The most popular events operated by the Chicago Chapter since its earliest days involve the operation of special excursion trains.  These trains typically feature historic, restored passenger cars and are frequently pulled by steam engines.  Over the past 35 years the Chicago Chapter has operated excursion trains and has also acted as a ticket agent selling tickets on these trips.  The pictures below are from some of our recent excursions, as well as from past memorable ones.  All photos copyright the photographers as noted, all rights reserved, reproduction only by permission.

 


In July 1993 the Chicago chapter hosted the 53rd National Railway Historical Society Convention at the Palmer House.
The convention had drawn 1,500 railroad fans from all over the country.
UP Challenger 3985 steam engine visited the convention from Cheyenne WY.

Chicago NRHS convention logo

Chicago NRHS convention logo
Photo by Bill Schaeferle.

 


In July and August of 2009 steam engine SP 4449 visited the midwest en route to a festival in
Owosso, MI. For the July 19th excursion from Chicago Union Station to Battle Creek, MI.
the Chicago Chapter acted as local ticket agent.

SP 4449 steam engine

The excursion train, pulled by steam engine SP 4449, passes under the coal dock
at New Buffalo, MI, on July 19th, 2009.
Photo by Michael Harding.

 


Over Labor Day Weekend 2007, the Chicago Chapter acted as ticket agent for excursion trips pulled
by the steam engine Canadian Pacific 2816. These trips operated from Franklin Park, IL to
Sturtevant, WI via the former Milwaukee Road, now Canadian Pacific Railroad.

CP 2816 steam engine

The 2816 excursion train departs Sturtevant, WI.
Photo by Keith Schmidt.

CP 2816 steam engine

The 2816 excursion train passing under what once was the
Chicago, North Shore, and Milwaukee Railroad at Roundout, IL.
Photo by Keith Schmidt

Important to the full experience on excursion trains is the use of restored, historic passenger equipment.
In this picture the round-end observation car "Cedar Rapids", a full-length dome car, and several other pieces
of equipment from the Milwaukee Road pass Roundout Tower after crossing over what was then the
Elgin, Joliet, and Eastern Railroad.  Photo by Keith Schmidt.

CP 2816 steam engine

The 2816 excursion train rolls north at Des Plaines, IL.
Photo by Bill Schaeferle.

CP 2816 steam engine

Passengers aboard the excursion train pulled by the 2816 enjoy the open vestibule doors.
Photo by Bill Schaeferle.

 


Not long after its first steam-up following a lengthy restoration, the Chicago Chapter viewed the steam engine
Nickel Plate 765 in October 2005 at its home - the Fort Wayne Railroad Historical Society in New Haven, IN.

Nickel Plate 765 steam engine

Photo by Bill Schaeferle.

 


Over the years the Chicago Chapter has visited frequently the Illinois Live Steamers
club in the Chicago area for picnics and other gatherings.

Chicago Chapter members, family, and friends enjoy a ride at the Illinois Live Steamers.
Photo by Bill Schaeferle.

 


On the weekend of June 22, 2002 the Chicago Chapter operated a trip pulled by the steam engine Milwaukee Road 261
from Chicago Union Station to Galesburg IL. for their Railroad Days.

Milwaukee Road 261 steam engine

The steam engine Milwaukee Road 261 pulls the train through Galva, IL on June 22, 2002.
Photo by Brian Nicodemus.

The round-end observation car Cedar Rapids as the train smokes up Galva, IL.
Photo by Brian Nicodemus.

 


On a very warm day during the record-breaking summer of 1995 the Chicago Chapter operated excursion trips
for the Union Pacific railroad with their then-recently-restored E unit locomotives.  The trips operated from
Chicago's Northwestern Station to Clinton, IA.

Photo by Keith Schmidt.

The train crossing the Fox River.  Photo by Keith Schmidt.

 


On the weekend of September 8, 2012 the Chicago Chapter operated a trip to
Talltree Arboretum and Garden in Valparaiso, IN and
the Hoosier Valley Railroad Museum in North Judson, IN.

Hoosier Valley Railroad Museum in North Judson, IN.
Photo by Bill Schaeferle.

 


In July 2019 steam engine UP 4014 visited the midwest with a July 27th excursion to West Chicago, IL.
On July 27th, 28th and 29th the Chicago Chapter helped with crowd control while
the engine and museum car were on display and open to the public at West Chicago, IL.

UP 4014 steam engine

The excursion train, pulled by steam engine UP 4014, passes Joe Bean Stadium heading west
at Wheaton, IL, on July 27th, 2019.
Photo by Ron Beran.

UP 4014 steam engine

The excursion train, pulled by steam engine UP 4014, passes Billy Graham Center Museum heading west
at Wheaton, IL, on July 27th, 2019.
Photo by Ron Beran.

UP 4014 steam engine

The excursion train, pulled by steam engine UP 4014, heads west
departing West Chicago, IL, on July 31st, 2019.
Photo by Ron Beran.