The Santa Express

The Santa Express

Information will be coming soon on the 2011 Santa Express Train Rides through North Vernon. In the meantime, see the article below about last year’s spectacular event!

2010 Santa Express Article from the North Vernon Plain Dealer:
Santa Express to roll again Saturday in North Vernon

by Bryce Mayer

The North Vernon community is getting an early Christmas present again this weekend, and it’s the perfect gift for the City of Railroads.

The fifth annual Santa Express will be Saturday, Nov. 20, with the Madison Railroad and Park Theatre Civic Centre cosponsoring the seven train rides.

“We do this for the kids and those adults that are like big kids when it comes to trains,” said Cathy Hale, director of the Madison Railroad. “This is our gift to the community. Seeing how appreciative the people are who take the rides makes it all worthwhile for us.”

Tickets are $2 apiece for the rides and are going fast. As of late Tuesday, over 500 had been sold of the 840-ticket limit.

The 30-minute rides – from the Park Theatre in downtown North Vernon to Vernon and back – are scheduled at 10 a.m., 10:45, 11:30, 12:15 p.m., 1, 1:45 and 2:30.

In the previous four years, the rides were free. The nominal charge this year is to cover fuel and insurance costs. As in the past, the Madison Railroad crew will volunteer their time for the event.

“People need to buy their tickets as early as possible,” said Hulda Reichenbach of the Park Theatre where tickets are being sold. “They will be assigned specific rides and cars.”

Added to the Madison Railroad’s 50-passenger coach car and 30-passenger caboose this year will be a 40-passenger car provided by Roger Fuehring of F&M Car and Locomotive in Atlanta, Ind.

“That car is in the process of a restoration but is in plenty good enough condition for these rides,” Hale said. “It is a 1923 sleeper car from the Canadian National Railroad that is named Goderich for the city in Ontario of the same name.”

“These train rides are a great event,” Reichenbach said. “It is wonderful what the Madison Railroad does for us. All the kids and adults just love riding the train.”

Santa Claus will accompany the passengers on each ride as will conductor Tom Taylor, who punches tickets and leads Christmas carols.

In conjunction with the Santa Express, the Park Theatre will be showing the now classic holiday movie “The Polar Express” this weekend. Showtimes are 7 p.m. Friday, 2 and 7 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday.

For Saturday’s matinee, children and adults who come dressed as one of the movie’s characters will be admitted free to the theatre.

“Most of the kids wear pajamas, since that’s what the children in the movie are wearing,” Reichenbach said.

Hale gave credit to the Park Theatre people for making it all possible.

“Hulda and her people sell the tickets, get all the waivers sign and do all the organizing to make this work,” she said. “People don’t realize what Hulda, Bill (Reichenbach), Patti (Yount) and the other Park Theatre volunteers do.”

For ticket information, contact the Park Theatre, 25 N. Madison Ave., telephone 346-0330 or 346-4329, Web site

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