A Day Out With Thomas is a very family oriented event. As evidenced in this picture the crowd was mostly Mom, Dad and the Kids. identify us in the photos. The “regular” train, also running, used the Metra bi-levels, but in order to do so, we installed slider windows in place of the emergency pull-outs so we could use them without the power car to provide air conditioning. It also got rid of the green tinted windows in the process. The large field adjacent to the station was leveled, but the ground proved too muddy. Not wanting to go down that road again, tons of stone were dropped to raise and firm up the site. We acquired metal handrails. A base was devised out of tie plates and the uprights were attached. These were buried in the ground and the lateral rails connected. They formed two queue lines for the photos and a protective railing next to Thomas’ stopping place. Thomas needed water every trip. A fire engine was placed on the platform. Hose was laid from the street, through a water conditioner to the engine. Another hose lay along the track to Thomas’ spot. The entire area needed electricity and a PA system to play music and announcements. That, of course, was Bob Wyatt’s job and, as usual, he had an extra touch. He placed a signal leaving the station for show and could control the aspects from the station building. The building itself needed an air conditioner installed for our character actor. The Sir Toppham costume is large, heavy and hot. The actor works for 20 minutes and rests for 30 in the air conditioning. It turned out, about the only improvement we can think of is here, next time, hire two actors to get twice the time for photos. In order to keep the merchandise tent hopping, we rented a garage adjacent to the parking lot. Our stock of merchandise was kept here, handy to reload the shelves in the tent across the street. This “warehouse” was retained and well worth it for its storage space. Picnic tables had to be obtained and assembled for the food area. A special train schedule was issued to run two trains at the same time for two three-day weekends. The list seems endless, but somehow, it got done. And after it was all done on July 2nd, and we realized it’s tomorrow, we rested as best we could and held our breath the next morning. After the 8 am briefing, the diesel and the bi-levels were brought up to Lehigh Junction. 4 Please don't feed the animals! Gary Shea and Les Coleman pose with the petting zoo sign. The diesel would sit on the siding as protect power. At 9 am, there were already patrons in the station enjoying the attractions. When Thomas showed up with his train at about 9:20, you could hear the squeal (of delight) from the parking lot above. After all the planning and all the work, and with Ma Nature holding off the showers but for a couple of light hints, the day went off without a hitch with no notable changes to the plan. However, we quickly decided to add an extra trip to the Thomas schedule starting the second day. With only 24 hours notice, it was still a near sell-out. We started to handle around 4,000 people a day and the only complaints were from the kids crying they didn’t want to leave yet. Nature cooperated for the entire six days. After the cold and wet June that carried into July, days 2, 3, 4 and 6 were gorgeous. Day 5 returned to chance of showers, but once again held off until the last train. We lucked out. In all, about 23,000 people were carried in the six-day event without any major hitch. There is only one reason this can happen and that is the people doing it. Special thanks go to the folks from the Strasburg Railroad who brought and handled Thomas, and to Kean Burenga from the railroad and his bulldozer operator, Gil. Kean couldn’t express his praise sufficiently about the professionalism of our train crews. They certainly stepped up to quickly fill the roster for six days and, despite some closely spaced moves on the schedule, kept things moving along efficiently with few late intervals. And thanks to all the other people, both from the Society who worked whatever was required and the local folk who normally work as ticket booth and mine/maze attendants, and others from the town who helped staff tents, sell balloons, crowd control or just keep the place clean. Without all of you, this event would not and could not be a success. Sir Toppham takes his Hatt off to you.

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