THE CHICAGO& EASTERN ILLINOIS RAILROAD HISTORICAL SOCIETY
Museum – Watseka, Illinois
The Chicago and Eastern Illinois Railroad Historical Society has opened a museum in two rooms of the Watseka Union Station in Watseka, Illinois. In the late 1980’s the Watseka Union Depot was acquired by the Watseka Historical Society and moved about 300 feet east of the original location. A new basement was constructed under the relocated building and it was then lowered to its new foundation. The historical group then began the restoration project to restore the station to its original appearance. The facility now provides a location for various Watseka area functions such as dinners, charity events and even wedding receptions. The depot level consists of a main waiting room, a ladies waiting room, former office and baggage area for the Toledo Peoria and Western and the former office and baggage area of the Chicago and Eastern Illinois Railroad.
In April 1997 the Chicago and Eastern Illinois Railroad Historical Society moved into the former C&EI office area and started restoration of the room. The area was cleaned, the walls restored to original colors of the C&EI, the ticket windows restored and the room made ready for museum displays. Next came cleaning and restoration of the baggage room. This room is used for storage of the documents and railroadiana material that the society has collected over the years. In addition it serves as the overflow area for displays. Thanks go to the volunteers that restored the area to help create the fine museum area we have today.
The depot is a great train watching location. The north south line is operated by both Union Pacific, former Missouri Pacific, and CSX, former Louisville & Nashville. A result of the MoPac and L&N splitting the line from Woodland Jct. to Yard Center. Approximately 50 trains operate per day, along with Canadian Pacific, Kansas City Southern, Canadian National, and other motive power.
On the north side of the station is the former east west line of the Toledo Peoria & Western. The line is now operated by the Genesse & Wyoming. Motive power from various G&W shortline railroads may appear on the through trains. Normal operation is one train each way per day and if you are lucky you may see one in the afternoon eastbound.
The UP/CSX line is dispatched by the UP out of Omaha, NE and uses 160.41 north of Woodland Junction. The G&W trains on the TP&W will contact the dispatcher for a signal to cross the mainline.
The museum is open the first Saturday of each month from May through October. Hours are 10 AM to 4 PM and admission is free, donations accepted of course.