/elgin-and-belvidere-electric-company

Allegedly all they had to do was pay the back taxes to acquire the abandoned right of way in sections which was one of the attractions of selecting the site in UNION, IL.    I wonder if they can still do that and expand the mainline even more.

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Posted by Electroliner 1935 on Sunday, October 24, 2021 8:42 PM
What totally impressed me about IRM was when they took their Nebraska Zephyr out for a spin on BNSF to Quincy and back. They even cooked & served hot meals on board. This had to pass inspection and have approval of UP, BNSF, & Amtrak. It ran at track speed all the way. And did it for two round trips. Not many museums can do that with historic equipment. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qvv3HU75QOI

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Posted by tree68 on Sunday, October 24, 2021 8:55 PM

Electroliner 1935
It ran at track speed all the way.

That's pretty heady stuff for the engineer if he's used to putting along at 20 or 25 (or less).  We have sections of track up to 50 MPH now (previously 30-40) - it's quite the ride.

Then again, they may have used UP/BNSF crews for those trips.

LarryWhistling
Resident Microferroequinologist (at least at my house) 
Everyone goes home; Safety begins with you
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Come ride the rails with me!
There's one thing about humility - the moment you think you've got it, you've lost it...

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Posted by blhanel on Monday, October 25, 2021 8:10 AM

Took my 9-year-old grandson over there yesterday, but was a bit disappointed that there were no diesels running, just two-unit electric interurbans and a trolley on the loop.  Also, no food to be had on the grounds other than Kit-Kats and Snickers in the merchantile store.  So, after quick rides on what was rolling, we went looking for lunch (had to go to Marengo for that) and then headed for Rochelle.

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Posted by Electroliner 1935 on Monday, October 25, 2021 5:13 PM

tree68
That's pretty heady stuff for the engineer if he's used to putting along at 20 or 25 (or less).  We have sections of track up to 50 MPH now (previously 30-40) - it's quite the ride. Then again, they may have used UP/BNSF crews for those trips.

Larry, I would believe that the operating crews were Amtrak or BNSF. A UP loco and crew moved the train between Union IL & CUS. I doubt any museum crews would be qualified. How would you like to get out on the CSX main and run at track speed? When you were qualified, did you have to be (or were given an oportunity to be) qualified for more than where you actually run?

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Posted by tree68 on Monday, October 25, 2021 5:40 PM

Electroliner 1935
When you were qualified, did you have to be (or were given an oportunity to be) qualified for more than where you actually run?

Can't be qualified if you haven't run the route.  Sometimes that means a ride in a hi-railer, but that's it.

It's not beyond the possibility that some museum crews might have been qualified on the route, or that they ran with a pilot on board.  Depends on what BNSF policy is.  

MA&N engineers regularly run the Chicago Line between Utica and Rome, at speed.  Their line is all 30 MPH - they get to run 50 or so on CSX.  I don't know who actually qualifies them.

LarryWhistling
Resident Microferroequinologist (at least at my house) 
Everyone goes home; Safety begins with you
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Posted by BaltACD on Monday, October 25, 2021 6:08 PM

tree68
 
Electroliner 1935
It ran at track speed all the way. 

That's pretty heady stuff for the engineer if he's used to putting along at 20 or 25 (or less).  We have sections of track up to 50 MPH now (previously 30-40) - it's quite the ride.

Then again, they may have used UP/BNSF crews for those trips.

Back in the early 70's after a period of years of the carriers operating on the rules left in place by expired labor agreements - the Carriers unilaterlly implemented their own work rules and pay schedules.

Among those changes was the elimination of Seniority Districts - A crew gets called from a terminal on a train - they operate the train do its destination, Hours of Service expiration (16 hours at the time) or supervision took the crew off the train at a terminal an put them to rest.

I was on the Akron-Chicago Division of the B&O at the time.  The division had engineers that fell into two broad categories - Akron Main Line engineers that operated all traffic between Willard and New Castle at nominal track speeds of 60 MPH.  The second category was CL&W (branch line) engineers that coal and empty hopper trains betwee Holloway, OH and Cleveland, Lorain and Willard over most territory that was 35 MPH.

During the early days both groups had issues when charged with operating trains of the opposite category of their experience.  CL&W engineers had issues in operating merchandise trains over 35 MPH.  AML engineers had troubles in operating the tonnage trains of coal.

The 'revised' work rules existed for nearly a month until the previouly existing contracts were renegotiated and agreed to.  During the period the carriers rules were in effect - operational performance gradually improved for both categories engineers.

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Posted by CMStPnP on Monday, October 25, 2021 7:42 PM

tree68
That's pretty heady stuff for the engineer if he's used to putting along at 20 or 25 (or less).  We have sections of track up to 50 MPH now (previously 30-40) - it's quite the ride. Then again, they may have used UP/BNSF crews for those trips.

I suspect they have active BNSF and UP railroad employees among their volunteers.    I know they got UP to park heritage locomotives at the Muesum in the past.   I thought they got Amtrak once or twice to park a train out there.   A lot of times like here with the Museum in Frisco the railroads absorb the cost of shipping historical equipment vs charging to haul it.

BTW, I noticed locally here in Dallas, for some reason Ross and Margo Perot also have full cooperation of UP as well including use of their business train on request for fundraising events locally for Dallas Area Presbyterian Hospital.    I think that has something to do with their land development and industrial park development projects of which rail plays a role.   Just a wild guess, could be they know some Senior UP people as well.

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Posted by MidlandMike on Monday, October 25, 2021 8:53 PM

tree68
We have sections of track up to 50 MPH now (previously 30-40) - it's quite the ride.

Is that on the Adirondack Scenic track?

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Posted by jeffhergert on Monday, October 25, 2021 9:04 PM

While I can see a railroad trying to unilaterally impose something, railroad labor contracts don't expire like other labor contracts.  There comes a point in the process when some kind of "self help" is allowed.  (Probably when they imposed the changes.)  Usually that is quickly squashed by legal means and the process continues toward resolution.  Sometimes by agreement, sometimes by going all the way through strikes and the PEB process.

AFAIK the railroads still have, for their own employees at least, a waiver that allows engineers to go anywhere, without previous qualification, at 40 mph as long as PTC is operative.  (One of the waivers issued when Covid was expected to temporarily decimate the number of available employees.)  Otherwise, waiver or not, you can go almost anywhere at restricted speed. 

I don't think Ross Perot has as much influence on UP management anymore.  He died a couple of years ago.

Jeff 

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