By John Grasson
The Orange Empire Railway Museum, located in Perris Ca. is a fantastic place to spend the afternoon. They are located on a 90 acre site and host a collection of trains and locomotives from Los Angeles and the West. With Yellow Cars from the L.A. Railway, Red Cars from Pacific Electric, and other from the Santa Fe, Union Pacific and Southern Pacific lines this place has everything. The weekend I attended was their First Annual Ironhorse Steampunk Carnivale, and for those who don’t know what it means to steampunk. Wikipedia describes it as a ” sub-genre of science fiction that typically features steam-powered machinery, especially in a setting inspired by industrialized Western civilization during the 19th century.” Which makes for a wonderful combination with the heavy industrial look of old trains and railways.
The museum itself is located on the original site of the town of Pinacate, which was established in 1878 as the Pinacate Mining District. Local mines like the Good Hope, Santa Rosa ( Rosalia ), Shay and others would remove 104,000 ounces of gold by 1959. In 1881 John Boyd started a store and post office, but it was short lived, the post office closed on June 29th, 1882. The town was moved north and renamed Perris, in honor of California Southern’s Fred Perris.
Beginning in 1956 as an early equipment committee of the Electric Railway Historical Association of Southern California, they changed their name to Orange Empire Traction Company later within the same year . By 1958 they changed their name again to Orange Empire Trolley museum, and moved to Perris. YEARS worth of blood, sweat and tears has turned this once small field into a absolute wonderland. They have at least three working trains/trolleys and four carhouses holding everything from narrow gauge, LA Railway, Pacific Electric, steam and diesel locomotives, this is a train paradise!!!
Here is a video of our trip…
For more on the Orange Empire Railway Museum, please follow the link provided