For the past year I’ve been compiling a list of model train stores for my model railroading website. These shops all look like fantastic places to visit, but what are the most popular? Here is a list for the great state of Illinois.
The most popular model railroading shops (based on online chatter) in the state of Illinois are:
10. Ace Hobby Place in Chicago
9. Hammers Hobbies in Springfield
8. Woodstock Hobbies in Woodstock
7. B and G Train World in Elgin
6. Denny’s Trains and Things in Oswego
5. Americas Best Train Toy and Hobby Shop in Itasca
4. Prospect Bikes and Trains in Mount Prospect
3. Spring Hill Northern Train Supply in Richmond
2. Chicagoland Hobby in Chicago
…and the most popular shop for model trains in Illinois is…
1. First Hobby in Decatur
Hobby shops not quite making my top 10 were Al’s Hobby Shop in Elmhurst, Atomic Toy Company in Galena, Berywn’s Toy Trains and Models in Berwyn, Choo Choo Connection in Schaumburg, Des Plaines Hobbies in Des Plaines, Ed’s Hobby Warehouse in Palos Hills, Golden Spike Train Shop in Burbank, Grayslake Hobby World in Grayslake, Hands To Work Railroading in Alsip, Hauff Hobbies and Train Repair in Glenview, Hill’s Hobby & Collectors’ Shop in Buffalo Grove, Hobbies R 4 U in Bradley, Hobby City in Berwyn, K-10’s Model Trains in Maryville, LaGrange Hobby Center in La Grange, Leisure Hours Hobbies in Joliet, Mike’s Scale Rails in Peoria, Oakridge Hobbies and Toys in Downers Grove, Past-Time Hobbies in Brookfield, Pat’s Hobbies Oak Lawn, Pizza Express LGB Train Shop in Carterville, Rossville Depot Railroad Museum in Rossville, Royal Hobby Shop in Rockford, Sweetname Hardware and Model Train in Peoria, Thunder Road Hobbies in Moline, Tom Thumb Hobby and Crafts in Evanston, Trains and Toys of Yesterday in in Morton Grove, Venture Hobbies Wheeling, Wabash Junction in Springfield, and Walt’s Hobby Shop in Joliet.
Also in Illinois be sure to visit some of the great railroading museums including Chatham Railroad Museum in Chatham, Chicago Great Western Railway Depot Museum in Elizabeth, Illinois Railway Museum in Union, Kankakee Railroad Museum in Kankakee, Monticello Railway Museum in Monticello, Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago, and Union Depot Railroad Museum in Mendota.
I compiled this list by searching for the hobby shops listed on a number of search engines and ranking them by the number of web pages, discussion forums, photos, videos, etc that are available online. I further screened this list to include only pages that mentioned model railroading.