If You're a Train Enthusiast

ALL ABOARD! Railfans should add these stops to any trip along the Illinois River Road.

We recommend calling or visiting each website for up-to-date information on hours of operation, etc.

Northern Leg of the Byway


This beautiful historic Railroad Depot built in 1917 was one of several along the main line of the Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific (Rock Island) Railroad from Chicago to Rock Island, IL. It was in operation as a rail depot until 1974 and then added to the U.S. National Register of Historic Places in 1995. It is now used as a healthcare facility.


North of the old Streator Santa Fe Burlington Northern Depot is a WWII Coffee Pot Lady Statue that honors the millions of volunteers that served soldiers and sailors passing by on troop trains. The canteen was open from November 26, 1943 to May 29, 1946 and served an estimated 1.5 soldiers and sailors. The troops would be fed by volunteers boarding the train while it was serviced. 


The Union Depot Railroad Museum building is what remains of the original grand 1888 Mendota Railroad Station. It's also a present day Amtrak station stop. The museum houses many railroad artifacts, HO model railroad depicting Mendota in the late 1930's and early 1940's, extensive railroad history library, and many displays. You can walk through the rail cars. Just a few blocks away from the gigantic Mendota Union Depot Art Piece.


The historic Amtrak Railroad Depot that was built in 1911 is still in use today. There is a Burlington Route 13593 Caboose on display near the Amtrak depot. 

Central Leg of the Byway


The Rock Island Depot Historical Museum sits in a restored train station of the Rock Island Line and is operated by the Chillicothe Historical Society. The museum is also home to an ATSF 999130 Caboose. 


Martinis on Water is a nice place to stop in for a nightcap and sample some local entertainment. It's located in the historic River Station building on the Peoria Riverfront. This Neo-Classical building was added to the National Register of Historic Places as "The Rock Island Depot & Freight House" on December 22, 1978.

Near Peoria

Spend the night in an authentic Santa Fe Train Caboose at Wildlife Prairie Park. Advanced reservations are required for overnight lodging. After your night in the caboose you can spend the morning discovering the animals that called Illinois home during the pioneer days.  This unique 2,000-acre zoological park is home to wolves, bison, black bear, cougar and much more. Take in a scenic train ride and stop in the small train museum located within the train depot.  

Near Peoria

The Wheels O'Time Museum includes displays of vintage and classic autos, steam trains, gas engines, fire engines, airplanes, tractors, musical instruments, juke boxes, toys, dolls, animated miniature circus, and many “hands-on” displays. Open Wednesday through Sunday, May-October 

Southern Leg of the Byway 


Stop at Narrow Gauge Railroad Museum, the last reminder of the narrow gauge railroad system that ran from 1878 to 1905 along a route that extended for 61 miles from Galesburg to West Havana. The site is also home to a caboose which is available for tours. Please call 309-547-4306 to make arrangements. 


The C & IM (Chicago & Illinois Midland) Depot is one of several depots in the Pekin, IL area and is located at Third St. & Broadway St. The building is now use for non railroad businesses.