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Orange Empire Railway Museum
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2015-04-04  
2013-04-27  
mini location map2013-04-27
60 by photographer avatarrwstorm
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Orange Empire Railway MuseumBig Bear - Jacinto, CA
Big Bear - Jacinto, CA
Walk / Tour avatar Apr 27 2013
rwstorm
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This trip to California was to visit a couple of railway museums and ride the rails. I had to do this over a weekend, as that is the only time these museums have trains in action. I knew this would probably make it difficult getting a camp spot the second night (which it did), but I wasn't too worried about it. Drove over to Hemet Friday, where I had a room booked at the Quality Inn (good motel). The Orange Empire Railway Museum is at nearby Perris, so I was set for my Saturday visit. Sunday the destination was the Pacific Southwest Railway Museum down near the Mexican Border at Campo. Both museums have been on my radar since the 1970's, so it was good to finally see them firsthand! :) Actually, I have stopped at the one in Campo for photos before, but it was closed that day.

The Perris operation is quite large and its primary focus is electric traction (interurbans & streetcars), which is actually my first love with steam second. So I was a real happy camper to be hanging out at this place with its collection of equipment paying homage to those once great Los Angeles area electric lines! :D This museum is a bargain; you can walk around the grounds for free, and when trains are running $12 gets you an all day ride ticket. 8) Various equipment is rotated through the operational schedule on the weekends. For my visit they had a 1937 Los Angeles Electric PCC streetcar operating on the inner loop around the grounds. I had hoped to get to ride on one of the Pacific Electric's big red cars, so guess I'll have to go back there again (somebody twist my arm)! The mainline train featured something really special however: San Diego & Arizona Eastern Combine car #175. Oh boy, now you're talking! I didn't know anything about this car until I saw it there, but whoa, it was a part of the very first trains that went through Carrizo Gorge, when the Impossible Railroad was finally completed in 1919! :y: There was another passenger car on the short train that day, but you KNOW the one I rode in! They sometimes use a steam engine to pull the weekend trains, but usually it is an electric (as was the case the day I visited).

There is a large picnic area on the grounds for special events, etc. The place was packed with a gathering of Union Pacific employees and friends. What a great museum!

After walking the grounds and looking around the car barns, I rode the trains, then hit the gift shop before heading south toward Palomar Mountain (and ultimately beyond) with a smile on my face! :D

Info on SD&AE #175:
http://www.sdrm.org/history/reports/report-247.pdf
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