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Illinois Railway Museum

what our customers say

retail customers | Illinois Railway Museum

A Museum in Motion

The Illinois Railway Museum, as you see it today, is the result of decades of effort by a dynamic group of dedicated volunteers. Originally formed to preserve one important piece of rolling stock, it has evolved into an educational and historic preservation organization creating possibly the largest operating demonstration railroad showcase on the North American Continent. All are welcome to join the education, restoration and preservation efforts provided by the Illinois Railway Museum.

That's a Lot of People

Once a year, over the span of two weekends, the Illinois Railway Museum celebrates the Day Out with Thomas event. Patrons can enjoy a ride on the Thomas Train, rides on other trains and streetcars, puppet shows, magic shows, live music and numerous other activities and attractions.. In 2003, over 42,500 admission tickets were sold. According to Bob Vighi, a volunteer at the museum, "The Thomas Event is our biggest event of the year. We sell thousands of tickets in the first few hours, and total a few hundred thousand dollars over two weekends. We needed a point of sale system that could handle the rush." Before the 2003 event, Bob installed a six station Cash Register Express system from pcAmerica. "Everything worked great. We really put the system to the test, selling thousands of tickets and items per hour. The point of sale system had no down time during the entire event."

Credit Card Processing

Every year at the Thomas event, an increasing number of people pay using their credit cards instead of cash. Standard cash registers use separate terminals to process credit cards, which take from 15 to 45 seconds. The museum needed something faster. Bob comments that, "credit cards are a large part of our business. Our merchandise sales totaled $ 369.5k. Of those sales, $ 215.5k were processed by credit cards. In the past, credit cards have always been a bottleneck, freezing the lines while the cashiers waited for the card to be approved." The railway museum signed up for pcAmerica's internet credit card processing service, which uses a high-speed connection such as cable or DSL to process credit cards. The cards process directly through the system and don't require a standalone terminal. "CRE processed each credit card in two to four seconds, which is a HUGE improvement from what we had before. The lines were shorter, and people spent less time on line and more time enjoying the event."

Investment Pays Off

Before 2003, the museum rented a cash register system to sell tickets and merchandise. In less than three years, the purchase of the point of sale system will save them money versus the cost of renting the system annually. Additionally, the faster checkout and sales data accumulated by Cash Register Express helped boost sales. Bob is happy with how everything turned out. "The system really paid off, and I'd like to use it for our daily operations. I'm going to work to get the Board of Directors to let me install the system in our existing stores."