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Orange Empire Railway Museum, Perris, CA

Updated on September 12, 2014

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 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.

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.

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

The newly remodeld Perris Depot where you can catch a train for special events at the museum
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.

A marker -
2201 S. "A" St., Perris, CA 92570
get directions

Did I mention that it is next to the Perris Valley Airport?

Click thumbnail to view full-size
The Perris Airport is well known for it's skydiving.The also have a hot-air balloon experience based there.
The Perris Airport is well known for it's skydiving.
The Perris Airport is well known for it's skydiving.
The also have a hot-air balloon experience based there.
The also have a hot-air balloon experience based there.

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.

Comments welcomed

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    • anne mohanraj profile image

      anne mohanraj 5 years ago

      A very interesting lens.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      I would love to visit this museum.. :D

    • kiwi66 profile image

      kiwi66 5 years ago

      here is slient ,i feel ,though i didn't come here,

    • profile image

      ohcaroline 5 years ago

      looks like a great fun place to visit. your pictures are great.

    • profile image

      alfredLebeau 5 years ago

      nice lens great pictures

    • Gypzeerose profile image

      Rose Jones 5 years ago

      Unfortunately, this is 7 hours from my home, but I will try to make it on a 3 day weekend sometime. I love, love, love trains!

    • IWS LM profile image

      IWS LM 5 years ago

      We have similar thing here in Boise, Idaho, though on smaller scale. Thank you for great informative lens!

      Idaho Wood Sheds

    • Michey LM profile image

      Michey LM 5 years ago

      This museum show a par of history, so I think is educational, and must be visited.

      Thanks for a great lens.

    • profile image

      dellgirl 5 years ago

      What a beautiful lens, the photos are awesome. I love museums and, will be glad when I get to take Jace.

    • profile image

      JoshK47 5 years ago

      I'd definitely like to check this place out sometime! Thanks for sharing!

    • BillyPilgrim LM profile image

      BillyPilgrim LM 5 years ago

      Good lens - thanks x

    • BowWowBear profile image

      BowWowBear 5 years ago

      My son is so very much into trains! That's one we probably won't get to for a while, but thanks for sharing the info about it. I'll show him this lens tonight!

    • profile image

      SteveKaye 5 years ago

      We enjoy riding Amtrak and use it when every practical. Thank you for publishing this lens. I enjoyed it.

    • sconnelly711 profile image

      sconnelly711 5 years ago

      Great pictures and a great lens!

    • Deadicated LM profile image

      Deadicated LM 5 years ago


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      anonymous 5 years ago

      You certainly are a hearty folk, out and about having a wonderful time in 107 degrees! Well, I guess that tells us that this is a truly extraordinary experience and well worth enduring a little hardship. Many travelers will be putting the Orange Empire Railway Museum on their must see lists, thanks to you!

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      AngelaKane 5 years ago

      I like going to historic sites and places, especially anything related to the railroad. I have never been to the Orange Empire Railway Museum, but I will put it on my list the next time I visit California. Thank you

    • LiteraryMind profile image

      Ellen Gregory 5 years ago from Connecticut, USA

      This looks like a cute place to visit.

    • VeseliDan profile image

      VeseliDan 5 years ago

      I always like to trawel with train. Thanks for shearing this information. I will give this on my future plan for traveling. It would be great to see all this :) Blessed.

    • thememorybooksh1 profile image

      thememorybooksh1 5 years ago

      very interested lens, great post

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      aquarian_insight 5 years ago

      I love train rides and this looks like a very interesting museum to visit. Thank you for the information here.