By: Megan Filak
Santa may take to the sky on Christmas Eve, with flying reindeer being his preferred mode of transportation, trains still hold an incredible tie to the holiday season. Whether it’s the model trains that wind around winter scenes and tiny towns under Christmas trees or in the magic of the children’s favorite, The Polar Express, trains hold a special spot among holiday memories.
Experiencing the allure of trains is easy this time of year in Northeast Pennsylvania. During December weekends, the Hudson Model Railroad Club in Plains invites visitors to their Open Houses where their miniature display spans 2,000 square feet. Kids and grownups can watch anywhere from 8 to 10 model trains pass by small town, farm and industrial scenes, as well as a larger city scene. With the club celebrating 40 years in 2020, member Bill Christian said he enjoys seeing people who came when they were kids now bringing their own children and making new memories watching the model trains.
At Steamtown National Historic Site, the trains both carry passengers to the North Pole to meet Santa Claus and later transport Old Saint Nick down to Scranton to visit with families. During the Holiday Express, the trains travel through the “Magic Tunnel” to the Reindeer Barn where Santa will be waiting. Once there kids can create crafts and watch model trains make their way through displays. On December 7th, the Santa Train pulls into the station at Steamtown, carrying some very important guests. Families can watch the train arrive at the turntable then greet Santa and Mrs. Claus and share their Christmas wishes with them.
Trains, whether traveling through model towns over tiny tracks or carrying families and special visitors, make experiencing the holiday season extra special for kids of all ages in Northeast Pennsylvania.