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2023 Year in Review

December 28, 2023 2:35 PM | Jacob Goldberg (Administrator)

As we finish off the season and prepare for 2024, it's time to reflect on all that we did in 2023. It was certainly a big year for us, both with our normal operations, special events, and all the new things that happened. Without further ado, here's a brief recap:

CA&E 458 Restoration

After years of hard work, we restored Chicago, Aurora, and Elgin (aka Roarin' Elgin/Great Third Rail) car number 458 into service. The car only saw a little over a decade of service on the Great Third Rail before their abrupt shutdown of passenger operations, then sat idle for decades before we acquired and restored it. Thanks to the hard work of our car department, CA&E 458 is back in service and carrying passengers.

Read more about CA&E 458


As part of our new events this year, we hosted a weekend of beer, music, German food, and more.

New Caboose

We acquired our newest car, both in terms of how long we've had it and how recently it was built, this year. Former Soo Line caboose 117 entered our collection and is currently awaiting restoration.

New Volunteers

This year, we welcomed several new volunteers in both the operations department and the car department.

Restoration of Wayne Depot

After acquiring the former CA&E Wayne Depot, this year we restored and repainted it to the way it looked during CA&E operation. Wayne Depot can be seen by our parking lot, just east of Track 2 at the pedestrian crossing.

Operation Lifesaver

In late September, we set record attendance by partnering for the first time with Operation Lifesaver and providing both trolley rides and information on safety around railroad crossings. Remember: only cross train tracks at designated crossings, do not try to beat the gates, and if a vehicle ever gets stuck on the tracks, call the number on the blue sign to stop any trains headed that way.

Hunter's Moon

In addition to our beloved Ghost Story Train, we partnered with the Paranormal Mom's Society to put on the Hunter's Moon Event in late October.

Ballet Folklórico Huehuecoyotl

We harkened back to the days of trolley parks by partnering with Ballet Folklórico Huehuecoyotl and providing rides to their performance at Blackhawk, further enhancing the event with a local food truck.

Polar Express Premier

While the Polar Express has always been an extremely popular event, we offered an additional tier this year with the Polar Express Premier.

Easter Bunny Train

As is tradition, our first public event of the year was the Bunny Burrow Express, complete with an Easter egg hunt at Coleman and meeting up with the Easter Bunny at the Bunny Burrow.

Rails to Victory

We continued our always-popular Rails to Victory event, transporting passengers back to the days of World War II, complete with battle re-enactments and displays of military and civilian life.

Ghost Story Train

In October, we brought back our ever-popular Ghost Story Train. Passengers got to ride to Blackhawk, make s'mores, and hear some spooky ghost stories.

Polar Express

A year at our museum wouldn't be complete without our beloved Polar Express. As usual, tickets were completely sold out. Passengers were treated to a cup of hot chocolate and cookies, a reading of the Polar Express book, live acting of scenes from the book and movie, Christmas carol sing-alongs, and of course a visit from Santa.

Caboose Train

In the fall, we brought back the favorite of many kids, the Caboose Train, allowing passengers to ride in a former Illinois Central caboose on a real freight train, hauled by Locomotive 5, which formerly hauled freight on our very own tracks for the Aurora, Elgin, and Fox River Electric Company. We also welcomed two new operators on Locomotive 5 this year, expanding our available crew.

We would like to thank all of our volunteers, members, and visitors who made this happen. We can't do it without you, and we are looking forward to an even more amazing 2024. See you there!

Contact Us

General Information (847) 697-4676

Event and Ticket questions (847) 380-6121


365 S La Fox St, South Elgin, IL 60177           

P.O. Box 315

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The Fox River Trolley Museum is an IRS 501(c)(3) Illinois Not for Profit Corporation.
Donations are tax deductible to the fullest extent of the law. 

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