A Chicago-based nonprofit is trying to help train a generation of young Chicagoans to be better rail riders.
The nonprofit, The Rail Museum, is trying out an experimental model to create a rail station in a rural village in northwestern Illinois.
The village of Thundersnow sits just a few miles from the Illinois Railway Museum, where railroad buffs and train enthusiasts gather to take photos of trains and train equipment.
The museum’s director, Robert Smith, says Thundersun has a lot to offer its young people.
He says the village has a population of about 1,000 people and a population density of about 50 per square mile.
He points to the train tracks, which are lined with trees, that line the roads and sidewalks.
“We have a great network of trails and a beautiful park,” Smith said.
“It’s an interesting environment for young people to grow up in.”
The museum plans to open its first train station in Thundersuns village on Jan. 7.
Smith said it is the first time a museum in Illinois has built its own station.
The Rail Museum has been in the process of planning its first year of operations since 2015.
Smith says he believes the village is ready to take part in the museum.
He said he thinks Thundersunn will be a good test bed for the program.
The rail museum’s first-year program will include a train trip, a museum-themed trip and an educational tour.
In 2019, the museum plans on adding a station for an overnight ride.