Boothbay Railway Village

North Pole Express brings smiles to children

Posted:  Monday, December 11, 2017 - 1:00pm

There is something about trains and Christmas. Trains encircle Christmas trees, tooting merrily. Trains bring far-flung loved ones home for the holidays. And at Boothbay Railway Village on Route 27, trains carry one very special passenger to take children’s requests for the big day.

The train runs set for Dec. 16, 17 and 23, with departures at 11 a.m., 11:45 a.m. 12:30 p.m., 1:15 p.m., 2 p.m. and 2:45 p.m. are nearly sold out, so a Dec. 30 train has been added, with the same departure times. Advance purchases are highly recommended. Standard tickets are $15 for all passengers ages 3 and older. For an additional $5, passengers can upgrade to first class, in the Victorian splendor of the restored Franklin & Megantic Coach No. 2, and receive a keepsake of the event. Children under 3 are free, but must sit on a parent’s lap.

The train wound its way through a winter wonderland after the Saturday snowstorm. Out the window, holiday decorations gleamed under the newly fallen snow. Kids in our car rang their metal bells,  which tinkled throughout the trains, and somehow, you just knew those bells called a certain visitor to get on the train at the North Pole, otherwise known as the Thorndike Station.

When Santa got on, the excitement was palpable. Children had written letters or cards with their Christmas wish on them, and Santa stopped by each seat to hear what each child was most dearly hoping to find under the tree.

Some were very shy; many mothers, after prodding children to speak up, gave up and gave Santa their little ones’ wish.

Others were more outspoken. “A superstation!” said Joseph, 3, of Naples, before he was asked. Santa laughed merrily.

When all the holiday orders were in, Santa went back to the North Pole (it’s a busy time of year, after all!), and the train moved on. When the North Pole Express arrived at the main (Freeport) station, the children and parents disembarked and went to the chapel, where there was a reading of “Twas the Night Before Christmas.”

Everyone then moved to the meeting house, where hot cocoa and a delightful array of Christmas treats were laid on. There were holiday crafts, including wrapping a candy cane in scraps of fabric. What drew most children’s attention, however, was the large model train display at the back of the meeting house. It was hard not to try to touch the trains as they zoomed past.

Call 633-4727 between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday through Friday for more information.