Saturday Trains hosts public Halloween party
DANVILLE - Over the past six years, a Minnesota train collector who has never been to Danville has sent four gift packages crammed with model railroad equipment to Danville's free Saturday Trains program at Christ Memorial Episcopal Church at the corner of Pine and East Market streets.
After seeing the train program on YouTube for the first time in 2007, Peter Lorsung, who lives in St. Cloud, a suburb of Minneapolis, packed a large cardboard box with an operating log car, two boxcars, a Blue Comet passenger car, flashing railroad signals, two railroad switches, a girder bridge, a flashing searchlight, a crossing gate and a Mickey and Minnie Mouse handcar.
In 2010 and 2012, more large boxes of model railroad equipment came from Minneapolis. And now the post office has brought another box with a whole railroad train and a power pack to run it.
"We've just received an MTH 6-8-6 Pennsylvania Railroad Bantam turbine steam locomotive with huffing sounds and smoke pouring out of its stack," said Bob Bomboy, who created the Saturday Trains program almost nine years ago. "Also in the box are a Lionel dump car, a Lionel log car, a New York Central gondola, a Pennsylvania Railroad caboose, and a yellow Bugs Bunny/Yosemite Sam pop-up boxcar.
"Because of these gifts from Mr. Lorsung, whom we've never met, we've permanently named this The Peter Lorsung Train' and it will be running at our free Halloween party today, along with a flashing Halloween tree, scary music, a ghost car loaned by train collector Dale Walker, and lots of Halloween decorations."
Bomboy said he and his volunteer partners will be dressed as railroad engineers today and he invited children to come to the party in their Halloween costumes. Saturday Trains will provide Halloween cookies, pretzels, cider, coffee, tea and other refreshments.
The Saturday Trains' 22-foot model railroad display, which is open from 10 a.m. to noon, also includes snow-covered mountains, more than 400 evergreen trees, three tunnels, a ski slope, two villages, and two frozen lakes with ice skaters. To bring back more memories, the program also has continuously running videos of steam engines going up and down the Susquehanna Valley during the 1930s and 1940s, along with a library of donated model railroading books, magazines, and model train catalogs that visitors can glance over while their children and grandchildren run the trains.