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Chicago Switching => General Discussion => Topic started by: TBurke on April 15, 2017, 07:27:51 PM

Title: Mystery Narrow Gauge Private Railroad in Lake Barrington, IL
Post by: TBurke on April 15, 2017, 07:27:51 PM
While taking a walk today in the new Grassy Lake Forest Preserve in Lake Barrington, IL, I noticed what looked like railroad tracks to the east.  On closer inspection it was part of an elaborate miniature railroad network including what appears to be a turntable at both ends looking at Google Earth.  Does anyone else have information about it?  The location is on Flint Creek Drive north of Kelsey Road in Lake Barrington, IL.

Lots of no trespassing signs prevented me from taking a closer look.  I would post photos but with a limitation of 500K that rules out screen grabs and others. 
Title: Re: Mystery Narrow Gauge Private Railroad in Lake Barrington, IL
Post by: Brianbobcat on May 03, 2017, 10:08:02 PM
That's very interesting.  Using Google Earth, which gives you approximately the past 20 years of satellite imagery, it appears it was not there in 2002, but may be there in 2005.  Even when it was there, it looks like it went straight and dead ended behind the house at the end of Flint Creek Drive.  2p008 has a really clear shot that shows there is no turn table on the north end.  Then in 2009, there's a low-quality image that appears to be churned up dirt, and it's not until 2013 where a high-quality image is finally posted and the northern turntable is clearly evident.

This reminds me of the miniature railroad in Richmond, IL at the intersection of Hill Road and US-12.  It appears to be gone now, but the ROW is still visible.  Again, if you have Google Earth, check it out in 2013 and 2003, you get great views of it, including a trestle over the local creek.  If I see that path correctly, it was 2.5 miles of track.  The land is for sale, so I wonder if they pulled it up and moved it, sold it, or scrapped it.  I want to say the store at the cornet of Hill and 12 was a Lionel store, which would make sense, but I haven't been able to find any info on it.

While researching that Richmond trackage, I came across this forum thread that lists a whole bunch of miniature railroads, including several others in Illinois:
Title: Re: Mystery Narrow Gauge Private Railroad in Lake Barrington, IL
Post by: TBurke on May 03, 2017, 10:43:18 PM
Great research on that miniature railroad in Lake Barrington!  Thanks for the link to other miniature railroads.  It left off Dispensa's Kiddie Kingdom in Oakbrook Terrace which was torn down in the early 1980s. 

Speaking of the miniature railroad in are a few photos from back in the day.  It was taken up in 2014.  My guess is that the owner probably passed away. 

I took a ride in 1999 when it was open to the public.  The train went down then backed up before a trestle over Nippersink Creek.  These photos were taken a year earlier when a friend and I sneaked in and got a few photos.