Pacific Southwest Railway Museum, Inc.

Pacific Southwest Railway Museum, Inc. Logo

Basic Information

Address: 750 Depot St. La Mesa, CA
Phone Number: 6196066231
Director: Diane Hyatt, President

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Pacific Southwest Railway Museum, Inc.
Pacific Southwest Railway Museum, Inc.
Pacific Southwest Railway Museum, Inc.
Pacific Southwest Railway Museum, Inc.

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Additional Information

Causes Served: Preserving Railway History
Population Served: All
Ages for Volunteer: 16-80
Hours of Service: Weekends
Minimum Hours Required: 4
Days of Service: Saturday's and Sunday's
Mission Statement:

The Pacific Southwest Railway Museum Association, Inc. is dedicated to preserving the physical legacy, historical context, cultural landscape and experience of rail transportation. Programs address the historical, social, economic and technical impact of railroading with particular emphasis on railroads of San Diego County and the larger systems it connected to within the Southwestern United States.

Philosophy/Belief Statement:

“Our vision is to continue to build a strong youth education program with our schools, and youth groups through dynamic and exciting railway learning experiences; bringing a unique piece of California back to life…creating a true living heritage experience,” says Diana Hyatt, President of PSRM.

Program History:

The Pacific Northwest Railway Museum (PSRM) is located in Campo, CA, and a town rich with historical events and well-known for its 1875 gunfight, captured in the book by Bryon Harrington, Campo: The Forgotten Gunfight. The Pacific Southwest Railway Museum was founded in 1961 and incorporated in 1966 (501 (c) 3, tax-exempt), as the only international railway excursion museum in North America. Today it is one of the largest operating, living history train museum in California, with exhibits dating back 135 years.

The railway museum is nestled in the heart of what was once known as the Milquatay Valley, well-documented about the history of early settlers and just a short distance (1.3 miles) from the International Border. The Pacific Southwest Railway Museum represents a large part of Southern California’s history and the events that shaped not only California, but California/Mexico relations. PSRM sits on the site of what was once Camp Locket (circa, 1941), during WWII it was the home to the 11th U.S. Calvary Regiment, a veterans convalescent hospital, a 300-bed Italian POW’s camp and the first Black Calvary (10th regiment, 1886), known as the Buffalo Soldiers. Some of the original buildings that still exist include a car barn that served as the camp fieldhouse, a veterinary house and stable.

In 1916, the first passenger train arrived in Campo, CA, with the biggest mover and shaker being J. D. Spreckels (one of California’s earliest railroad entrepreneurs), whose business car, the Carriso Gorge, is part of the Pacific Southwest Railway Museum collection. As J.D. Spreckels once said “Transportation determines the flow of population, before you can hope to get people to live anywhere . . . . you must first show them that they can get there quickly, comfortably and, above all, cheaply,” as written by J. Austin Adams (1924).

In 1917 the Campo Depot was built, and is still being used today as part of our museum tour. Today, the village of Campo, CA has a population of 2,684, which includes descendants of the founding inhabitants of the Diequeno Tribe. Campo is not only home to the Pacific Southwest Railway Museum, but also the Motor Transport Museum and the Gaskill Brothers Stone Store, all contributing to the towns historical events.

La Mesa, CA - In 1888 the railway made its way to La Mesa Springs and in 1894 the original station in La Mesa was constructed, its first name being the Allison Station. In 1915, the small original building was moved across the tracks and expanded to its current size. The La Mesa Depot Museum in La Mesa is California’s oldest building in its original form and is the sole surviving San Diego and Cuyamaca Railway Station in existence. The building you see today on the corner of Spring Street and La Mesa Boulevard in downtown La Mesa is a colorful reminder of southern California’s past history.


Pumpkin Express, North Pole Limited and Bunny Train- Themed train excursions. In 2019 we will be celebrating our 100 year of the last golden spike driven.

Throughout the year on the third Tuesday of select months (for a small fee of $5 each), we provide San Diego County school children a docent-led opportunity to experience a “living railway” day. This opportunity includes a 40-minute train ride with narrative, a tour of indoor and outdoor displays and a nutritious box lunch. And in 1997, we initiated a Railroad Merit Badge Program and overnight camping experience for all Scouts, at our Pacific Southwest Railway Museum in Campo. The Scouts enjoy a one-day, hands-on experience while earning their Railroading Merit Badge.

Additional Information:

Our goal is to upgrade, restore and preserve historical railway equipment including the preservation of historical documents for enjoyment and learning by not only our generation, but future generations.

We are an all volunteer nonprofit. Volunteers help with the following:

  • docents on our holiday excursions along with hosting.
  • assisting in archiving documents in our Southwest Library.
  • yard work and maintenance.
  • general volunteer duties and maintenance.
  • repairs as needed
  • directing passengers onto the trains
  • assisting in the giftshop
  • helping to set up events
  • Having fun!