A Visit To The Fox River Trolley Museum

The Fox River Trolley Museum, located off of IL 31 in South Elgin, is home to numerous interurban cars from the Chicago area's former interurban lines. We visited the museum in 2017, although are trip was postponed for a few weeks due to historic flooding along the Fox.

Thankfully, the museum didn't sustain any major damage in the floods. 
Former South Shore Line Trolley Car

The South Shore Line is one of the few interurban lines still in existence, and actually still has street running operations in some parts, especially around the Michigan City, IN area.

Former CTA Car


The museum uses the ROW of the otherwise abandoned Aurora Elgin & Fox River Railroad, which became part of the larger Chicago Aurora & Elgin, making this a very apt car to have.

The museum was near one of the first abandoned rights-of-way I discovered, along a walk along the Fox River Trail. I didn't even know the museum was there when I first visited the area. But it was at a least a part of becoming an enthusiast for the abandoned, particularly when it came to abandoned railroads!

North Shore Line Trolley

Chicago's perhaps most well-known former interurban line, the Chicago North Shore & Milwaukee Railroad, or the North Shore Line. The Illinois Railway Museum has many artifacts from the line, and the Trolley Museum uses one of their cars on a small train ride that they have along the former C A & E right of way.

The ride runs approximately one mile each way and has some nice views of some of their other rolling stock, under bridges and of the Fox.




This is a built station just west of the former right-of-way which is close to the Jon Duerr Forest Preserve

From here you can walk around and stretch your legs a bit for the return journey!



The volunteers are uniformed, very friendly, knowledgeable and professional!


The car was empty other than us, which was unfortunate, but at the same time, it was nice to enjoy the quiet.


This little spur connected the line with the Illinois Central (now CN line) near Stearns Rd




From the ROW!


What is called Woodcliff Station is named after one of the former landowners in the area. Today it is a collection of signals.



Some more signals are located on the museum grounds

Someone REALLY likes railroad crossing signals!
Overall, the Fox River Trolley Museum is relatively small, especially compared to the Illinois Railway Museum, but it is just as fun to visit and quite informative. You can probably see everything in an hour to 90 minutes, so if you're in the area I would recommend visiting and consider supporting the museum!

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