Railroad Vehicles Display
Railroad track vehicle display at MLSP
Baggage cart on the platform at MLSP
Pump handcar (left) and open-top speeder (right)
Lisle Heritage Society volunteers demonstrate the hand pumper
Speeders could fit two riders inside.
Backstory and Context
In the 1800s, railroads connect places near and far quickly for the first time. The people who worked for the railroads – in the trains, stations, and yards – needed easy ways to move employees and heavy equipment from place to place.
MLSP has a few vehicles that are displayed and stored at the museum at different times of the year in order to preserve them. The tracks in front of you were originally located at Eola (“End of Line, Aurora”), an unincorporated community about 10 miles west of Lisle that held a Burlington Railroad yard. They were set on display by Lisle Heritage Society volunteers. Look for these and other vehicles when you visit the museum.
These large carts were used at depot stations to move people’s luggage and trunks. When a person wanted to travel by train, they first had to buy their ticket and check their luggage into the station. The station agent tagged each item and placed them on the baggage cart. Baggagemen working on the trains moved the luggage from the cart to the train for travel.
Railroad track inspectors and repair workers needed to travel up and down the tracks to keep the railroads working. This handcar is operated by two people: they pushed and pulled the handle up and down like a seesaw to make the car roll.
A speeder did the same job as the handcar, but was powered by an engine. Inside the speeder, there is a lever that can be pushed forward to travel forward along the tracks, backward to travel the opposite direction, or positioned in the middle to stop. Railroad workers could easily and quickly lift this small car off of the track to avoid incoming trains.
Resources collected and researched by The Museums at Lisle Station Park (MLSP) staff and volunteers
Lisle Heritage Society