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What You'll Get
When the Central Pacific and Union Pacific railroads met in 1869 to form the Transcontinental Railroad, they proved the Roman adage "all railroads lead directly into the Pacific." Revisit amphibious boxcars and coral-power engines with today's Groupon: for $25, you get a family membership to the National Railroad Museum (a $50 value), located along the Fox River on South Broadway.
Recently featured on the Travel Channel, the National Railroad Museum boasts thousands of artifacts, locomotive ephemera, and restored trains. Visitors can climb aboard Union Pacific's Big Boy, the largest steam-powered train ever built, then inspect the models and plans for the Aerotrain, an innovative 1950s General Motors design that was shelved in order to focus on a constructed flying washing machine. Locomotive buffs can peruse the Pullman Porters: From Service to Civil Rights, which features a 1920s Pullman sleeper car. With a National Railroad Museum membership, you’ll get free admission for immediate family members, a subscription to the quarterly magazine Rail Lines, a 10% gift-shop discount, reduced price for special events, and an annual signed and numbered art print.
The National Railroad museum has been featured on an episode of Mysteries at the Museum on the Travel Channel.
The Fine Print
Promotional value expires Feb 7, 2011. Amount paid never expires. Limit 1 per person, may buy 2 additional as gifts. Must activate membership by 2/7/11, membership expires 1 year from activation date Merchant is solely responsible to purchasers for the care and quality of the advertised goods and services.
About National Railroad Museum
Resting beneath natural light from the skylights mounted above it, the hulking figure of the 1.2 million-pound Union Pacific Big Boy cloaks visitors in a shadow that stretches for nearly 50 yards. As guests ascend the monstrous cab of this steam locomotive, they enter the centerpiece of the National Railroad Museum, a chamber echoing with more than 150 years of American railroading history.
After exiting Big Boy, guests can view a computer-generated porter that recounts how African-American rail workers formed the nation's first all-black labor union, and another stop invites passengers to view inside a portion of General Eisenhower's WWII command train. Elsewhere in the museum, various collections are housed with more than 15,000 photographs, archives such as maps and engineering drawings, and more than 5,000 artifacts including uniforms and tools.
The National Railroad Museum has over 60 pieces of rolling stock, including diesel, steam, and electric locomotives, and passenger and freight cars. Among these are some of the most influential and unique pieces in railroading history, including a number of items that pertain to the state of Wisconsin.
Other must-sees of the museum include General Motors’ experimental Aerotrain; the streamlined Pennsylvania Railroad No. 4890, a GG-1 electric locomotive; and the Frederick Bauer Drumhead Collection, the largest, single collection of railroad drumheads known to exist in the United States. Most facilities are accessible, except where rolling stock cannot be altered due to their historic nature. The Museum’s train ride is accessible, and a wheelchair lift is available.
A train ride is offered on a daily basis from May through September. The Museum also hosts a variety of special events for all ages.Guided tours are available year round with advanced reservations. All tours must be booked in advance.