ICYMI: Rare railcars heading to Pullman National Historical Park and State Historic Site

A historic collaboration between Norfolk Southern, the Historic Pullman Foundation (HPF), and the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR), will create an interactive rail exhibit at the Pullman State Historic Site and Pullman National Historical Park in Chicago.

Announced last week, this collaboration furthers Norfolk Southern's commitment to preserving and showcasing Chicago's history. It will also help enhance accessibility to valuable lessons in railroading, craftsmanship, and labor history. Once completed, the project will mark a significant step toward preserving Pullman's rich history for future generations.

“Norfolk Southern’s pledge to help bring this exhibit to life underscores our long-term commitment to Chicago and will ensure Pullman’s story continues to evolve and inspire,” said Herbert Smith, Regional Vice President Government Relations for Norfolk Southern. “Rolling historic railcars from different eras directly onto the property will transform Park visitors’ experience. We couldn’t be more excited for the public to see first-hand our nation’s evolution in rail transportation from the beginning.” 

The planned exhibit will showcase rare historic railcars, offering visitors the opportunity to climb aboard for a close-up experience of rail innovation and history in the heyday of passenger train travel. Norfolk Southern has pledged $250,000 toward the project, which is expected to restore 1,000 feet (about the height of the Empire State Building) of rail track and an accompanying support yard, complete with a protective display structure.

Several public figures, including U.S. Senators Richard Durbin (D-IL) and Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), as well as Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson, have expressed support for the initiative, emphasizing its importance in sharing the history of Pullman's labor and civil rights contributions.

“The iconic Pullman National Historical Park is a critical component of Chicago’s history. After having worked to ensure that the Pullman area has the necessary resources and investment to teach Illinoisans and visitors nationwide about Pullman’s story, I’m pleased to see Norfolk Southern commit to displaying historic railcars at the site,” said U.S. Senator Richard Durbin (D-IL). “The rail cars will add to visitors’ experience and help tell the story of America’s labor and civil rights movements.”

Read the full announcement here.