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Chicago's first railroad, the Galena & Chicago Union, began building westward from Chicago in 1848, through Turner Junction (now West Chicago) to Rockford and Freeport. That railroad later became part of the Chicago & North Western and (in the . . . — — Map (db m39048) HM
The self-propelled Rail Diesel Car (RDC) was introduced in 1949 as a low-cost alternative for branchline and commuter runs, available in five combinations of coach seating and baggage and mail space. Power was provided by two diesel engines and a . . . — — Map (db m39254) HM
This date stone came from the Chicago Railways Company "West Shops" complex located in Chicago at Maple and Harding Ave. Streetcars were built there and the shops survive to this day serving the Chicago Transit Authority. This stone was part of a . . . — — Map (db m39262) HM
Along with long-distance passenger service from Chicago to Milwaukee, the Twin Cities, Omaha, and the Pacific Northwest, the Milwaukee Road also ran an extensive commuter service to Chicago's Western and Northern suburbs.
Electro-Motive's . . . — — Map (db m39242) HM
In the 1920's, Chicago had six major "steam road" passenger depots, along with numerous rapid transit and electric interurban stations.
The main building, or "headhouse," of only one of the six grand old stations (Dearborn) has survived, though . . . — — Map (db m39155) HM
The earliest cars were joined together with chains or iron bars. Later cars used many different types of couplers, including the "link and pin." A foot-long iron oval, or link, fit into horizontal slots on the ends of adjacent cars, and was held in . . . — — Map (db m39129) HM
In the earliest days of railroading, train movements were controlled by flagmen, station agents, or other workers alongside the tracks, using flag or lantern signals to stop or start trains as needed.
The first practical mechanical wayside . . . — — Map (db m39267) HM
The earliest motorcars (often called speeders or section cars) appeared just after the start of the 20th century, using many of the same mechanical components as the first automobiles.
The first speeders used single-cylinder engines connected . . . — — Map (db m39077) HM
Early railroad cars had hand-operated brakes. A lever (and later a brake wheel) near the top of each car applied the brakes only on that individual car. The engineer directed brakemen to apply or release brakes by whistle . . . — — Map (db m39130) HM
Cats have been a part of the railroad scene almost since the first rails were laid. Many railroad facilities, such as yard offices, rural stations, and interlocking towers, have had resident cats who have adopted (or let themselves be adopted by) . . . — — Map (db m39224) HM
The first rails for horse-drawn tramways and gravity-powered railroads were simple wooden stringers. Later, wrought-iron straps on top of the wood stringers, and then cast iron rails, gave greater durability. The predecessor of the modern . . . — — Map (db m39266) HM
Before 1883, clocks were set to local "sun time," where noon was the time when the sun was highest in the local sky. Use of sun time meant that each town's time was different; Chicago would be nearly 5 minutes ahead of Rockford, or 15 minutes . . . — — Map (db m39265) HM
A locomotive's motion depends on the friction between its wheels and the steel rail. When rails are wet or slick, friction can decrease to the point that the wheels slip or spin, like an auto on an icy road.
To increase friction, each locomotive . . . — — Map (db m39152) HM
This type of coupler is an improved version of the first automatic coupler. It was designed shortly after the Civil War but not used extensively until after 1890.
It continued in heavy useage until the World War II era. Variations of this . . . — — Map (db m39079) HM
Illinois Railway Museum obtained the limestone entablature displayed here in 1996. The Soo Line Freight House opened on April 1, 1914. It was located at Roosevelt and Canal in Chicago, Il. The entire complex which covered 11 city blocks was . . . — — Map (db m39222) HM
This caboose was built in 1929 at the Milwaukee Road shops, in Milwaukee. It was originally numbered MILW 01612, as part of an order for 15 drovers cars. They were the first steel cupola cabooses built by the Milwaukee.
The car was rebuilt in . . . — — Map (db m39231) HM
For over 90 years, this classic Midwestern interlocking tower protected the junction of the Milwaukee Road and the Elgin, Joliet & Eastern at Spaulding, just east of Elgin, Illinois.
Originally built around 1890 when the . . . — — Map (db m39263) HM
Boxcars made up the largest portion of most railroad's freight car fleets until nearly the end of the Twentieth Century. They were used to carry almost any type of non-perishable solid cargo, ranging from cartons, crates, and bags of merchandise to . . . — — Map (db m39241) HM
The Burlington Zephyrs
The Chicago, Burlington & Quincy introduced the three-car Zephyr, the first in a series of lightweight stainless steel streamliners, in 1934. The Zephyr (later called Pioneer Zephyr) captured . . . — — Map (db m39210) HM
The Elgin & Belvidere Electric Company
The Elgin & Belvidere interurban line carried passengers and freight between its named endpoints for more than two decades, until growth in private auto ownership, better roads, and the . . . — — Map (db m39045) HM
Early diesels had relatively low power (800-2000 hp). Beginning in 1948, the Union Pacific and GE developed alternatives for heavy freight. The resulting 55 units replaced the usual diesel prime mover with an aircraft gas turbine.
The last . . . — — Map (db m39230) HM