Orange Empire Railway Museum

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The museum entrance

The Orange Empire Railway Museum (OERM, reporting mark OERX[1]), on 2201 South "A" Street in Perris, California, is a railroad museum founded in 1956 at the Pinacate Station as the "Orange Empire Trolley Museum."[2] The museum also operates a heritage railroad on the museum grounds.


The collection focuses on Southern California's railroad history. It houses the largest collection of Pacific Electric Railway rolling stock in the world, much of it rescued from scrapyards after the discontinuation of their passenger operations.

Two early Los Angeles 3 ft 6 in (1,067 mm) narrow gauge streetcars from the Los Angeles Railway , which had to have the trucks changed, run each weekend on the one-half-mile (0.8 km) long, dual gauge (3 ft or 914 mm / 4 ft 8 12 in or 1,435 mm) "Loop Line". A passenger-carrying diesel or electric freight train with open gondolas fitted with benches and at least two cabooses runs on the 1.5-mile (2.4 km) long, 4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge mainline that was once a part of the transcontinental main line of the Sante Fe Railway (to San Diego). Its main line stretches from south of the museum northward to the junction with BNSF Railway, where the historic Perris Depot on State Route 74 stands. The BNSF Railway spur is in active use, and the railroad grants permission for OERM trains to use the spur for special events. A Pacific Electric interurban "Red Car" also operates on the mainline on selected weekends, but the line electrification ends a block south of the depot. Streetcars and locomotives are selected on a rotating basis. The museum maintains a steam locomotive in operating condition and its use is scheduled for each third Saturday, September through May, certain special events and major holidays.

Admission to the OERM and parking are free except for special events, but a ticket must be purchased to ride on the museum railway. The ticket is valid for unlimited rides on the train and streetcars.

Tours of the grounds, static exhibits and shops are self-guided. A picnic area is located near the main entrance as is an interactive railroad "signal garden." Built between 2000 and 2001 and utilizing a combination of standard railroad signal relays and custom microprocessor controls, the garden's first phase included:

The display has since been expanded to include modern grade crossing signals, a US&S semaphore which once was mounted on a signal bridge spanning the Pacific Electric Watts Line and a century-old US&S banjo signal, used for both grade crossing protection and train control and one of only three known to exist. The others are on display at the Baltimore and Ohio Museum and the Smithsonian Institution.

Notable exhibits[edit]

Photo gallery[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Railinc, Search MARKs, accessed September 2009
  2. ^ The Emblem (Los Angeles Metropolitan Transit Authority) 5 (4): 5. February 1963. 
  3. ^ "Shirley Temple Inaugurates New Los Angeles Streetcar". 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 33°45′36″N 117°14′0″W / 33.76000°N 117.23333°W / 33.76000; -117.23333