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The museum has a small and dedicated track crew that works tirelessly to maintain and install track around the Museum. One aspect of rail maintenance and installation is tamping ballast. This can be done manually with bars or hand power tools; however, it is extremely labor-intensive and time consuming. This can also be done mechanically with a ballast tamper. A ballast tamper is a railway maintenance machine that uses vibrating tools to tamp and squeeze the track ballast under railroad ties. This machine packs the ballast and locks it together to create a sound foundation for the track to maintain a level surface and alignment of the track for smooth train and streetcar operation.

Our current ballast tamper was manufactured in 1965, breaks down often, and is needing to be replaced. So, as 2023 draws to a close, it’s Time to Tamp it Down to Ballast Tamper Number 208!

The total we need to raise is $41,950. For this year-end appeal, there are five levels of giving:

● $4,195 Tamper Titan
● $ 2,500 Ballast Master
● $1,250 Ballast Guardian
● $ 500 Maintenance Crew
● $208 Tamp Team

All donations are tax-deductible.


You can make a difference at the Museum by contributing to its projects and ongoing needs. Our collection restoration, maintenance, and expansion would not be possible without your generous support. We have capital campaign projects to improve our facility—track to operate our trains over and buildings to protect our equipment.

You can give now to a project that interests you or to an endowment fund for future use. You can make the Museum part of your legacy by including it in your will. Your support is greatly appreciated.

The Museum is a non-profit 501(c)(3) educational organization; your contributions are tax deductible. To learn more, contact us at (951) 943-3020 or by email at

Prefer to print the form? PDF Version


The Perris Connection

The Museum has long sought to create a meaningful visitor experience Recently, the City of Perris beautifully restored the Perris Depot (Depot).  Inside, visitors can explore the wonderful Perris Valley Museum. We currently are unable to provide service from the Museum to the Depot.   With the expansion of Metrolink’s services, we are no longer able to share tracks, we need our own. The Perris Connection will fulfill the dream of providing direct connection to the Perris Depot and to Metrolink’s service adjacent Ward Kimball transit center. This will pave the way for our planned daily operations to and from this classic train station. The commuter rail extension project has been completed and is operating. Now it’s time for us to move quickly and fund the completion of our track, signals, and overhead line. Your support will get the trains rolling into town once again.

After years of engineering drawings and legal paperwork, the Perris Station track construction has begun. The stem wall for the platform at the Depot site has been constructed, the trench has been graded, and the platform pocket for our track is complete.

At long last we are approaching construction on the Perris Connection with the purchase of a key part, the TURNOUT OTHERWISE CALLED the SWITCH.

As we prepare for the final phase of this campaign, construction, we recognize that we need to raise funds; and the Board of Directors has authorized the first construction item, a turnout or switch, that will cost $170,000 plus transportation.  The vendor will complete the turnout in 7 months and expects payment when the switch is completed. Raising funds in advance will ensure that they are available at time of construction, helping avoid any further delays in this exciting project.

Donate to Perris Connection

Legacy Giving

As part of your estate planning, your legacy gift to the Museum provides a way to honor you or a loved one for future generations. Legacy gifts are designations in you will or other financial planning documents.  For more information on how you can leave a Legacy Gift, contact our Museum Manager at (951) 943‑3020 or by e‑mail  Thank you for your consideration.


Money is often donated to the Museum for its ongoing support. Frequently, the donation is spent quickly for a specific purpose but sometimes it’s placed in an endowment fund where it’s invested, and the earnings are used by the Museum. Most endowments are structured so that the principal amount is kept intact while the investment income is available for use. They can be set up to release part of the principal each year, allowing the donation to have a larger impact than using only investment earnings. Endowments often come with restrictions on their use.

The museum has four endowment funds:

  • The Richards-Smith Endowment, which is unrestricted and can be used to support any need that the board designates.
  • The Niedrich Endowment, which is restricted to support of museum rolling stock collection
  • The Kagy Endowment, which is restricted to support of the Red Car/PE collection.
  • The Gagnon Endowment, which is restricted to support of the operating steam program.

There is also a board-directed investment fund that is treated like an endowment. It is unrestricted; its earnings can be used as the board deems appropriate. For more information on how you can leave a Legacy Gift, contact our Museum Manager at (951) 943‑3020 or by e‑mail

Using your IRA RMD to donate to the Museum

If you are having to deal with a Required Minimum Distribution from your IRA and want to avoid some tax, here is way. If you are over 70 ½ and you have traditional IRA, you can direct all or part of the distribution be paid directly to the Museum in the form of a Qualified Charitable Distribution. This only applies to traditional IRAs, not Roth, Simple, or SEP.

The maximum allowed each year is $100,000.00 per taxpayer. The mechanics of the transaction is you direct the IRA custodian to issue and mail a check to the Museum. You cannot receive the funds. You must get an acknowledgement or receipt for tax purposes.

The acknowledgment or receipt must meet these tests:

  1. It must be written.
  2. It must include the amount of cash you contributed and whether the Museum gave you any goods or services as a result of your contribution (other than certain token items and membership benefits.)

The 1099 will be issued under your social security number by your IRA custodian. You will have to note on your tax return that you made a Qualified Charitable Distribution and match the dollar figure to the receipt.

As in any tax transaction, please consult your tax adviser first.

Monthly Giving

Need to spread out your financial gift? The Museum is able accept recurring donations. Simply let us know the amount and frequency. Whether the amount is $5 or $5,000, every dollar is put to work.



We welcome in-kind donations including much needed materials as well as professional services.  Although the Museum is expansive, we very little coverer storage space.   To coordinate in-kind donations, please contact our Museum Manager at (951) 943‑3020 or by e‑mail

Wish List – Items

Palletainers (wire baskets)
We could use ten wire basket (stackable) palletainers or something similar in the 1,000-4,000 lb. capacity range. They will help us organize parts and better utilize space inside storage containers and car barns. If you are able to donate, please contact us.

Storage Containers
We could use more 20-foot or 40-foot containers in reasonable condition. Containers with roll-up doors would be particularly useful.

Self-Dumping Hopper
We need a new self-dumping hopper for trash collection. These hoppers are lifted by a forklift and tilt forward to dump their load into our large roll-off dumpsters when their locking pin is pulled by a person on the ground. The Stor-Quip Premium Series 2,000 lb. capacity hopper would be a good choice.

Golf Carts
At the Museum, electric golf carts and utility vehicles are very useful. Docents use them for giving guided tours, special event volunteers move supplies through a crowded venue, and maintenance volunteers transport their tools and material throughout the grounds.

Wish List – Professional Services

Transportation Services
The Museum is regularly offered valuable material donations from around the country. Small items are easy to ship, but for larger items, we need trucking services. We also have an ongoing need to move railcars and materials on the Museum property.

Signage Services
Our exhibit development programs can always use professional signage services.

Tax Information

The Museum is a 501(c)(3) registered non-profit organization and donations are tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law.

You may download a copy of the IRS Letter confirming the Museum’s non-profit status.

There are two IRS publications that may be useful:

The Form 990s that the Museum files with the IRS every year are available on Guidestar. For more information or questions, please contact our Museum Manager at (951) 943‑3020 or by e‑mail