In General
Getting Here


In General

Location / Name:
Union IL, McHenry County

What's Here:
Illinois Railway Museum
The Union Pacific runs on a parallel track thru town

GPS Coordinates: 42.22923, -88.52753 (at the station)
Phone A/C: 815
ZIP: 60180

Access by train/transit:
None, closest METRA is in Big Timber, 16mi SE

The Scoop:

The Illinois Railway Museum is one of the premier railroad and transit museums the United States has to offer (IMHO). They have gone to great lengths to preserve trolleys, trains, and subway cars, and just about any form of signaling known to man, and have over 5 miles of track to show everything off.  It is considered the "largest" railroad museum in the United States.

If you cruise through their signal section of pictures, you will note that (I think) all of them were taken by Julie Johnson.  I met her on my one trip to the IRM, and managed to keep in touch till she passed away.  Her knowledge of signals was unbeatable, and we shall all miss her.  Most of what you see in both static and active signal displays was a result of her passion for signals.  I don't know for a fact, but if you look at the signal pictures on their website, you will notice that (in particular), signal 451 is titled by Julie as being on "four mile siding" - so I'm guessing the siding was renamed in her honor.

Julie Johnson (RIP)
Denver Todd

Websites and other additional information sources of interest for the area: the UP in Huntley

Getting Here

From Chicago take I-94 west, or from "the west" (like Rockford or Minneapolis), get off at exit 47, IL-47 north, to Huntley and Woodstock.
Go 7.3 miles north to North Union Rd, and make a left.
Go 1.4 miles west to Hemmingsen Rd, and take a right.
The museum will be on your left after ~4.7 miles. 
Both Hemmingsen and Union Road snake around a "good bit".

From anywhere else, please consult your GPS. :-)



  Illinois Railway Museum

7000 Olson Road, Union IL 60180 (Physical)
Post Office Box 427, Union IL 60180 (mail)


At The End Of The Line

End of the track where Jefferson St crosses the UP mainline.

Almost at the end of the track.

End of the line, and the interchange track where the UP crosses Jefferson St.

  the Union Pacific

I didn't spend a whole lot of time looking for pictures of the UP coming thru the area, this one screenshot came from a Youtube video for Huntley IL. It seems a local works the line.


It's been many, many years since I have been to the IRM, in fact, I think I was last in town when EMD had their 75th anniversary, so that has been what, 25 years?  OMG, it's time for an EMD 100th birthday! :-)

When I was there, the IRM had most of their signals displayed on the outside wall of one of their buildings, dunno if that has changed or not, but they had a really nice collection!  I have pictures -if- I can find them....

Their signal section begins on this page, they have 67 picture in the collection:

Steven Jam did a train simulator animation of signals at the IRM, here are two screengrabs, and yes, the semaphores actuate.....

At Barn 4

Signals 151 and 152

Semaphore signals at Olson Road

Looking towards the end of the track and the interchange track.


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I love trains, and I love signals.  I am not an expert.  My webpages reflect what I find on the topic of the page.  This is something I have fun with while trying to help others.

Please Note:  Since the main focus of my two websites is railroad signals, the railfan guides are oriented towards the signal fan being able to locate them.  For those of you into the modeling aspect of our hobby, my indexa page has a list of almost everything railroad oriented I can think of to provide you with at least a few pictures to help you detail your pike.

If this is a railfan page, every effort has been made to make sure that the information contained on this map and in this railfan guide is correct.  Once in a while, an error may creep in :-)

My philosophy: Pictures and maps are worth a thousand words, especially for railfanning.  Text descriptions only get you so far, especially if you get lost or disoriented.  Take along good maps.... a GPS is OK to get somewhere, but maps are still better if you get lost!  I belong to AAA, which allows you to get local maps for free when you visit the local branches.  ADC puts out a nice series of county maps for the Washington DC area, but their state maps do not have the railroads on them.  If you can find em, I like the National Geographic map book of the U.S..... good, clear, and concise graphics, and they do a really good job of showing you where tourist type attractions are, although they too lack the railroads.  Other notes about specific areas will show up on that page if known.

Aerial shots were taken from either Google or Bing Maps as noted.  Screen captures are made with Snagit, a Techsmith product... a great tool if you have never used it! 

By the way, floobydust is a term I picked up 30-40 years ago from a National Semiconductor data book, and means miscellaneous and/or other stuff.

Pictures and additional information is always needed if anyone feels inclined to take 'em, send 'em, and share 'em, or if you have something to add or correct.... credit is always given!  Please be NICE!!!  Contact info is here

Beware: If used as a source, ANYTHING from Wikipedia must be treated as being possibly inaccurate, wrong, or not true.


NEW 12/22/2013, JUL05/06/07/08/2022
Last Modified 08-Jul-2022