model train set on track

Christmas In July 2020

e*Train Issue: Jun 2020   |   Posted in: ,

By John S. Halajko, TCA 84-20653

If you are in Eastern Pennsylvania this Christmas Time, here are three new cool places to visit in addition to the usual pilgrimage to Bethlehem, Longwood Gardens, Feeney’s in Feasterville, or the Reading Historical Society. First off let us take a steam powered train trip on the Reading Blue Mountain & Northern Railroad. Call ahead for reservations, because they do sell out.

This is a real working railroad with cars, engines, and maintenance buildings. The scenery changes each day. Bring your camera for several cool photo op opportunities.  Don’t forget to make reservations today.

There is a great family restaurant a few feet up the road so we ate there before heading to our next stop, The Reading Society of Model Engineers.  We contacted them to set up a day when some members were working on their fabulous layout in December. Read about their family activities on their facebook site. They run real outdoor trains during warm weather.

Here are the videos that I shot to cover the immense scope of the two-rail layout. They are always receptive to having guest locomotives make a run or two.

Below is a brief tour of the remainder of the building. The first floor is wheelchair accessible. Ask if their second floor is wheelchair accessible when setting up your visit.  On the first floor is their maintenance shop, engine storage, smaller layout areas along with a kitchen and restrooms. Here is some of the stuff you will see.

Alas, they need new members like most train related organizations.
If you live nearby, consider joining.

Gasper Landscapes Christmas Store (the third new, cool place to visit!)

My darling wife, Joanie, wanted to do some Christmas arts and crafts and found that Gasper Landscapes in Richboro, PA had several make-it-and-take-it sessions. So off we went. Joanie did the presentation and I explored the store.

Bummer, no Lionel trains around the Christmas Trees. I asked about this fact and found out that they plan on doing an outdoor layout for 2020. I called on 5 May 2020 and learned that they have not started construction yet. They will advise the Railroad Grand Opening by email after the COVID-19 Pandemic is over. Stay tuned.

Lots to explore and I even found an animated TRAIN item: