Collection Highlights

OERM Archives  
Walter Abbenseth Collection

Mr. Abbenseth was a pioneer in the preservation of PE railcars. The collection contains over 10,000 images of the Pacific Electric (PE), a group of PE dash signs, roller (head) signs, and a large collection of 8 and 16 mm movies. 

Carroll Allen Wreck Train Photographs

Collection of Southern Pacific (SP) wreck photographs taken by Carroll Allen during his career working on an SP wreck outfit. The Museum also preserves an SP wreck derrick and relief tender. 

Bakersfield & Kern Electric Railway

Collection of company ledger books and other records. The Museum also preserves B&K trolley No. 4 

Bradford Collection

Large collection of B&W contact prints and enlargements of the PE and LA Railway 1938-1945. 

Ray Ballash Collection

Large collection of B&W negatives of PE, LA Railway, OERM and other Southern California railway subjects, taken by OERM founding member Ray Ballash. 

Harold Cousins Collection

Comprehensive collection of early 1900s railroad-subject postcards and railroad passes. 

Alvin Chuman Railway Mail Service Collection

Photographs, correspondence, belongings associated with Mr. Chuman's career with the Railway Mail Service. 

Homer Douglas Collection

Large collection of PE and SP rulebooks, instructions, books, tools and other belongings associated with Mr. Douglas' career with the PE and SP. 

Bill Everett Model Collection

Over 300 O-scale electric railway models, covering PE, LARy and other California and Western US electric railways. The majority were scratch built by Mr. Everett. An initial group of 100 models are now on display in the Middleton Museum at OERM. Click here for a You Tube video of Bill and his home layout. 

Guy Fess Collection

Album of PE company publicity photographs, including many Mt. Lowe photographs. Mr. Fess worked for PE at Mt. Lowe. 

Jerry Graham Collection

Collection of PE and LA Railway photographs, including many company views. Mr. Graham also left the Museum a large collection of streetcar hardware, signage and other useful parts and memorabilia. 

Chuck Hinrichsen Collection

Collection of employee's tools of the trade belonging to Chuck Hinrichsen, LATL and PE motorman and conductor. 

Jesse Harp Collection

Collection of PE memorabilia and employee's tools and rule books belonging to Jesse Harp, PE motorman and conductor 

Lazear Israel Collection

Large collection of PE and LARy B&W prints, largely purchased from famed rail photographer Andy Payne, as well as a large number of 35mm B&W negatives shot by Lazear. Also includes a number of tariffs and other operations related publications. 

Daryl Knapp Collection

Approximately 14,000 color transparencies of California and Nevada railroads, with emphasis on structures, rights-of-way and vintage equipment that survived into the 1970s-80s. Detailed records of the equipment at OERM that Mr. Knapp helped preserve. Also includes ledger books of the California Southern Railroad 1885-1886, and a large collection of early 1900s railway paperwork. Also photographs, maps and railroad ephemera. 

Ward Kimball Collection

Large collection of railroad photographs, catalogs, textbooks and other paper items from Ward Kimball (see also the Grizzly Flats page). Also miscellaneous blueprints, pounce patterns, drawings, and Central Pacific/SP folio sheets. An original 1892 book in Ward's collection was the source for the OERM "Railway Car Construction" reprint. 

Los Angeles Railway Track Maps and Surveyor's Record Books

A large collection of track record maps and surveyor's record books from the famed "Yellow Car" system of the Los Angeles Railway. 

Evan Middleton Toy Train & Americana Collection

Long a fixture at OERM, this extensive collection of toy trains, railroadiana, hardware and general Americana is housed in two historic Rio Grande baggage cars. In addition to Evan's unique collection, the Harvey Girl's Society has an exhibit here. Click here for the Middleton Museum of Toy Trains & Americana 

John McFadden Collection

Mr. McFadden worked for the PE, although he was perhaps best known for leading an attempt to purchase the abandoned Yosemite Valley Railroad at age 18 The collection includes PE track maps and various reports from the PE Research Department, as well as Tonopah & Tidewater Railroad maps. Also includes a large group of Pennsylvania RR and other railroad company calendars. The original for the Pacific Electric Corporate History reprint came from this collection. 

Pacific Electric Railway Track Maps

A large and varied collection of track maps from throughout the Pacific Electric system, acquired by the Museum from several sources over the years. Also includes several dozen Clark / Sherman Land Company maps detailing various early rail routes. 

Pacific Electric San Pedro Depot Blueprints

Blueprints for PE's classic depot in San Pedro, constructed in 1920. 

Pacific Electric Torrance Shops Drawings

A large collection of plans and blueprints detailing the PE's massive shop complex in Torrance California, constructed beginning in 1917. 

Southern Pacific Track Maps

A large collection of trackage maps illustrating various western divisions. 

Harold Stewart Collection

Harold Stewart worked for the Pacific Electric as a young man in the Research Department and went on to become a motorman. After PE ended passenger service he worked as a locomotive engineer for parent company Southern Pacific. He often had his camera with him, and over the years captured hundreds of classic scenes of the Pacific Electric, and later Southern Pacific, at work. Working through longtime friend Stan Kistler, he left the Museum a large collection of slides, photographs and paperwork relating to the Pacific Electric. 

Allan Styffe Collection

Approximately 50,000 railway images, including a large number of original color transparencies of Southern California railways. Author Allen Copeland made extensive use of the Styffe Collection for his color book "California Trolleys Volume I". Mr. Styffe's views are also seen frequently in the annual Red Cars / Yellow Cars color calendar. 

Visalia Electric Railway

Collection of track maps and company records from this SP-owned electric railway operation in Northern California. The Museum also preserves two former Visalia Electric railcars. 

Jack Simcoe Smith Collection

Large collection of PE conductor's items belonging to Jack Simcoe Smith, the "Singing Conductor". 

Patrick Underwood Collection

Pat Underwood was one of OERM's founding members. In 2008 he donated a large collection of Pacific Electric track and right-of-way maps. These materials make the perfect complement to (and in some cases even duplicate) the materials in the ERHA-SC / Ray Younghans Collection. 

Jerome Weirich Collection

Collection of PE memorabilia and employee tools belonging to Jerome Weirich, PE motorman and conductor 

ERHA-SC / Raymond E. Younghans Collection

A large group of LA Railway and PE plans, paperwork, photographs, ephemeral items, hardware and other objects collected by the late Ray Younghans of Los Angeles. Ray was well known for his private "museum" in the Cypress Park neighborhood, featuring a LARy streetcar in the backyard and a house and garage filled with artifacts from the electric railway era in Los Angeles. Ray was also a talented draftsman, and his hand-drawn track and equipment drawings were found throughout Ira Swett's famous "Interurbans Specials" documenting the LARy and PE systems. Ray passed away in 1999 at the age of 78.

The collection came to the ERHA-SC in 2001, and had been in storage at various locations in the LA area since that time. In the interest of getting the collection inventoried and made available for display and use, the ERHA-SC moved the collection to OERM in January 2007. Click here for more details (pdf file). 

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Museum News

June 24, 2014 - 05:18
All aboard! Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends are once again chugging into the Orange Empire Railway Museum for five days in November. Discounted ($2 off) tickets are on sale through September 1...
May 27, 2014 - 17:16
Ride into the past June 14-15 on the Big Red Cars of the Pacific Electric Railway, once America's largest interurban electric railway system, blanketing the Los Angeles region with...