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The Southern California Railway Museum, Antique Truck Show,

Trains, Trucks and Teslas
The Southern California Railway Museum,  Antique Truck Show, 

Perris, California, May 6, 2023

Photos and Report by Carl Morrison,

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When the Southern California Railway Museum (formerly Orange Empire Railway Museum) in Perris, California, announced its Antique Truck Show on May 6, 2023, I decided that it would be a good place for a Tesla Road Trip from our home in Placentia, Orange County, California.  Even though I have plenty of range for a round trip in our Model 3 Tesla, I did stop for a photo of the Lake Elsinore Outlet Mall's Tesla Superchargers at the junction of Hwy 74 and I-15.  I remembered that my good friend, Don Drummer, RIP, would have been an excellent person to ride shotgun on this trip since he liked to model both trains and antique trucks.


Map of the Southern California Railway Museum.

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Museum Grounds – 9:00AM – 5:00PM
Museum Store – Open 9:00AM – 4:30PM
Weekend Train & Trolley Operations – 11:00AM – 4:00PM (Saturday & Sunday)
2201 S. “A” Street, Perris CA 92570

SCRM's promo of the day:

The past will roar to life at the Antique Truck Show. Presented in conjunction with the American Truck Historical Society Southern California Chapter.

Presented in conjunction with the American Truck Historical Society Southern California Chapter, this one-day special event features hundreds of restored, vintage trucks — from semis to pickups to delivery vehicles and farm and fire equipment – in addition to our rolling locomotives and street cars. An incredible variety of antique transportation equipment will be on display for your viewing enjoyment. Photo opportunities abound as the trucks and trains pose together!   


What was it that caused fourteen young members of the SC/ERA, the Southern California Division Of The Electric Railroaders’ Association, to step forward in the early 1950s and focus on the preservation of electric rail interurbans and streetcars for the purpose of eventually creating an operating museum? In a sentence, “their world was slipping away”. The SC/ERA was formed in 1950 to give organizational form to rail fans who were primarily interested in red cars and yellow cars of the local transit operations.

Buses were replacing Red Car and Yellow Car lines. Before long red cars were stacked four high at National Metal and Steel’s scrap yard on Terminal Island along with rows of yellow cars. The last of the “Last Runs” were playing out. It was time for the equipment preservation conscious members of SC/ERA to form a separate organization with the purpose of establishing an operating trolley museum. Fourteen members of SC/ERA gathered in the home of Ronald Longworth on the evening of March 23rd, 1956 to discuss such an organization. At that meeting they chose the name Orange Empire Traction Company, adapting the name of an early Pacific Electric excursion through the inland empire of San Bernardino, Redlands and Riverside. At the first meeting, Pat Underwood was elected president, Jim Walker was selected as secretary and Dick Burns became treasurer.

On June 10th, 1956, at the home of Jim Walker in Lynwood, the group adopted articles of incorporation. Three members who were at least 21 years old and thereby eligible to sign a legal document signed the document. Those members were Richard H. Burns, Norman K. Johnson and Patrick L. Underwood. The signatures were notarized by Jim’s father, Jim Walker, Sr.

A little over a month later, on July 20th, 1956, the State of California granted a charter of incorporation as a non-profit educational organization to the Orange Empire Traction Company. It was granted corporation number 324213. The museum was officially in business.

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Southern California Railway Museum

SCRM Logo.png

Former name    Orange Empire Railway Museum
Established    1956
Location    2201 S. "A" St.
Perris, California
Coordinates    33.7611°N 117.2331°WCoordinates: 33.7611°N 117.2331°W
Type    Railroad museum
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.
     From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia   
My transportation to the museum in front of the entrance upon arrival

 southern-pacific-lines-1006 - SP 1006
Having arrived at opening at 9 a.m., I was able to photograph volunteers preparing equipment for rides for museum attendees.

Upon arrival at the Orange Empire Trolley Museum, 717 continued to operate for museum visitors. Eventually, 717 was chosen to be maintained as an operating piece, while the other 600 class cars were sidelined. All the  cars acquired from LAMTA were quite worn out and in need of much mechanical repair. In the 1960’s, 717 was painted in the “Valley Seven” colors of red and cream. The cars ran regularly into the late 1990’s when 717 was in need of major mechanical repairs from decades of continuous service. A full restoration was performed.  717 again in regular service at the Southern California Railway Museum.  While mechanically still a 5050 class car, the car has been painted to the original red color scheme the car wore in the 1920’s.

