Santa Claus peeks through the window of ORHS car No. 102 on December 4, 2010.
The Wheeling & Lake Erie Railway this year sponsored “Santa Express” trains to extend a Merry Christmas wish to employees and their families. Three “Santa Express” trains left Brewster at 11 a.m., 1 and 3 p.m. on Friday, November 26 for the trip westward on the Brewster subdivision to the outskirts of Creston.
The train had several coaches from the Orrville Railroad Heritage Society. It was led eastbound by W&LE SD40-3 locomotive No. 3102, while the ORHS GP-7u No. 471 led the train westbound.
Four private cars were part of the train, W&LE No. 1990, Larry Marshall’s C&B Marshall No. 3850, Glenn Bowman’s Paul Revere No. 3125, and J. Kidd’s former RF&P No. 386.
ORHS also provided its concession car (No. 105) for snacks and souvenirs. ORHS volunteers staffed the train, which was operated by a Wheeling crew. The weather was sunny but cool and breezy for the trips. Those aboard, including the crews, soon caught the Christmas spirit.
Greg and Jane Levy were onboard as Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus to greet the young folks, and delight their parents. Kasey O’ Connor doing his portrayal of Santa Claus with elf Heidi Kaiser also provided much Christmas cheer amid many ho-ho-hos. Both Santas were the subject of many Christmas photographs by excited parents.
The same train consist was operated from Orrville to Lodi on a cold and cloudy Saturday, November 27 for the Orrville Railroad Heritage Society. Four trains were operated that day. Each traveled westward from Orrville to Lodi and returned.
The ORHS advertised its trips as “Riding with Santa.” The ORHS trips from Orrville were repeated on Saturday, December 4. The Lodi Railroad Museum was a partner for the December 4 trips, with members and their families boarding the trains at Lodi. W&LE GP40-3 No. 302 provided the eastbound motive power on December 4.
The W&LE operated three “Santa Express” trains on Sunday, November 28 to extend Christmas wishes to their employees of the Ohio River lines and their families. The train traveled from Warrenton northward along the river to Brilliant on the River subdivision. The second and third runs were operated for passengers sponsored by the area Rotary Club. The day’s weather was also sunny for the trips along the Ohio.
As the last “Riding With Santa” train came to a halt in Orrville, it provided a spirited conclusion to two weekend’s holiday festivities on the railroad.
Story and Photographs by Richard Jacobs
Excited Wheeling families hurry to the “Santa Express” from the ‘brick’ at Brewster on November 26, 2010. The brick is the nickname for the railroad’s headquarters building.
Santa Clause, played by ORHS member Dean Mark, waves from ORHS car No. 105.
Young folks have a chance to climb aboard a real locomotive, W&LE No. 3102 at Brewster.
Boarding the “Riding With Santa” train at Orrville on November 27, 2010.
Children and adults alike enjoy the model trains in the Orrville depot on November 27, 2010.
ORHS locomotive No. 471 and W&LE theater car No. 1990 are on the south end of the ‘Wheeling’s’ “Santa Express” train in Warrenton on November 28, 2010.