What a special time of the year this is for us all as we celebrate the holiday season with friends and family, enjoying the fine weather and all the bright lights and cheerful music that are always a big part of it. Many thanks go out to all our supporters who helped us through many challenges and helped us have one of our most successful years in quite a while. For all, whether visitors or full-timers living here, there are so many choices to help make these days enjoyable, but, unfortunately, we never have enough time to fit it all in. For you who may be interested in things that ride on rails, I have a few suggestions where you may have the opportunity to take advantage of some special happenings that are available for all during this holiday season.
Once again, ABTO (Arizona Big Train Operators) club members will be opening up with about 13 different locations featuring their Garden layouts around the Valley. This year, the dates scheduled are Dec. 9 and 10 and Dec. 16 and 17, and each of these will be open to the public from 4 to 8 p.m., for all to enjoy the scenic surroundings under the lights. Each one of these is somewhat unique and operational at a private home. For more detailed information, check out the website azbigtrains.org for addresses and phone numbers.
During the holiday season (Nov. 24 through Jan. 7), the McCormick Stillman Railroad Park has a lot to offer, as they really decorate for the occasion with bright lights and a magical train ride for the young at heart around their 30-acre facility, plus so much more. During the day, there is much to see, and in the evenings, everything comes to life with special showings of a night out at the Holiday Lights 2023 program offered as a special treat. For the evening show (reservations are required), call 480-312-2312 for additional details, pricing, and time availability.
On the weekends locally, the Arizona Railroad Museum is open (I believe) from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The museum is located off Ryan Road and Arizona Avenue in Chandler. There you will find a wonderful selection of some old, classic railroad cars that are open to the public on these days, which may bring back some fond memories of the past for those who had the good fortune to travel by rail in the “Good Old Days.”
Locally, over the years here in the Sun Lakes area, like all over the area, the holidays don’t lack the festive surroundings, and all over we are blessed with bright lights, cheerful music, and beautifully decorated trees. Not to be outdone, you can count on the lobby being filled with a beautifully decorated tree as you approach the entry to the Stone & Barrel restaurant. The Short Line Model Railroad Club, because of space limitations, will be having a small layout that will be there for several days, being operational at times for all to enjoy between lunch and dinner hours. Feel free to stop by for a moment to chat with one of our members who has dedicated some free time to ensure that things are running smoothly.
Wishing you and all your friends and families a wonderful holiday season and a healthy, safe, and adventurous new year!