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The Monticello Railway Museum (initialized MRM, reporting mark MRMZ) is a non-profit railroad museum located in Monticello, Illinoismarker. It is home to over 100 pieces of railroad equipment, including several restored diesel locomotives and cars.


The museum offers a tourist railroad which operates excursion trains over a former railroad line that was owned by Illinois Terminalmarker and Illinois Central Gulf. For a donation, guests can operate one of the locomotives during the "Throttle Time" program. Trains run May through October and on holidays. Visit the museums website for the latest information.

The Camp Creek yard was originally built by the museum's volunteers. The Terminal Division is a re-built Illinois Terminal right-of-way running from Camp Creek up to Blacker's towards White Heathmarker. The Central Division was purchased by the museum from the Illinois Central. The Central Division purchase allowed the museum to enter into downtown Monticello to the historic Wabash Railroad depot and is the mainline of the museum's heritage railroad. The Central Division is currently being restored up to White Heath to allow occasional operation into that town. Only a short section of the Terminal Division is currently in use from the central switch down past Nelson's Crossing depot into Camp Creek yard, but has been restored to within a few miles of White Heath.


The Monticello Railway Museum is located off Interstate 72 at Market St. Exit 166. Turn at the stoplight onto Iron Horse Place at the Best Western Gateway Inn, and follow the frontage road to the end. 25 minutes from Champaign and Decatur. 50 minutes from Bloomington.


The Monticello Railway Museum, a not-for-profit educational organization, was founded in 1966 as "SPUR" (Society for the Preservation of Unretired Railfans). Its goal at that time was to maintain and operate steam powered passenger train excursions. In 1969 the name was changed to the Monticello & Sangamon Valley Railroad Historical Society, Inc., and then in 1982 the name was again changed to the present day Monticello Railway Museum.

The first land purchased was about five miles (8 km) of former Illinois Terminalmarker right of way between Monticello and White Heath. This right of way had only ballast in place. A former popcorn field was purchased for the yard area. The volunteers prepared the yard area for the arrival of #1, the first engine acquired by the museum. Through the years track was laid toward White Heath until approximately 2½ miles was completed. A run-around was put in place at the north end (Blacker's). In 1988, this portion of the track became known as the Terminal Division.

In 1987, the Museum purchased 7 ½ miles of Illinois Central Gulf trackage between Monticello and White Heath which parallels the Illinois Terminalmarker right-of-way. A crossover track connecting the two lines was installed in two weekends, and the first run into Monticello was made.

Today the ride takes place on the Central Division, using the Terminal Division only when pulling into the depot at Nelson's Crossing. The station names used on both the Central and Terminal Divisions were used by the original railroads.



  • Southern Railway 2-8-0 Consolidation #401 built in 1907 by the Baldwin Locomotive Worksmarker, is currently being restored in the museums shops. It is hoped to have it operational 2008. #401 arrived at the museum in 1971 from Margerum, Alabama.

  • Wabash Railroad F7A #1189 was the last F7A ordered by the Wabash and was the last F7A model locomotive built by General Motor Division, Ltd. at London, Ontario, Canada. Assembled in April 1953, it spent most of its time on the of the St. Thomas division between Buffalo, NY, and Windsor, Ontario. Retired in September 1979, and in January 1980, was sent to Decatur, Illinois, to be scrapped. Norfolk & Western Railroad donated it to the museum in 1982. After being restored by the museum, it was dedicated on August 15, 1992.

  • Milwaukee Road NW2marker #1649 was built in 1947 by the Electro-Motive Division of General Motors. This unit arrived at the museum in 2000 and restoration was completed in late 2003.

  • Illinois Central GP11 #8733 was built by the Electro-Motive Division in 1958 as a GP9. It was in the last order of GP-9's purchased new by the IC. Its original number was 9386 and was rebuilt in 1980 as a GP11, at the Paducah Shops in Kentucky. The locomotive was donated by Canadian National-Illinois Central in 2001. This unit has been restored to an operational condition.

  • Lincoln Sand & Gravel #44 was donated in 1975. Built in 1940 for Morrell Meatpacking, this was one of seven 44 toners of this style built by The Davenport Locomotive Co. This engine saw use at the museum from the mid 1970's until the late 80's and early 90's. #44 is currently on display at the museum.

  • Pennsylvania Railroad E8A #5764 was built in 1952 by Electro-Motive Division. This unit was the last passenger engine built for the Pennsy. Other numbers for this engine were PC 4264, MBTA 4264 and BDT 5764. It was last used by the Tennessee Central Railroad from whom its private owner purchased it. The locomotive is current being restored and when completed will emerge as Illinois Central #5764 to go with the museum's replica Illinois Central streamline passenger train.

