The Illinois Railway Museum has the largest collection of historic railway equipment in America. The main museum campus in Union, Illinois features more than twenty structures spread out across 100 acres of land.
The exhibit buildings house much of the museum's collection of trains, as well as historic structures like the 1851 East Union Depot, the oldest active train station west of Pittsburgh, the Spaulding Tower, the Schroeder Mercantile Store, and the Central Diner.
IRM was founded in 1953 and has grown to become the largest collection of preserved railway and transit equipment on the continent, with some 450 pieces of historic equipment including steam engines, diesels, streetcars, interurbans, passenger and freight cars, buses, and trolley buses.
Among the famous trains at the museum are the Nebraska Zephyr, the only complete surviving Zephyr streamliner; Frisco 1630, a 1918 steam locomotive originally intended for export to czarist Russia; and the Electroliner, a revolutionary high-speed electric train dating to 1941.
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. This not-for-profit organization is owned entirely by its volunteers. The museum receives no state or federal money for its operations. All capital and operating costs are paid by individual donations and revenue derived from tickets and on-site sales.