Tag Archives: The Nebraska Zephyr

Barn # 9

Out of all the barns and events at the Illinois Railway Museum, our favorite place to visit is Barn # 9.

Train of the Goddesses
 It houses all the Old Steam engines ~ waiting to be restored ~ a few Diesel, and electric engines and best of all, it is where the Nebraska Zephyr is housed.O


We can spend hours just perusing up and down the isles, 
looking and touching these now silent metal giants.
I took around 500 pictures on this visit.


So rather than fill this blog with all of them, here are few of my favorites….
Barn # 9 with the Zephyr in her stall

Can you imagine seeing and hearing this giant in operation?

Burlington Northern Diesel

among giants

a giant electric engine

collecting dust and cobwebs

the mechanic side kicking in….

The Nebraska Zephyr and her cars were not in operation this visit which was a little disappointing because we look forward to  riding it every year. 
But we found out she is going on a special trip soon. 
She’ll be joining America’s Railroad Celebration in Rock Island, IL.  
these signs are posted on the barn wall about the Zephyr



Train of the Goddesses

The Nebraska Zephyr

Every summer we take a little road trip to the Illinois Railway Museum in a little town called Union, in northern Illinois, to ride old trains.
With the purchase of a family pass, we have our choice of old electric trolleys and diesel passenger trains, and if we hit the right weekend, we can ride one of the steam trains.
Each train is accompanied by volunteers who have donated time and money into restoring these wonderful pieces of history. With each ride, we hear a well rehearsed, and lovingly told history of that particular train.
Then after a few rides, we tour the “barns” where the restoration process is continuing on hundreds of other rail cars and engines. It is exciting to get so close to these giants.
Oh, and to hear them run! To feel the power of that massive diesel when it throttles up and begins to move, and then feel the ground beneath you feet give and vibrate as it rolls slowly past you!
(sorry, got carried away there)
And then our favorite train pulls up to the restored depot (it’s everyone else’ favorite too, as it can be really hard to get on it at times).
The Nebraska Zephyr, one of a set of twin trainsets built in 1936, and is known as “Train of the Goddesses”. Her twin, “Train of the Gods” is presently sitting idle overseas.
She is made of stainless steel, air conditioned and beautiful. She even had a cameo in the 1992 movie “A league of their own”, a short part filmed at the museum.
Each of her cars are named after a goddess:
Venus, Vesta, Minerva, Ceres, & Juno (there were others, but have been retired)
The last car, Juno, the observation car, is our favorite, along with everyone else. It has large windows and swivel seats, and the end of it comes to a point and is all windows.
Cere is the dining car and for a price, you can reserve a seat and have dinner on the go.
We just might do that someday.
Our last trip to the museum, the Zephyr had had an accident, and was sitting in the barn while several of her articulated cars were off being repaired. Heather had to give her a hug to make her feel better 🙂



She is up an running again.