The Fox River Trolley Museum is the place for someone to go if they are looking to learn more about early twentieth century electric railroads and trolleys. "Education through demonstration" is the mission that the employees at the museum strive to fulfill, which is what makes this particular museum both unique and remarkable. Visitors may travel to this museum under the impression that there will be a walking tour, but soon they find out that the tour and learning experience itself will be demonstrated to them while riding on an old-time trolley along the Fox River!


  • One of the railcars available to ride on at the museum
    One of the railcars available to ride on at the museum

   While the Fox River Trolley Museum didn't open until July 4, 1966, the Fox River trolley line was up and coming all the way back in 1896. The trolley line was originally just called the " Fox River Division" since it's railways ran mostly along the Fox River in Elgin,Illinois, but as the division branched out it was later renamed the "Aurora, Elgin, and Fox River Electric Company" (AE&FRE) in 1919. A few years later, automobiles began to grow popular and trolley companies began to face complications regarding the streetcar routes that their trolleys operated on. In order to make room for paved roads, railways had to go. Though most of the track for AE&FRE was torn up by 1935, there was still a small stretch around 3.5 miles long that connected north Coleman, IL to a hospital in Elgin, IL, which was used to haul coal to the hospital between the two counties. Due to the pollution that the hospital's coal-powered plant created,In 1971, the EPA told the hospital that their use of coal had to stop. The AE&FRE had lost it's last customer and went out of business. 
    The "Railway Equipment Leasing and Investment Co." (RELIC)was created by a group of railway fans even before the AE&FRE line went down, and their mission was to save old railway trolleys from being scrapped and to get them running on railways again. The group began working on plans for the Fox River Trolley Museum in 1961, and by 1966 it was complete! Visitors of the new museum could hop on a trolley and enjoy a ride for the low payment of 50 cents, and while the ride was short at first, it expanded over the years as new railways were constructed for it. 
    The museum owns an original preserved piece of the old AE&FRE trolley line, as well as a number of historic trolley cars that ride along it. Visitors should be prepared to board one of the museums unique trains upon arrival, and they should also be prepared for an extremely fun and educational experience as they learn about the history of old-time trolley cars while riding in one for 4 miles! The cost for a round trip along the Fox River for an adult is a mere $4, for a senior it is $3, and for a child up to 11 years it is $2. The rides are a bit more expensive than the 50 cents they used to be, but the more extensive, the more expensive,and boy is it worth it! If the trolley ride isn't enough fun for one day, the museum also provides picnic, boating, hiking, and fishing areas in  Jon J. Duerr Forest Preserve that surrounds the area. Want a miniature trolley to take home in order to remember the remarkable experience? Check out the gift shop. Bored on Halloween and feel like being scared while also being educated on railway history? The museum offers a "Terror Trolley" ride in October. Embark on an epic 30-minute trolley ride at the Fox River Trolley Museum and leave with a new-found knowledge of trolley history. 

"Fox River Line: Fox River Trolley Museum". Fox River Trolley Association 2014. Accessed October 2014. http://www.foxtrolley.org/ " Fox River Trolley Museum".2008-2014 Dynamic Ticket Solutions. Accessed October 2014. https://www.funtrainrides.com/fox_river_trolley_museum.cfm