You might think its summer already with the warm temperature in Perris this afternoon as the sun beats down on an open field located south of downtown. Scattered sporadically throughout the acres of land here, which run between the Southern California Railway Museum's (SCRM) trackage and a neighborhood, are splashes of color in the form of 2-3 inch tall flowers. These small, colorful patches are living out their final days before the heat will likely kill them off, with many beginning the change from green to brown. Adding to the warmth shared both by the temperature and colors in this scene is Union Pacific No. 942, an E8(A) locomotive built by the Electro Motive Division (EMD) in May of 1953. Delivered to the UP that year, No. 942 was one of 17 units in an order placed by the UP for this series of passenger locomotives. Pulling notable trains such as the "City of Los Angeles" during her career with the UP, the unit was retired and sold to the Chicago & North Western Railroad in 1972 where it served in commuter service for 16 years until it was retired from active service in 1988.
Finding its way across the country from Chicago to West Colton, the 2,400 hp unit (upgraded from 2,250 hp when originally built), came into the hands of new ownership when the Orange Empire Railway Museum purchased the unit from a salvage yard in West Colton and moved the three-axled unit to its Perris museum grounds in 1997 where it has lived since. During No. 942's new lease on life at Perris, the unit has seen a plethora of mechanical and cosmetic work done to it, with the later resulting in the return of its original UP colors and decals.
Today, No. 942 is joined by Southern Pacific No. 3100, a General Electric (GE) U25B as the pair lead the last train of the day north off the museum grounds. While not unheard it, seeing a pair of operating locomotives from the diesel fleet of the SCRM MU'd together is rather unusual as the trains the museum runs can easily be handled by a single unit. On this particular weekend, however, the museum staff are enjoying the chance to run these two together to show the general public how MU'ing works and of course...to show off two of their finest, operating units.