  • Engine #1 was acquired in 1966 from the Western Indiana Aggregate & Stone in Montezuma, Indiana. Built in 1930 by American Locomotive Works (Alco) and weighing 27 1/2 ton, this 0-4-0 came with a saddle tank. It was trucked to Monticello where restoration work began in a parking lot. The tank was removed and tender #4342 was donated by the Illinois Central to use with the engine. The first run was on October 12, 1970, on of newly laid track at the museum site. The locomotive was last used at the museum in 1988 and has be cosmetically restored and placed on display at the entrance to Iron Horse Place.

  • Engine #191, built by the American Locomotive Works (Alco) in 1916. was used at Republic Steel of Massilon, Ohio. This 85 ton 0-6-0 with 51" drivers was purchased and arrived at the museum in 1970. The first operation of this engine was in on October 9, 1972, and the last was in 1987.$

Notable rolling stock

Several types of cabooses can be seen at MRM.

  • Illinois Central #892 is a combine passenger/baggage car built in 1918 by the Pullman Company for the IC. American Steel Foundries converted it to brake testing car #1948 and equipped it with instrumentation for various tests on railroad hardware manufactured by ACF. The floor section over both trucks had glass inserted to allow for viewing during the tests. The baggage portion of the car retained its glass floor during restoration at the museum. This car was donated by ACF in 1976.

  • Illinois Central #3531 was built in 1950 for the Nickel Plate Railroad which named it the "City of Finlay" and numbered it #210. It is a 10-roomette/6-bedroom sleeping car. It was purchased by the Illinois Central in 1965, rebuilt with smooth sides, was renumbered #3531 and named "Council Bluffs". This car was painted in 2007 and is on display.

  • Nautilus II aquarium car was rebuilt in 1957 from the Chicago & Eastern Illinois Railroad lunch-counter car, "Turkey Run" The car was used by the John G.marker Shedd Aquariummarker of Chicago to transport marine specimens until 1972. The 16 portable 190 gallon Cyprus holding tanks, combined with 20 welded-steel tanks, cound hold up to 3,000 specimens. The tanks were loaded onto a barge and the collections were made from the Atlantic Ocean, Gulf of Mexico, and the Pacific Ocean. The car was donated in 1974.

  • Illinois Central #3312 "Gulfport" was built in 1942 as part of the first light-weight Panama Limited train set. The "Gulfport" is a sleeper, observation, and lounge car. It was one of only two built from Pullman Lot 6672, plan 4201. Its sister car, the Memphis, was destroyed by a derailment in 1965. The Gulfport was sold by the Illinois Central in 1968 to Bobbie Thompson Farms near Thornton, MS. It saw service as a hunting cabin until 2005, when the car was donated to the Museum. When sold by the Illinois Central, the trucks were retained by the IC. New trucks have been acquired and several members made a trip to Mississippi in August 2005 to prepare the car for over-the-road travel. Initial inspection of the car shows that there is a lot of work ahead to see this car back in service. Although largely intact, time has not been kind. Mechanical systems will have to be replaced, the roof repaired, and the vestibule and side sills rebuilt. The car was trucked to Monticello in July 2006, placed on its new trucks, and delivered to the museum.

  • Illinois Central Diner #4112 Currently awaiting restoration. Unique L-Shaped boothes at the nd of this car. Kitchen is still in good condition.


Nelson's Crossing Depot was donated in 1977. This Illinois Central Railroad depot was formerly located in Deland, Illinois. The depot was built in 1919 and rebuilt in 1942. The depot was moved to the museum in 1980 and is the ticket office and gift shop of the museum.

The Wabash Depot was built in 1899 to replace a smaller depot, burned earlier that year. At the time the Wabash mainline went through Monticello between what is now the grain elevator and McDonald's. The line was moved west onto a fill, straightened, and a new steel bridge was built over what was the Illinois Central Railroad (now Monticello Railway Museum trackage). On April 20, 1904, the depot was moved to higher ground beside the new mainline. The depot was moved to its present location on May 29, 1987, and was restored by the Monticello Depot Association. January 1. 1993, that organization, its members and assets were absorbed into the Monticello Railway Museum.

Special events

Railroad Days

Among the special events at the museum, there is Railroad Days held each year the third weekend of September. One ticket per day allows riders to experience the ultimate railroad experience in the Midwest. A regular passenger train using former Illinois Central coaches and office car #7, a mixed-freight train, plus motor cars going into White Heath.

Fireworks Special

A fireworks special train leaves at 8.00pm and travels north to the museum grounds to set and watch fireworks. Air conditioned coaches and open air car, and open window coaches along with two locomotives are used.

See also


External links

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