|Visitor's Guide to
Orange Empire Railway Museum
Exhibits and Information
||Pinacate Station houses the museum's ticket &
information office, book and gift shop, and refreshments. All-day
passes can be purchased on weekends and holidays at Pinacate Station.
Vintage city streetcars running on the Loop Line can be boarded. Conductors
on the Loop Line describe city transit history and technology in California.
Streetcars also stop at E3, E4 and E5.
||New Era Building houses introductory rail history
exhibits. Built about 1910, this building was originally located on
"D" Street in Perris. Believed to have been built to house
the V. L. Hurt Real Estate Company and the Home Telephone Company,
it later housed several other businesses.
||Car House No. 1 houses 3 foot 6 inch narrow gauge
city streetcars. Included are horse cars dating from the 1870's, a
San Francisco cable car, an 1898 streetcar from Japan, and Los Angeles
Railway "Yellow Cars" (from "Huntington Standards"
introduced in 1902 to streamlined PCC streetcars introduced in 1937).
||Trolley Coach Yard contains trolley
coaches which replaced railway streetcars in many western cities,
beginning in the early 1940's.
||Abbenseth Car House No. 2 houses standard gauge electric
railway streetcars, suburban cars, interurban cars and locomotives
dating from 1900. Cars from a variety of different western railways
are included as are the Pacific Electric Railway "Red Cars."
||Hugh Smith Car House No. 4 houses
standard gauge wood passenger cars dating from 1879, steel passenger
cars dating from 1909, freight cars dating from the mid 1880's, and
additional electric railway cars. Several passenger cars, including
ATSF Railway Post Office Car No. 60, are open weekends on a rotating
|| Alpine Station serves as a stop for mainline
trains, suburban, and interurban cars on weekends. The waiting shed
is from Modjeska Park on Pacific Electric's Santa Ana Line. The switch
shanty is from Clement Junction (SP and LA&I).
||The Middleton Collection, which is housed in
two Rio Grande baggage cars, includes a century of toy and scale model
railroad cars and locomotives, toy automobiles and trucks, railroad
artifacts, and other historic items.
||Grizzly Flats Engine House No. 6 houses a 3 foot
narrow gauge steam locomotive, passenger cars, freight cars, and related
artifacts dating from the 1880's. Narrow gauge railways served many
mining, agricultural and lumber communities in the West.
||Pie Yard contains standard gauge steam locomotives
dating from 1917, diesel locomotives dating from 1939, additional
freight cars, and passenger cars. The yard office, located at the
north end of the yard, is from the Harbor Belt Line yard in San Pedro.
Historic Mainline Buildings
||Section Tool House, from the Harbor Belt Line
at Wilmington, accommodated equipment used to maintain the right-of-way.
||Cottonwood Station last served as a lumber yard
office near the Perris Depot. It has been used as a small town station
in several movies.
||Maintenance of Way Buildings were located along
the right of way to accommodate equipment. The section tool houses
are from the Santa Fe, at Perris and Redlands. The phone booth is
from Alessandro Station on the Perris and San Jacinto branch.
||Oil Junction Station was used for communications
and control of trackage. The train order office is from the joint
Southern Pacific and Santa Fe Oil City Branch north of Bakersfield.
The out house is from the SP's San Pedro Depot.
||Santa Fe Perris Depot, located at 4th Street
in downtown Perris, is a Victorian era combination depot building
which served both passengers and freight customers. It was completed
in 1892. It now houses the Perris Valley Historical Museum.
Pinacate, now the location of Orange Empire Railway Museum,
was once a supply town for the surrounding mining district it was
named after. The town was settled shortly before the California Southern
Railroad built through the area in 1882.
Designated as a station in 1882, Pinacate became the site
of a water tower and one of the two initial sidings between National
City and Colton. The station and section house were converted box
cars. Pinacate became a station on the Santa Fe transcontinental line
when the line was completed in 1885. The museum's mainline follows
the original right of way.
Relocation of the station, siding and water tower about 1
1/2 miles north to the new town of Perris occurred in April 1886 following
a title dispute over land at Pinacate. Perris is named after Fred
T. Perris, then Chief Engineer and Superintendent of construction
of the California Southern Railroad.
||Pinacate Rock Dwelling is believed to be the
oldest remaining building in the area, built as a store circa 1882,
by L. D. Reynolds, postmaster for the Pinacate town site. Building
is believed to have also served as the stage stop on route to San
||Pinacate Farm House is reputed to
have been a saloon in Pinacate, built circa 1883. Later it became
a farm house.
||Second Street House was originally a residence
on Second Street in Perris.
||Town Hall was once part of the Army anti-aircraft
artillery school in Moreno Valley.
||O'Neill's Streamline Diner was built in the mid
1930's to resemble a Union Pacific streamliner, fashioned from a Santa
Fe coach built in 1906. It provided meals to motorists traveling along
Highway 395 (now 215), about six miles north of Perris.
Service and Shop Facilities (Not open to
||Restoration Car House No. 3
||Duke Dyer Wood Shop
||Motor Vehicle Shop
||Rotary Converter Substation No. 1
||Solid State Substation No. 2
||Locomotive Service Area
full page map
| For Your Safety
for moving cars and locomotives.
- Parents please watch your children at all times.
- Do not smoke in buildings, cars or yards.
- Do not climb on or in cars or locomotives which are not open for
About the Museum
Orange Empire Railway Museum acquires, preserves, studies, exhibits
and interprets artifacts and documents of the rail transportation industry
in order to educate the public on the technology, history, and impact
of rail transportation in Southern California and the West. The museum
was founded in 1956. Located at this site since 1958, it has become the
largest railway museum in the Western United States.
Selected locomotives and cars are operated on weekends and holidays
on a rotating basis on the demonstration railway lines.
Volunteer members and private donations make museum operation
and development possible. The museum is a California non-profit organization.
Contributions are welcome. Membership information is available at Pinacate
Additional information is contained in the museum guidebook, Railway
Odyssey, which offers a further look at rail transportation in the West.
It includes photos and a museum equipment roster. Copies may be purchased
at Pinacate Station.
Orange Empire Railway Museum is located at 2201 South "A" Street
in Perris (17 miles south of Riverside on Highway 215).
For more information about Orange Empire Railway Museum upcoming events,
visit the Museum's website: www.oerm.org
or call (909) 657-2605.
Visitor's Guide To Orange Empire Railway Museum,
copyright 1993-2003, Orange Empire Railway Museum. Text and photos by
Richard Boehle. Map by Paul Hamond.