Southern California Railway Museum
SCRM Logo.png
Former name
Orange Empire Railway Museum
Location2201 S. "A" St.
Perris, California
Coordinates33°45′40″N 117°13′59″W / 33.7611°N 117.2331°W / 33.7611; -117.2331Coordinates: 33°45′40″N 117°13′59″W / 33.7611°N 117.2331°W / 33.7611; -117.2331
TypeRailroad museum
CollectionsElectric trains & trolleys, steam & diesel locomotives, passenger & freight cars, light rail vehicles, maintenance of way equipment

The Southern California Railway Museum (SCRM, reporting mark OERX[1]), formerly known as the Orange Empire Railway Museum, is a railroad museum in Perris, California, United States. It was founded in 1956 at Griffith Park in Los Angeles before moving to the former Pinacate Station as the "Orange Empire Trolley Museum"[2] in 1958.[3] It was renamed "Orange Empire Railway Museum" in 1975 after merging with a museum then known as the California Southern Railroad Museum, and adopted its current name in 2019.[4] 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 in 1961.[5]

Two early Los Angeles 3 ft 6 in (1,067 mm) narrow gauge streetcars from the Los Angeles Railway or standard gauge streetcars from the Pacific Electric Railway run each weekend on the one-half-mile (0.8 km) long, dual gauge (1,435 mm (4 ft 8+12 in) and 3 ft 6 in (1,067 mm) narrow gauge) Loop Line. A passenger-carrying steam, diesel or electric powered freight train with open gondolas fitted with benches and at least two cabooses runs on the 1.5-mile (2.4 km) long, standard gauge mainline that was once a part of the transcontinental main line of the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway (to San Diego). Its main line stretches from south of the museum northward towards the junction with the BNSF Railway, where the historic Perris Depot on State Route 74 stands. The BNSF Railway spur is in active use, but the museum track onto the spur is currently severed due to Metrolink service, meaning that no museum trains can access the Perris Depot. 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 weekend, September through May, certain special events and major holidays.

Parking and admission to the museum are free except for special events. Tickets must be purchased to ride on the museum railway. Tickets are good for the day on all operating equipment on the line, including the streetcar loop.

Tours of the grounds, static exhibits and shops can be self-guided or with a docent. A picnic area is located near the main entrance as is an interactive railroad "signal garden."

Interactive 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

Light rail vehicles

Shop and maintenance facilities

In addition to the museum's railroad equipment exhibits, its shops hold a historic collection of industrial machine tools and hand tools. One of these is a sheet-metal shear, which was made by Parker Manufacturing Company, a machine shop in Santa Monica, CA. The company needed a shear, but backlogs in the World War II years meant a two-year waiting list to obtain one. So, the small company decided to design and make its own shear. It was made entirely of steel plate (no castings) due to backlogs in foundries. The design was successful, and desired by other shops needing machine tools. Soon, the local company was in the shear manufacturing business. The museum puts this unique shear to use in its Car house 4.[15]

Other shop and maintenance facilities at the museum include:


See also


  1. ^ Railinc, Search MARKs, accessed July 2019
  2. ^ "Unknown title". The Emblem. Los Angeles Metropolitan Transit Authority. 5 (4): 5. February 1963.
  3. ^ Young, Andrew D. (1997). Veteran & Vintage Transit. St. Louis, Missouri (US): Archway Publishing. p. 15. ISBN 0-9647279-2-7.
  4. ^ Rhodes, Diane A. (April 7, 2019). "Perris railway museum rolls into future with new name, logo: The 64-year-old venue is now the Southern California Railway Museum". The Press-Enterprise. Riverside, California. Archived from the original on April 8, 2019. Retrieved August 17, 2020.
  5. ^ Bernal, Victoria (2022-03-18). "Where to Find Remnants of L.A.'s Red Car System". KCET. Retrieved 2022-08-22.
  6. ^ Broggie, Michael. Walt Disney's Railroad Story: The Small-Scale Fascination that Led to a Full-Scale Kingdom, pp. 52-9, 31-70, 81-2, 150, 2nd Ed., The Donning Company Publishers, Virginia Beach, Virginia, 2006. ISBN 1-57864-309-0.
  7. ^ Surviving Steam Locomotive Search
  8. ^ a b c Eades, Mark (July 28, 2017). "Disneyland's River Rides and Railroad Open to the Public with New Route". Orange County Register. Archived from the original on July 28, 2017. Retrieved July 29, 2017.
  9. ^ Amendola (2015), p. 133.
  10. ^ Colton, Roger (March 24, 2017). "Ward Kimball Fans Take Note – Special Event Sunday, March 26th". MiceChat. Archived from the original on July 15, 2017. Retrieved April 2, 2018.
  11. ^ Lustig, David (2021-11-17). "Top preserved diesel locomotives we're glad were saved". Trains. Retrieved 2022-08-22.
  12. ^ a b Busse, Dave (2018-10-08). "Santa Fe 'Warbonnet' FP45 comes alive in California | Trains Magazine". Trains. Retrieved 2022-08-22.
  13. ^ "Shirley Temple Inaugurates New Los Angeles Streetcar".
  14. ^ "Southern California Railroad Museum adds ATSF bicentennial SD45-2 to collection". Trains. 2021-10-06. Retrieved 2021-10-06.((cite web)): CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  15. ^ "Santa Monica's New Power Shear," Western Machinery and Steel World, October 1946, Vol. 37, No. 10, pp. 108-109, San Francisco, CA.