Santa Train chugs along

Published 12:00 am Monday, December 14, 2009

By Hugh Fisher
SPENCER ó He’s making a list, and checking it twice, but not on a sleigh with snow and ice.
Santa Claus is taking the train to town.
With festive decorations aboard, the Santa Train’s been running at the N.C. Transportation Museum for the last two weekends.
Santa and his elves board to pass out treats and talk to each child and family.
“You kids stay sweet and smart,” Santa Claus said to Chloe and Cameron Mullinax of Mount Pleasant.
“Santa’s going to visit you real soon!”
Their mom, Christy Mullinax, has been bringing her daughters to Spencer for the Santa Train for years.
Chloe, who’s 3 years old this Christmas, smiled while one of the volunteers took her picture with Santa, her sister and her mom.
Cameron, who’s 7, had a long wish list ready for Santa:
“A DVD player that sits on your lap and a (Nintendo) DSi,” she said, among other things.
“You think he’s got enough time to get all that together?” Christy asked with a smile.
Cameron smiled and nodded. “He got my letter!”
Families from as far off as Shelby and Winston-Salem were among the riders sharing wishes with Santa yesterday afternoon.
In addition to train rides during the day Saturday and Sunday, Cookies & Cocoa With Santa drew hundreds more on Saturday night.
All told, museum staff said more than 1,700 people rode the train and saw Santa this weekend.
Cookies & Cocoa With Santa has already sold out for this coming weekend.
But there are still Santa Train tickets available, with seven rides scheduled for this coming Saturday and four for this Sunday.
School program coordinator Vickie Peacock said hundreds more local children will get to enjoy the Jingle Bell Express train ride when their schools visit the museum this week.
The Peacock family has made volunteering on the Santa Train their Christmas tradition.
In addition to her husband, Howard “Junior” Peacock, who portrays characters at holiday events, granddaughters Falyn and Ashlyn are Santa’s helpers at these events.
“The expressions on their faces are the best part,” said Falyn, who helps hand out candy canes and oranges and reads stories on Cookies & Cocoa nights.
The Santa Train is scheduled to run again this coming weekend, rain or shine.
Trips start at the Barber Junction Station visitor’s center.
Tickets are $7 per person, or $6 with the donation of an unwrapped gift for needy children.
Children 2 and under ride for free.
For more information, contact the museum at 704-636-2889 or go to