The Pacific Railroad Society collections are used by railroad historians, hobbyists, documentarians, authors, and county historians. Television producers conduct research for documentaries, and railfans mine the archives for newsletter articles. The Library currently hosts a researcher working on a book about Southern Pacific Railroad.
The focus of the library is on the 2nd (or Pasadena) Sub-division of the Coast Division of the Santa Fe, the interurban operations of the Pacific Electric lines, and other rail activities relating to the Los Angeles basin. The library is a major archive of railroad photographs and negatives of trains from the transition from steam to diesel, including Santa Fe, Union Pacific, and Pacific Electric photographs.
The library houses collections of old and current topographic maps, old and current timetables from all railroads, and a complete set of Calif PUC rulings since 1900. The Society also has the collection of the official Union Pacific mapmaker and houses the Ralph Melching Collection, which is an archive of the LA Railway and Trolley System. It also houses the Chard Walker Collection, Herbert Johnson Collection, and Bill Farmer collection.
The library indexes its own material as well as that of the Electric Railway Historical Society of Los Angeles and will cross index with the Orange Empire Railway Museum (OERM) as time permits.
Materials do not circulate but comfortable facilities are available for study or leisure reading. Hours vary with volunteer staffing availability -- please call to confirm at (909) 394-0616.
Directions: The PRS Library is located 10 miles east of Pasadena. From the 210 Freeway travel south on the 57 Freeway and exit at Arrow Highway. Turn left on Arrow Highway under the freeway to Bonita Ave. Turn left onto Bonita. Proceed on Bonita past the BNSF Railroad crossing. The PRS Museum and Library is immediately on your right. Traveling north on the 57 Freeway, take the Arrow Highway exit. Continue straight across Arrow Highway onto Bonita Ave. and continue past the BNSF Railroad crossing. The PRS Museum and Library is immediately on your right.