Orange Empire Railway Museum: Trains & Trolleys from California’s Past

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This is another one of the places I literally stumbled on. I was just browsing the internet for things that were close to me and I saw this. I figured I had some time to kill so I would give it a try. I am really glad that I did and I can’t imagine why more people haven’t taken advantage of such a great place to visit in the Inland Empire, hopefully this blog will change it as the Orange Empire Railway Museum is great for train lovers, history buffs and everyone inbetween.

Vintage Trains

Getting There and Cost

The Orange Empire Railway Museum is located off the 215 freeway in the town of Perris (not the one with the Eifel Tower). About 10 minutes off of the freeway (there are signs for it when you get off) you will find yourself at the parking lot for the museum. I swore I was lost once or twice as the town is slightly confusing but I made it. Also, this museum is completely free. You can park and see all of the trains without spending any money. The station does accept donations though and if you want to actually ride the trains around the track that they have built it costs $12 for all you can ride all day when I was there.

Train Museum 21

The Trains

The trains from this museum are all from throughout California’s history. This place is dripping with nostalgia and it is really crazy how many different pieces they have collected. They had at least three huge hangers full of trains when I was there, ranging from sleeping cars and mail delivery cars to old trolleys from Los Angeles. You can just walk through the hangers and take a trip back through history.

Train Museum 12

Train Museum 16

One of the most unique things about this place was all of the advertisements and signs that they had in the train cars that had remained since when the trains were in use. I have another whole blog dedicated to the signs, but the advertisements were kept perfectly intact, and just seeing them alone was completely awesome as it felt as if you had been transported back in time.

Train Museum 3

I spent a good 2 hours just walking around and looking at the trains. Be warned you will do a lot of walking, as the museum itself is huge and they have to accommodate for a lot of trains. There is both inside and outside exhibits.

Train Museum 8

There were also a lot of volunteers working on the trains and just walking around telling people about them. It was great to have this as I didn’t know a lot about many of the different trains so having an expert there made it even more real and it was cool to see the trains they were restoring.

Old Vintage Trains

My favorite trains were the old mail car and the Hollywood trolley with its old vintage sign on the front.

Old Mail Train

Inside an old Mail Train

They also have an old graveyard of the signs that have been used to signal the trains over the years, many of which you can interact with by pushing a button.

Train Museum 6

For kids they have a lot of stuff to explore and even a big playground. It is a great place for the whole family. One of the ticket events in the fall that I was saw was a day with Thomas the Train so if you have a child that likes that I imagine this would be a huge hit.

Thomas the Train ad

I cannot recommend the Orange Empire Railway Museum more. It is completely free, has tons of history you can interact with and climb around on, and even has people there that know what they are talking about. It is a great museum for the whole family, so make sure you add it to your list. You can see pictures, get directions and leave a comment below.

Photo Gallery

 

Get Directions

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  • http://goexplorenature.com Debi

    I happen to have two young train lovers who would dig this place. I’d heard about it, but wasn’t sure it was worth the drive from L.A. Looks like we just might have to check it out. Thanks for sharing all the great photos.

    • http://californiathroughmylens.com JoshMc

      Debi, It really is an awesome place. You can walk through like 80% of the trains and there is a ton to explore!

  • kim

    I just can’t thank you enough for your blog and sharing your adventures! I never knew there are so much to do in So Cal. Now the family and I can be busy all year long thanks to you!

    • http://californiathroughmylens.com/ Josh

      No problem! That is why I started the blog, so that others would know all the unique stuff Cali has to offer!

  • ASHZ

    Thank you so much for posting all your adventures! After stumbling upon your page, it really made me realize how many great things there are to experience, and just in our own backyards!

    • http://californiathroughmylens.com/ Josh

      No problem! Glad you enjoy the site!

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