Generous donations to the museum Red Car Fund keep cars like 717 running and facilitates restoration of the other red cars for future generations to enjoy.


Since the vehicles in the show were vintage, as were the museum's rolling stock, it was my intention to get some monochrome shots.

I enjoyed the interactive signal display of railroad signals.

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A favorite permanent  display building of mine is the Grizzly Flats Railroad building.

We have a grand daughter named Chloe, so no wonder I like this narrow gauge engine.

Grizzly Flats Railroad 1 "Chloe"  0-4-2RT Switcher     Baldwin     1907
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"Esmeralda" was being restored in the Grizzly Flats Railroad building.
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10     Business Car     V&T (Virginia and Truckee)    1896     Wood     Esmerelda

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2     2-6-0 Mogul     Baldwin     1881         Emma Nevada- GFRR
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Above, my photo of Nevada Central 107
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Nevada Central 107

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Also in the Grizzly Flats narrow gauge Building was Volunteer Rey working on his model trolley.  He had build the body and a friend built the running gear.

North of the Grizzly Flats Railroad building, I found an old friend who I had photographed before, No. 2564.

Union Pacific 2-8-2 Mikado No. 2564

Built by Alco in 1921, this locomotive worked most of her life on UP's subsidiary the Oregon Short Line. She ended up on display in a park in Oro Grande. In 1996, when the park modernized and had no place for an old steam loco, the OERM acquired her.

On this day, with all the antique trucks parked within the museum grounds the trolleys were not running, but the passenger train would run north and back starting on the hour at 11 and the Hollywood Car would also run that route on the half hour.  I made my way through the antique trucks back to the platform for rides on both the passenger train and trolley.

Before 11 a.m. is a good time to get more shots of the rolling stock and eventually a ride on both.

Click the photo above to play a video of the trolley arriving back at the museum,
If it does not play, click:

Notice the centenary wires above the right of way:  A centenary system uses an overhead wire to supply electricity to vehicles such as light rail trains and streetcars. Catenary systems are an alternative to third rail systems for electrified transit. They are primarily used for overground transit.

Waiting for departure time for a short excursion ride.  Click the photo above for a black and white copy.  Which do you like the best?

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The front window was open, so I took a photo from the engineer's controls back through the trolley.

Name plate on the side of the car.

Cortland Doan, right, with son Chuck.  Cortland, 90+ years young, rode this type of "Hollywood Car" and smaller ones and the more modern ones  in the years that they ran in Los Angeles.

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My ride on the  trolley's first run of the day.

We had a full trolley on this first run, but Cameron, the operator, told extra folks that the locomotive and coaches would leave in a half hour.

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Cameron operated the trolley to the end of the tracks (above right), changed the power, went to the opposite end of the Red Car and operated it back to the Station.

Vintage signs above in the Red Car.


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Fare Box in the middle of the Hollywood Car.  Right, Waiting for the next run with connection ready to head north.

Passenger Excursion to the north end of the Museum's trackage and back.

1006     SW-1 Switcher     EMC     1939 – Circa 1986

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Click the photo above to play a video of No. 1006 moving in position to take coach passengers on an excursion.
If it does not play, click:

I boarded the first coach car and made this photo toward No. 1006 to show the large glass windows on its back side making it an easy view of couplings since it was originally a switcher.

Interior of the coach I rode on the diesel excursion.

Click the photo above to play a video of the passenger excursion leaving the main gate and proceeding north on the museum's tracks to the track's end..
If it does not play, click:

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374     Caboose     ACF     May, 1947     Steel     Bay Window


Click the photo above to play a video of the passenger excursion leaving with Cameron on the caboose.
If it does not play, click:

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More modern acquisitions of Electric Railways
 Left, San Diego Metropolitan Transit System 1008 looking south; Right, San Diego Metropolitan System 1003 looking north..

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The power in the cantinary that the Hollywood Car uses is sufficient to run these, but they get weak at the north end of the line. 
The newer San Diego cars will be most effective when new power station is added on the north end.

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I had gotten glimpses of this beautiful diesel locomotive so I found it on the southern most portion of the museum grounds.

Atchison, Topeka, & Santa Fe Railway 108.

