Pacific Electric Red Car Photo

Orange Empire Railway Museum - Perris California



Pacific Electric Train - Red Car in Perris, California

Perris California is located in a semi-desert region of Southern California. Located in one of the fast growing areas of the populated L.A. region, Perris contains a fair amount brown landscaping, some fresh, new plantings, new housing and veiws of some rolling hills and mountains that separate the region from the Palm Desert. Among Perris gems is the best local collection of railroad memorabilia and railroad cars. If youu're heading to places such as Idyllwild, Hemet or Temecula where the Pechanga Resort Casino and wine tasting reside, make a short detour to the Perris to see the Orange Empire Railway Museum. Orange Empire Railway Museum, 2201 S. "A" St.,  Perris, California. Parking is always free. Call: (951) 943-3020.

Orange Empire Railway Museum features a spectacular collection of rail cars, retired trains and memorabilia such as tickets, posters and signs in the West's largest collection in one location. Dating from the 1870's, the museum offers one of the best values in museum visits with admission and parking free! For a small fee you can ride several of the train cars around the expansive grounds on weekends, a real treat for families, children and adults.

Pinacate Station Museum Store and the Museum grounds that are open daily from around 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. offer some of the neatest gifts for train buffs and children, too!  

A study of the Orange Empire Railway Museum offers a glimpse into a very convenient time in which Los Angeles had an extensive rail and commuter train system. Unlike today, city dwellers could get on a train and go to the beach. The "Red Car", a Pacific Electric car popular in Los Angeles at one time, is shown above. Many of these trains were actually dumped into the Pacific Ocean when the car craze introduced consumers to the concept of private vehicle transportation that would offer freedom to go when and where you wished.

A few of the Red Cars were saved, including one in Seal Beach, California that's now a Red Car Museum.

About the train above: Pacific Electric "Blimp" 418 was built in 1913 by the Pullman Car Co. It's length is 74 ft.4in. and weight is 125,660 pounds. This car was built for the Oakland, Alameda and Berkeley Lines, an electrified commuter railroad in the San Francisco Bay area. It was later transferred to the Interurban Electric Railway, and operated across the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge from 1939 until 1941. The tracks over the bridge were shared with trains of the competing Key System Transit Lines (including Bridge Unit 167, also preserved at the Perris Railway Museum.

When America entered World War II in 1941, the U.S. maritime Commission requisitioned 81 IER cars, including this one, for its Shipyard Railway. The line served the Calship Shipyard on Terminal Island, connecting PE's Long Beach/San Pedro line. PE ultimately purchased the care, and after the war it was remodeled into its current configuration. The "Blimps" as the came to be known, operated on PE's Southern District lines out of Downtown L.A. The 418 was retired in 1961.