Volo Museum to soon offer tours of movie trains

  • The Jupiter 4-4-0 steam locomotive from Disney's 2013 film "The Lone Ranger" is lifted into place on the Volo Museum grounds Monday, Dec. 20.

    The Jupiter 4-4-0 steam locomotive from Disney's 2013 film "The Lone Ranger" is lifted into place on the Volo Museum grounds Monday, Dec. 20. Courtesy of Volo Museum

Updated 1/7/2022 12:10 PM

Three full-sized, film-famous train cars, each weighing tens of thousands of pounds, arrived on the grounds of the Volo Museum in mid-December after a 2,035-mile journey from Fillmore, California, with four more on their heels.

The complexities of transporting seven enormous train cars to their new home proved to be a tall -- and costly -- order. But it's an effort that will be worth it when visitors can enjoy Volo's new Chuggin' Along Train Tour and Museum in 2022, said Brian Grams, director of the museum.


"It's crazy. It's stressful. But it's fun," Grams said, noting that several sections of new fencing had to be removed, tons of rock brought in and graded and a segment of track laid for the initial three-car installation, visible to passing motorists near Route 12 and Fox Lake Road.

By next summer, Grams envisions guests lining up to board the museum's trackless trains to enjoy the train tour and all of the new amenities that will go with it.

Featured will be the Jupiter 4-4-0 steam locomotive and tender used in Disney's 2013 film "The Lone Ranger." Also on view will be the parlor car from another train in the same movie, as well as the baggage and parlor cars made famous by Will Smith in "Wild Wild West."

Leonardo DiCaprio fans will recognize the sinister locomotive from "Inception," and Denzel Washington fans the cab from the heart-pounding thriller "Unstoppable." There are even a couple of handcars from "O Brother, Where Art Thou?"

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It's been only a few weeks since Grams first spied his new treasures on eBay. In early December, they were posted for sale by their former owner, the Fillmore & Western Railway Co. in Fillmore, California, with the caveat that they needed them removed before the end of the month, Grams said.

Never one to shrink from a challenge, Grams clicked "buy now" and plunged full steam ahead into the logistics quagmire of shipping several train cars more than 2,000 miles, and not by rail, but over the road.

Simply finding trucks that could bear the weight, with trailers that sit low enough not to exceed height restrictions once loaded, and then choreographing the dance between crane operators, riggers and truckers, was mind-bending, Grams said.

Doing it all in such a tight time frame, and in the midst of the holiday season, hasn't been a project for the faint of heart.

"It's not like shipping a car," Grams said. "Getting the train cars here has far exceeded the cost of the purchase. We'll be into it for more than $1 million by the time we're done."


Featuring star cars, vintage muscle cars and an ever-expanding array of other attractions, the Volo Museum is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Regular admission is $12.95 for children ages 5-12 and free for those 4 and younger. Adult admission is $19.95.

Volo Museum is at 27582 Volo Village Road.

Those wishing to add a visit to Jurassic Gardens -- an indoor, animatronic dinosaur park that opened earlier this year -- can buy a combo ticket for $24.95 for children ages 5-12 or $31.95 for adults. Combo tickets are good for both parks for two consecutive days.

A separate admission fee will be established next summer for those wishing to take in solely the train museum and tour. A new combo ticket also will be offered, Grams said.

State COVID guidelines are in place. For other details, visit volocars.com, find Volo Auto Museum, Jurassic Gardens or Chuggin' Along Train Tour and Museum on Facebook, or call (815) 385-3644.

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