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“Went for Day Out with Thomas” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of Illinois Railway Museum

Illinois Railway Museum
Ranked #1 of 4 things to do in Union
Certificate of Excellence
Attraction details
Level Contributor
29 reviews
20 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
“Went for Day Out with Thomas”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 3, 2013 via mobile

We went to Day Out with Thomas at the Illinois railway museum. It was an amazing event for my 3 year old. My older kids didn't care for Thomas but had a great time seeing all of the other trains. We will definitely be going back.

Visited August 2013
Helpful?
Thank Emily C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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189 reviews from our community

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Date | Rating
  • English first
  • German first
  • Polish first
  • Any
English first
Level Contributor
2 reviews
“Real Live Retro Railroad Action!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 3, 2013 via mobile

Static displays were terrific. Actual train rides were great fun too. Guides really knew their stuff.
Will def recommend to friends.

Visited September 2013
Helpful?
Thank Jack B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Minneapolis
Level Contributor
80 reviews
57 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 75 helpful votes
“Worth a stop if you like trains”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 21, 2013

We (and our kids) are train lovers and have been to a number of good train museums: Colorado, St. Louis, Duluth MN, etc. This one claims it's the largest and probably is. We were there on "Day out with Thomas" which I personally think is a lot of hype, but kids (including ours) eat it up so why not. Fortunately there were still plenty of non-Thomas things to do, including streetcar rides, and a train ride that actually goes out for a few miles and back (vs Thomas's one that barely leaves the yard) - and it's all included in the price.

I was a little less happy with the collection. Although it's huge, it was not, in general, in good condition. As a comparison, the Duluth museum mentioned above is much smaller overall, but virtually everything is restored, and many things you can walk through. This museum only had a handful of cars you could walk through, and a few others that you could peer into (and they were often in awful shape inside). Some of the engines were beautifully restored, others looked like they could disintegrate if we touched them.

I know money is always a challenge for these sorts of museums so it's totally understandable. The folks we talked with were very knowledgable and you could tell they loved trains. And although the Thomas crowds were huge, they did very well handling them and we didn't wait in very many lines at all.

All and all a good experience.

Visited August 2013
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1 Thank Rehcsif
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Rockford
Level Contributor
85 reviews
23 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
“The Illinois Railway Museum.”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 16, 2013

I liked that fact that they had so many different trains on display. If you can, go there when the trains are operating. That is a special treat because you can ride several different trains and get an idea of what it was like riding trains many years ago. Another thing that I liked was the way the staff will let you roam all over the grounds. Only if something is looking dangerous will they stop you or tell you to go away. Keep your eyes open and you should not have to worry about that. The restaurant looks like a vintage train station and the prices are very reasonable (cheap). Not only do they have trains on display but they also have buses, street cars, and passenger train cars. For a good trip into history this is a great place to go.

Visited June 2013
Helpful?
Thank alfie2u
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Stillwater, Minnesota
Level Contributor
68 reviews
29 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 53 helpful votes
“Big Collection of Disintegrating Railroad Equipment”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 7, 2013

The museum has more railroad equipment in one place than I have seen in other similar museums. Unfortunately, relatively little has been restored. Most of the equipment is is poor to very poor condition. The trolley they use to give rides in is very well restored. They have a display of railway signals that is very nice. Overall it is well worth a visit. The main disappointment for me is that they do not have any working steam engines; to be honest very few museums can afford to keep steam equipment running. I really enjoyed the museum and would return - but then I have always been fascinated with old junk yards and find interesting details amidst the rusty metal.

Visited August 2013
Helpful?
Thank Canoecat
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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