The old railroad right-of-way that leads from Scranton up to Carbondale doesn’t get much traffic anymore.
On Saturday morning, however, don’t be surprised to hear a diesel engine chugging up the line, occasionally letting loose with a mightly roar from its horn that may rattle your breakfast table. The train is provided by the Steamtown National Historic Site, and it will pick up just one passenger.
A very important passenger: none other than Mr. S. Claus.
Yes, it’s time once again for ‘Christmas in a Small Town,’ universally known as “the Santa Train.” Now in its 17th year, the visit is a project of the Lackawanna Heritage Valley National and State Heritage Area.
Once Santa gets on board in the frozen north, the first stop will be the Carbondale train station, on River Street, at 10:30 a.m.
The next stop will be Archbald Train Station on Pike Street, at 11:35 a.m. The Borough of Archbald, will be hosting holiday festivities for children of all ages. beginning at 10:45 a.m. as the Valley View fifth-grade choir welcomes visitors singing Christmas carols. The arrival of Santa at the train station will feature the music of the Valley View High School Band. There will be free hot dogs, hot chocolate, coffee and other goodies. Every child will get an opportunity to visit with Santa and Mrs. Claus (photos will be permitted at all stops) and will go home with a candy bag courtesy of the borough.
From there the train will move on to the Jessup Train Station, on Church Street, arriving at about 12:20 p.m. The Jessup 21st Century Association’s 19th annual Christmas Happening will be already underway in Station Park, Jim and Joyce Brunozzi and family will be this year’s honorary chairpersons.
The Santa Train will bring Santa and Mrs. Claus, who will walk down Candy Cane Lane to Santa’s special gazebo to visit with the children and pass out Christmas gifts. The Brunozzi family will assist. A live Nativity scene with children of the community will be presented, along with caroling with the Valley View choir. The Valley View Cheerleader “elves” will assist the children to decorate their own ornaments, which they can take home or hang on the Station Park traditional tree. The Valley View Band will also perform. Hot dogs, coffee, hot chocolate and cookies will be served. The Jessup Lions Club and Jessup Boy Scout Troop 34 of will be on hand to help with the festivities.
At about 1 p.m. the Santa Train will pull into Queen City Train Station on Lackawanna Avenue in Olyphant. After greeting the throng of kids, Santa will board his special sleigh and lead the crowd to more festivities.
The final stop in the Valley, before the train heads back to Scranton, will be Dickson City Train Station on Boulevard Avenue, at 1:45 p.m. Santa and Mrs. Claus will set up in the station shed and chat will be with every youngster who wants to discuss this year’s presents. The Santa Train and its crew will also be available for photo opportunities while at each station.
All activities are free. “Christmas in a Small Town” is also sponsored by the Delaware Lackawanna Railroad, Pennsylvania Northeast Regional Railroad Authority, the Lackawanna Historical Society, the Anthracite Heritage Museum, the Lackawanna County Council on Arts and Culture, Propst Transportation, Community Bank NA, and Peoples Security Bank and Trust.