The Illinois Railway Museum was founded in 1953 by ten men who each contributed $100 to purchase Indiana Railroad 65, an interurban car that had just been retired and was in imminent danger of being scrapped. The museum’s origins, however, actually go back further.

In 1907 the Elgin & Belvidere Electric Railway, controlled by electric railway engineering expert Bion J. Arnold, opened for business. It was an electric interurban line paralleling the Chicago & North Western Railroad between the two cities in its name. One of its claims to fame was that it built the world’s first fully automatic substation in the town of Union. The E&B continued in operation until 1930, when automobile competition and the onset of the Depression drove it into bankruptcy. The tracks were torn up soon thereafter and the interurban cars were scrapped.


(Info Credit:

Illinois Railroad Museum- IRM02