Orange Empire Railway Museum, Perris, CA
Visiting the Orange Empire Railway Museum is an adventure for young and old
The museum is in the middle of nowhere. Don't let that deceive you. There is a lot of ground to cover and what you see in the open is just a small percentage of the trains and streetcars being restored in the barns. On weekends you can buy an all-day pass to ride the trains, streetcars, and buses that once roamed the streets of downtown Los Angeles,.but the entrance into the park is always free.
On special occasions, you can board a train at the restored Perris Depot and ride to the museum. Santa rides the train at Christmas and Thomas the Train makes a stop every year. There is always something happening at the museum. This year, we are going to do the Pumpkin Ride.
Welcome to the Orange Empire Railway Museum! Take a tour of the exhibits or stroll through the barns. Most of the displays have information so you can take your time and learn as you go. The Orange Empire Railway Museum is a labor of love. Volunteers not only run the Museum but restore the trains, streetcars and buses. What they have created is a truly magical place for kids of all ages because very little is off limits.
Tracks are clear and ready to ride - Loading for the trains, trolley's and buses is right in front of the gift shop at the entrance to the park
Lots of shade
It was 107 degrees Fahrenheit when we went to take these pictures. Most of the photo's were taken in the shade. We didn't venture to the further train barns but there were more people than we expected,given the heat. We are only 10 minutes away from the museum and we often go there on perfect days to enjoy the trains, trolley's and buses. Sometimes we don't even ride them but simply kick back in the green spaces.
More on the Los Angeles Transit System
More shade - Consider a picnic
We picnic here often. There are tables scattered around and plenty of room to spread out. When they have the Rod and Rail Festival, the place is crowded but there is still room for families to enjoy a meal. The building in the background are the restrooms which are always clean.
Check out their website for all the family friendly activities
- Orange Empire Railway Museum
Official website with tons of information.
Los Angeles Barn
Rail transportation in Southern California was important in the history of the state. The Orange Empire Railway Museum houses the largest collection of the Pacific Electric Electric cars in the world. Most of it was gathered from scrapyards when the transit system was discontinued. Below are just three of the cars in the barn.
Some of these trolleys are here
This car ran the route from 8th Street and Westen Ave
Orange Empire Railway Wig Wag, Trolley, Train Action - 4/27/13
This ran the route from W. Pico to E. First
One of the older trolleys in the barn
The newly remodeld Perris Depot where you can catch a train for special events at the museum
Orange Empire Railway Museum - Steam Weekend April 19, 2914
Our history with the museum
My mother loved to take my boys to the museum. That was way back in the late 1970s and they went all the time. For them, it was a great adventure riding the trains, streetcars, and electric buses. They got to push the buttons to make the railroad crossing sign flash and make sounds. They wandered through the train barns and walked through the mail car displays.
My parents used to go frequently and ride one particular trolley. It was the same one they rode as a newly married couple when they lived in Los Angeles in 1947. It was the trolley that took them to the beach when LA still had an efficient rail system.
We go now for the Rail Fest which is a celebration of the trains. There is a vintage car show. We catch the train in Perris and don't have to deal with the parking at the museum. Since it is less than 10 miles from home, it's an easy day trip and we don't get tired of going because there is still so much we haven't seen.
When the museum is running a train with the caboose, we will stand in line to ride in the Coppola. It is well worth the wait.
Interactive Railroad "Signal Garden"
This is a grade crossing warning bell ca. 1910. It was used to warn motorist of an approaching train and came from Anaheim, CA. It predated the Wig Wag shown in the next picture.
Where is the Orange Empire Rail Museum? - It's right next ot the Perris Valley Airport
You get off the 215 Freeway at 4th Street and head west. Perris is a small town and you wonder where this place is. Make a left on A Street and you pass a lot of small, older homes and keep going. You pass three schools and on the left is a row of Eucalyptus trees that open into a parking lot. You are there.
Did I mention that it is next to the Perris Valley Airport?Click thumbnail to view full-size
There is so much at the Orange Empire Railway Museum that it is impossible to show it here. Their website shares so much more. If you are in the area, I encourage you to visit.
It takes all day to see everything and since our summers are hot, please plan on drinking lots of water. The museum covers several acres and there is a lot of walking. Much of it is dirt so plan accordingly.