Foto Friday: Orange Empire Railway Museum

As photos are piling up quickly from our family’s recent adventures, what better excuse than a Foto Friday for me to put up a few pictures for your viewing enjoyment. Today’s destination: The Orange Empire Railway Museum (OERM).

The Orange Empire Railway Museum in Perris, CA, is open 9 a.m.-to-5 p.m. most days year-round and admission is free. Train rides run Saturdays and Sundays for an additional cost per rider.

The Orange Empire Railway Museum in Perris, CA, is open 9 a.m.-to-5 p.m. most days year-round and admission is free. Train rides run Saturdays and Sundays for an additional cost per rider.

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Information about the exact Pacific Electric Red Car (AKA, “Blimp”) we rode during our visit to the Orange Empire Railway Museum. One of the original purposes of OERM was to provide a location for Red Car preservation just as its service was coming to a close in the early 1960s (the museum was founded in 1956 at the current Travel Town museum site in Griffith Park, Los Angeles, and relocated to Perris in 1958). You can read more about Red Car history on OERM’s website at: http://www.oerm.org/collection/red-cars-pacific-electric

T and JoePa in front of one of several of the original Pacific Electric "Red Cars" located at the Orange Empire Railway Museum.

T and JoePa in front of one of several of the original Pacific Electric Red Cars on display (and sometimes in service) at the Orange Empire Railway Museum.

T getting on board an old "Blimp" PE Red Car at the Orange Empire Railway Museum.

T hopped on board an old “Blimp” PE Red Car at the Orange Empire Railway Museum.

C, T, my dad (AKA T’s “JoePa”), and I visited OERM on the Saturday of the Smithsonian Magazine’s Museum Day Live! 2013. We were going out for a visit with my dad and T’s Memaw already, so we asked my dad to meet us here first for some train-tastic fun!

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It's the goal of Orange Empire Railway Museum to restore the train station you see there down the line. Part of Metrolink's long-term plans is to extend their rail service through this area, which could mean a potential link up with the museum's line at that station.

Per the docent aboard our Red Car tour, it’s rumored that one of Metrolink’s long-term plans is to extend service through this area, which could mean a potential link up with the museum’s rail line via that station. If that were to happen, OERM may look into restoring this old Perris train station (down the line in the distance) so that the Metrolink line and OERM rail line could transfer to each other, creating another way for visitors to get to the museum. The station actually sits on OERM’s “right of way” but the trains currently do not run down to the station due to the city’s existing street traffic restrictions and regulations that require signal updates and other improvements, which are cost-prohibitive at this time.

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Old fare box aboard the PE Red Car.

Old fare box aboard the PE Red Car. The rolling stock at Orange Empire Railway Museum are like  museums in motion all by themselves, with signage placed near any point of interest aboard the engines, cars, and cabooses.

We had a wonderful morning together riding the trains and walking the grounds of OERM. While we didn’t get any tours inside of the train barns during this visit (and probably won’t do that until T is a wee bit older), we definitely got our fill of train rides and at a great price. While admission to OERM is always free, on the day of the Smithsonian event, the museum decided to give everyone a 2-for-1 on all train rides. At $12 per adult rider and $8 for T, that saved us $20! So, yeah, we rode the trains, and we rode them for a long, long time (about two hours to be exact).

Another collection of old Los Angeles streetcars at the Orange Empire Railway Museum are the "Yellow Cars." These were in service throughout Los Angeles mostly from the 1930s through the late 1950s. You can read more about the history of the LA Railway's Yellow Cars here: http://www.oerm.org/collection/yellow-cars-la-railway .

Another collection of old Los Angeles streetcars at the Orange Empire Railway Museum are the “Yellow Cars.” These were in their peak of service throughout Los Angeles from the 1930s through the late 1950s. You can read more about the history of the LA Railway Yellow Cars here: http://www.oerm.org/collection/yellow-cars-la-railway

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Yes, T wanted to help drive the Yellow Car. Not today or any other, T, sorry. Have a seat, please!

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T looks out as we depart Pinacate Station, named for the former Townsite that settled here just before 1882 when the California Southern Railroad built through the area.

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T riding on the Yellow Car during our brief tour around the grounds, buildings, and train yards at the Orange Empire Railway Museum.

After wrapping up our visit at OERM, C proclaimed that T’s now ridden aboard trains in both Paris and Perris. That’s some world-class train ridin’ right there, RMT’ers.

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T climbed up atop this lookout area inside one of the cabooses he rode in during one of many of our train rides on a visit to Orange Empire Railway Museum.

T climbed up atop this lookout area inside one of the cabooses he rode in during one of many of our train rides on a visit to the Orange Empire Railway Museum. The caboose was the “office of the train” back in the day and a safety hub for the entire train and its crew. It was a place where records were kept, bills paid, logistics managed, and other items stored long before such items were computerized or relocated to the engine of the train. This upper seat was where a safety worker would sit and be on watch for traffic farther down the tracks than the engineer could see to, which was long before cell phones and other forecasting or other communicating technologies came into use.

The boys up top in the caboose!

The boys up top in the caboose!

View from a caboose!

View from a caboose! That other car in the way ahead of ours is another caboose and why it’s so tall also.

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The Orange Empire Railway Museum (OERM) is on a 25+-acre property at 2201 S. “A” Street, Perris, CA, 92570 (read here for more of the land and museum’s 55+-year history). While fall events at OERM are close to if not all wrapped up for the season, coming up next month are some of the museum’s most anticipated and attended kids’ events of the entire year: Day Out With Thomas. This year’s runs depart OERM the weekends of November 9-11 (Saturday through the Monday Veteran’s Day holiday) and November 16-17 (Saturday-Sunday). To purchase tickets for one of the 25-minute Day Out With Thomas train rides at OERM, click here. For other upcoming Day Out With Thomas 2013 events in other areas, click here.

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