Trains have been associated with Christmas about as long as they’ve been a viable form of transportation. Though these days most of us fly or drive when we’re heading home for the holidays, images of steam engines trudging over snowy hillsides persist as part of the holiday scenery. For some of us, the potential magic of trains was captured in that classic children’s book The Polar Express. For others, we remember actually getting a model train set as a child—and what could possibly be cooler? Either way, historians and advocates of the locomotive are always ready to capture our imagination and remind us of the romance and charm of the old iron horse. And throughout December, the B&O Railroad Museum has rich offerings in this regard.
The Holiday Festival of Trains & Toys features train rides, photos with Santa, and a different layout each weekend of December. There are train carousel rides, craft-making in Santa’s workshop, and the opportunity to write and mail letters to Santa as well. The museum also has a new exhibit, Home for the Holidays where you learn how the B&O Railroad celebrated the holidays, hear recordings of Christmas carols by the B&O’s Glee Club, and more. Take the Mile One Express train ride ($5.00) and visit Mount Clare Museum House for the colonial holiday celebration of A Carroll’s Christmas. Learn how the family of Charles Carroll Barrister celebrated the holiday season and see the mansion decorated in all the trimmings. Bring a new, unwrapped toy for donation to Toys for Tots through December 16 and receive 50% off admission.
The B&O Railroad Museum is located at 901 W. Pratt Street in Baltimore. Hours, admission prices, and activities vary. For details, visit www.borail.org.
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