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Orange Empire Railway Museum, Perris

#213 of 846 in Museums in California
Must see · Specialty Museum · Museum
The Orange Empire Railway Museum is home to over 200 historic railway cars and locomotives from Los Angeles and the West. The museum’s 90-acre site in Perris, California is open to the public 363 days a year. Railway trains operate every weekend. The museum's mission is to educate the public about railway transportation history of Southern California and the West. We fulfill this mission by helping to support the restoration, operation, and interpretation of the historic railroad equipment at the Orange Empire Railway Museum.

Orange Empire Railway Museum operates a Museum Railway where visitors can ride on the historic trains and trolleys that helped shape the Southern California we know today.

The Museum Railway operates every weekend and on most major holidays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., and also on weekdays for charters and other special events. The Museum grounds are open every day from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. with the exception of Thanksgiving and Christmas.

On a typical weekend (other than during special events), two city streetcars are running on the half-mile dual-gauge Loop Line, and another train is operating on the 1.5 mile standard gauge Mainline. The northern end of the Museum Railway is presently at 7th Street, although during certain special events trains operate all the way to the historic 1892 Perris Depot at 4th Street. Future plans call for regular operations to be extended to 4th Street as the depot area is rebuilt into the new Metrolink station and transit center.

In addition to the streetcars on the Loop Line, a Pacific Electric interurban or city streetcar also operates on the Mainline on selected weekends. The Mainline train is usually an electrically or diesel powered freight train (with a caboose to ride in if you wish), or consists of passenger train cars. Typically at the Orange Empire Railway Museum, you can experience riding in one of the early Los Angeles streetcars and a more modern PCC on the Loop Line, and ride in either a caboose (the cupola is very popular with the kids) or open gondola on the freight train. The cars and locomotives are selected on a rotating basis from our historic collection.

Steam locomotive operation at OERM is scheduled for the third weekend of the month between September and May (no steam operations during the summer) and during certain special events and major holidays. Check the calendar of events for further information. Unfortunately, we cannot guarantee the availability of any particular piece of equipment on any given day. Some equipment does not operate during rain.

While admission and parking for the Museum is free (except for selected special events – see calendar of events), a ticket must be purchased to ride on the Museum Railway. Your ticket is good for the entire day, for as many trips as you wish. Your fare goes directly towards meeting Museum operating expenses. On regular weekends, an all-day pass to ride the trains costs $12 for adults, $8 for children 5-11, free for kids under 5.

Charters are also available during the week. Bring a school group, or just a group of friends. Check the Charters page for more details. We also offer a Birthday Caboose for parties, and you can even operate one of our historic locomotives as part of the Run One program.

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Orange Empire Railway Museum reviews

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TripAdvisor traveler rating 4.5
109 reviews
  • Located at the far end of Perris, California one will find the Orange Empire Railway Museum (Aka: Southern California Railway Museum) This is the largest train museum and education center of its kind....  more »
  • Southern California Railway Museum located in Perris,California is the largest train,rail car museum and education center of its kind west of The Mississippi! The family friendly museum features lots....  more »
  • Wonderful connection of trains. Fun for kids. And it's free. Free. You pay for a year ticket if you want to ride a train, but admission to the museum is free. This is a great little place to come with kids, but the family, or just for a picnic. Very nicely maintained grass and grounds. Some of the trains are very fun anr interesting. I liked the cable cars. Some of the exhibits are definitely a little beat and can use some maintenance. But what do you want for free. I am looking forward to coming back for the pumpkin patch and Christmas. The weekends are in especially good time to come. The docents are very happy to explain, are very kind, and are enjoy to be around.
  • Exhibit availability is unpredictable. One visit yields discoveries of fun and unique things and a lot of fun. The very next week, nothing is running and all depots are closed. Hit and miss. Becoming a member and going several times is the best way to explore the museum.

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