|Orange Empire Railway Museum|
|Location||2201 S. "A" St.|
|Collections||Electric trains & trolleys, steam & diesel locomotives, passenger & freight cars, light rail vehicles, maintenance of way equipment|
The Southern California Railway Museum (SCRM, reporting mark OERX), 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" in 1958. 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. 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.
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+1⁄2 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."
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.
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.
Other shop and maintenance facilities at the museum include:
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