Santa Train makes stop; crowds pack Nevada State Railroad Museum

The house was packed, and the children were out in force at the Nevada State Railroad Museum on Sunday as moms, dads and kids lined up at the Wabuska Station to ride the Santa Train.

The day was brisk and bright. A few light clouds brushed passed the Sierra and the last of the autumns leaves danced to the tune of a brisk winter wind.

"People love the trains to begin with and for a lot of them, this is a tradition. Everything is free this weekend. It's something the museum does every year to thank the public for their support." Bryan Ben of the Friends of the Nevada Railroad Museum said, noting this the year's final hurrah for steam engine #25. The steam engines won't be out again until May.

The event was scheduled for Dec. 9 and 10, and over 2000 riders came each day. There were children riding the train. Kids were finding all sorts of creative ways to dive/tumble/roll to the bottom of the hill in front of the museum, and others were working on crafts inside.

Maria Sanchez, curator of education, was busy hovering over the many craft tables situated between the trains where children were busy coloring, decorating wrapping paper and making special holiday buttons.

"This is the first year we've done this and I'm happy that everyone likes it," Sanchez said. "Everyone seems to be having a lot of fun. Hopefully, we'll be able to do more of this on the weekends."

Scott Klette, photographer for the Nevada State Museum, was taking pictures aboard the Dayton steam engine for $5, and Denise Stewart together with son Josh Martino haven't missed their Chrismas portrait here in 12 years.

"We've been doing this since he was just a baby," Stewart said. "It's a tradition."

As with most events, the Museum couldn't have done it without the help of a score of businesses and organizations including Walmart, Grandma Hattie's Family Restaurant, Rite Aid, Big Al's Pizza, the U. S. Forest Service, the Friends of the Nevada State Railroad Museum and the U.S. Marine Corp.

In addition to some military equipment displays, the U.S. Marine Corps League was supplying refreshments, the proceeds going to a number of local causes, as well as supporting programs like the Reserve Officer Training Corps scholarships.

The Nevada State Railroad Museum houses over 50 pieces of railroad equipment from Nevada's past and is considered one of the finest regional railroad museums in the country.

Included in the collection are five steam locomotives and several restored coaches and freight cars. The bulk of the equipment is from the Virginia & Truckee Railroad. The museum is located at 2180 S. Carson St., and is open daily year-round from 8:30 to 4:30. Admission is $2, under 18 free.

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