Santa rides the rails in Campo
CAMPO ---- Did you know Santa Claus has been riding trains in Campo for eight years?
The weekend holiday Santa Train North Pole Limited excursions that continue until just before Christmas every year began about eight years ago out of the Pacific Southwest Railway Museum in the rural community.
They started with a more limited range of activities in 2004, mostly Santa visiting with youngsters and posing on his lap for pictures, according to Diana Hyatt, the museum’s director.
“Now it takes months of planning and ordering to pull these trains off,” Hyatt said. “Some of our planning for the following year takes place during and immediately after operations of our North Pole trains.”
It isn’t just Santa’s Elves serving hot chocolate and cookies or Mrs. Claus helping out with different things to Santa’s workshop at the North Pole and back.
There’s the reading of a famous Christmas story, sing-alongs and some pretty magical moments.
Volunteers are key to the operation and Hyatt acknowledges it can be tough to find people willing to make the commitment.
Cheryl Hoar and her husband, Rusty, have volunteered for about 18 months to help with the trains.
“I think the big attraction for him was the big equipment,” Hoar said. “Every boy wants a train set. He just got a full-sized one. I took over the nut-and-bolt room.”
That room contains cans of donated items to help repair the trains. When she’s not sorting equipment, Hoar helps the teen-age elves from local schools that assist Santa Claus.
“Our North Pole Limited Trains are a lot of fun for young and old alike but I see the most wonderment on the faces of the younger children who still believe in Santa and the joy the Christmas season brings,” Hyatt said.
Everyone who would like to experience the magic of rocketing through a starry night to the North Pole can call (619) 465-7776 or visit www.PSRM.org for ticket and other information.