Tag Archives: train

Parlor Cars

Thursday’s things in a row…
Brought to you today from the Illinois Railway Museum

Parlor cars or “observation” cars referred to the car placed on the tail end of a passenger train. At the turn of the 19th century, parlor cars generally featured large rear windows where passengers could watch the passing scenery. The parlor car’s most striking and discernible feature was an elaborate wrought-iron or brass railing, surrounding an open rear deck where elegantly dressed ladies and tuxedoed gentlemen could sip champagne while sitting on wicker chairs and watching the countryside pass by.

Illinois Railway Museum

4th of July at the Train Museum
Our family took a little trip to Union IL to see and ride restored antique trains and street cars.
(this is an annual event for us)
We had a lot of fun, got lots of pictures (lots and lots of pictures!) and a little sunburn as well~
so without further ado ( and little words), here’s our version of the vacation slide show….
~Oh, and we’d like to thank our son Chris for his Military discount! ~
(love that place!)
Here’s a link for more info about the Museum:
built 1948 ~ Chicago Transit Authority 4391 ~ aka “crowd swallower… people load in the back doors while people unload out the front…
Inside 4391~ very nice, I say we bring these back to the cities!
Hey Look! It’s the trolley from Mr. Rogers!
Electric street car’s power source… the conductor has to manually hang out the window and position this on the wire using the white rope ~ every time they change direction
Delaware Lackawanna & Western 567~ 1914 coach
hallway of tiny sleeping berths~ very tight!
one of the more luxurious booths
Can you imagine traveling crosscountry in this little booth? that chair opens up to a bed and that little purple seat is your toilet!
Happy diners of the era~ picture was taken in a similar dining car as below
dining car
view into a restored 1800’s dining car
early 1900’s electric street car
conductor’s station- when the car changes direction, so does the conductor
early advertising
O scale model railroad
This is cool! did I mention we also like model trains?
plenty of old railroad station signs everywhere
Yard engine moving an interurban
Lots and lots of train depot art (they just don’t put the detail into the buildings like they used to!

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.