Santa Fe 108, formerly Santa Fe 98 (BNSF 98), is a 1967 General Motors Electro-Motive Division FP45 diesel locomotive once owned by the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway and is today on permanent, operational display at the Southern California Railway Museum in Perris, California.

With its 3,600-horsepower (2,700 kW), 20-cylinder prime mover and six traction motors, the FP45 was intended for fast passenger service and is geared to run in excess of 90 miles per hour (140 km/h). It is especially notable as being the last passenger locomotive purchased by the railroad and was used on Santa Fe's finest passenger trains, including the Super Chief between Chicago and Los Angeles. Relegated to freight service in 1971 when passenger rail operations were transferred to Amtrak, 108's paint scheme was slightly altered to have the large red Santa Fe lettering. It continued regular revenue freight service until it was renumbered to 98 in the early 1990's and transferred to BNSF after the ATSF and BN merged in 1995. It kept its number and was used for BNSF Business trains, but was never put in regular service. It was donated to the Orange Empire Railway Museum by the Burlington Northern Santa Fe in 1999.

After its donation, 98 was put in occasional passenger excursion service until the mid-2000's, when it was used for demonstrations. It underwent an extensive restoration starting in late 2012 which was completed in late 2018. The completed restoration returned it to its as delivered external arrangement, including the original Santa Fe passenger paint scheme and renumbering back to ATSF #108.

Until December 2012, when restoration began, the locomotive was used in demonstration service at the museum and special excursions. It is now maintained in service-ready condition for demonstration service at the museum

No. 108 was temporarily tied down with a beautiful rural background and sky.

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With No. 108 not running, I could photograph it at different angles - eye level and camera on the rail.  I think the photo above right is more dramatic, do you?


The restored name plate confirms what wikipedia had written, with the addition of the class and serial number.


Their promo for the truck show was correct:  This one-day special event features hundreds of restored, vintage trucks — from semis to pickups to delivery vehicles and farm and fire equipment – in addition to our rolling locomotives and street cars. An incredible variety of antique transportation equipment will be on display for your viewing enjoyment. Photo opportunities abound as the trucks and trains pose together!

I was looking forward to "
Photo opportunities abound as the trucks and trains pose together!" and found only a few of those opportunities.

In the case of both vintage trucks and railcars in the same photo, I tried black and white treatment.

That is a piece of rail equipment in the background.



Early '50s Sedan Delivery, perhaps Pontiac, with similar era RR switcher in background.

I left the photo of this side of the Sedan Delivery in color because its color matched the coach across the way.

Another approach is to shoot the colorful vehicles in color

The vintage gentlemen has a clipboard indicating that he is a judge.  I liked him as a size indicator among the Kenworth and Mac giants.


This snub nose had vintage cannon replicas onboard.


This and less recognizable parts were in the Swap Meet section.

Some trucks were unrestored or projects that made for colorful HDR examples.




Added saturation makes a difference in the aged patina paint.



This Ford's color matched the building and bottle brush tree pretty closely.

Farm and Fire Vehicles

Farm and Fire Vehicles were advertised as being a division, but I only found a couple.

While photographing this John Deere B on a vintage flatbed truck, I spotted an Allis Chalmer cat behind it.

John Deere and Allis Chalmers


Nicely restored vintage firetruck.



The vintage pickup pulled in front of the fire truck made a nice color and monochrome.



I had mentioned that this was a nice road trip in our 2020 Tesla Model 3, and this report will be posted on as a Road Trip for local Tesla owners. 

2020 Tesla Model 3 in front of the Southern California Railway Museum at 2201 South A Street in Perris, California

Low and behold, as I repositioned my car, Santa Fe No. 108 passed by.

There is a convenient Tesla Supercharger with 20 cabinets (only 5 being used) conveniently located at the junction of I-15 and Hwy. 74 where you turn off I-15 to take 74 to Perris.

This is how Tesla Superchargers are listed on the in-car computer.

Aerial view (from my Tesla's screen) showing the location of the Tesla Supercharger as part of the Lake Elsinore Outlets Mall on the west side of I-15 at the Hwy. 74 turnoff.

There are other Tesla Superchargers near Perris if needed:  Menifee, Riverside, and Temecula.


The Southern California Railway Museum:
The Southern California Railway Museum Timeline:
Tesla Reports by Carl Morrison:
Train Reports by Carl Morrison:

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