Saturday, August 24, 2013

They aren't all gone...

If you've been to Disneyland's California Adventure park, you may have seen or ridden the "Red Car" trolley. These cars (though much smaller in scale) were literally modeled after the famous Red Car trolleys of the 1950's that traveled from Los Angeles proper into outlying areas as far east as Redlands, CA.

The Disney Imagineers took time to travel back in time, by paying several visits to the Orange Empire Railway Museum in Perris, CA. which has in it's collection several original and restored Red Cars.

I recently traveled there myself, with my wife, daughter and some close friends.
There is easily more than a single days worth of things to see and experience. I am going to share a little bit with you today.

3100. Perris, CA. ©Mike Vega 2013
Minolta Hi-Matic 100asa B/W 35mm film

The car above is typical of what would have traveled the streets of Los Angeles, from Eagle Rock to Inglewood and everywhere in between in the 1950's. When buses arrived, their look mimicked the trolleys.

This wonderful facility was the brainchild of a group of highly industrious teen-agers, who in the 1960's, had the foresight and presence of mind to raise funds and begin collecting trolleys and rail cars that were becoming obsolete thanks to increased private car ownership and buses taking on mass transit duties.

The L.A.R. "barn" houses several vintage restored trolleys. ©Mike Vega 2013
Minolta Hi-Matic 100asa B/W 35mm film

The founders began by storing their collection in Los Angeles by starting the Travel Town Rail Museum, which is still in operation today and houses an amazing steam engine collection.
When space became an issue, land was acquired in Perris, and became the Orange Empire facility.

1920's Pullman car. ©Mike Vega 2013
1950 Tower 120 Kodak Ektar 100asa Color film.

In addition to the trolleys, the collection includes steam locomotives, Pullman cars, narrow gauge trains and cars, push-cars, vintage signage, and on and on...

2564 patiently awaits funds for restoration. ©Mike Vega 2013
Minolta Hi-Matic 100asa B/W 35mm film.

The O.E.R.M. grounds are expansive and all of the work, restoration, gift shop staff, docents, maintenance etc. is done by volunteers. It is indeed a labour of love. There is an on site metal shop, wood shop, paint area, steam engine barn and more.

The love that the volunteers have for these wonderful machines from a by-gone era is contagious. I can hardly wait to go back!

Maybe i'll see ya' there!


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