Saturday, December 6, 2008

Holiday Train (2)

'It's wonderful! It's giving back to the community with the marines who collect the toys and the Salvation Army,' said one lady wearing antlers.

Her friend, dressed as Santa's helper, said, 'It's spreading joy to the community,' and then they were off, to sing on Caltrain's Holiday Train in San Francisco at the start of a toy and book-collecting Christmas venture around the Peninsula - see previous blog.

One man who has been behind the success of the Holiday Train is Ray Brown.

'I was part of the inception eight years ago when I was with the Golden Gate Railroad Museum and I have done a lot of marketing for this event,' he said, 'along with Janet McGovern, Ross Peterson and Chris Hart - he does the sound,' he said.

In those years Ray, who was appropriately wearing a seasonal tie with a picture of a train on it, has seen over 35,000 toys and books collected for needy children.

The musical entertainment began at 4.30 pm, with Santa Claus conducting his audience for some of the songs from the Masterworks Chorale. Next the Salvation Army Band played and by five o'clock whistles were blowing for everyone involved to board the train.

It was time to travel to the next stop, Burlingame.

The crowd moved up the platform ready to wave it off. With a toot of the horn and a lot of waving from Santa Claus and friends who squeezed onto the platform at the back they slowly pulled away.

The Salvation Army not only provided musical entertainment but their bell ringers were there too.

'I think it's a good deal,' said David, one of the bell ringers. 'I think it entertains the people who are here and sends out a good message of love and good holiday spirits.'

Did he think giving would be affected by the credit crunch?

'Even though the economy is down, the hearts of the people will prevail and they will give gifts,' he said.

Pics show: nine-year-old Sarah with Rudolf; a final cheery wave as the Holiday Train leaves San Francisco; eight-year-old Lawrence with a Toy Soldier; Ray Brown

For an album of pics click here:
For info on train times and stops for tomorrow, Sunday, December 6, click here.

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