Santa gives a wave from a train engine carrying him to the Quakertown train station Saturday for a holiday visit. Some 150 came out for the 20th annual event sponsored by the Quakertown Train Station Historical Society.
Santa Claus arrived via diesel locomotive on Saturday to the historic and beautifully restored Quakertown train station at Broad and Front streets. He could be seen chugging slowly down the old railroad tracks and received a warm welcome from a crowd filled with parents, grandparents and children of all ages.
Santa greeted the crowd of well over 150 people with a jolly, “Ho, ho, ho!” and made his way into the waiting room of the station. He was available again this year for pictures. He has been visiting the train station for two decades.
Refreshments were also available for purchase offered by volunteers of the station’s historical society. Many opted for a hot chocolate or a brownie while waiting for their turn on Santa’s lap.
Jamie Johnson of East Greenville and her 10-month-old daughter Nora waited patiently inside while the line stretched throughout the building and outside. Johnson revealed, “This is Nora’s very first visit with Santa.”
Although the gloomy weather put a damper on the annual event that began in 1992, children were still able to climb inside the diesel locomotive for a picture while peeking out a side window. Adults and children both seemed to enjoy the short tour inside the engine.
Sarah Buzdygon of Quakertown and her 2-1/2-year-old son Liam enjoyed the anticipation of Santa’s arrival. Liam smiled ear-to-ear while watching the train approach. He exclaimed, “Santa’s going to bring me Jeeps!”
Santa’s arrival was arranged by the Quakertown Train Station Historical Society Inc., a group comprised of concerned local residents that has been in existence since 1991.
The train station was originally constructed in 1902 by the Philadelphia and Reading Railroad Company. For over 80 years, the station operated as a passenger service and freight depot.
In 1974, the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) took over the operation of the train station. Eventually all passenger services stopped around 1981 as the need dwindled over time. However, SEPTA kept the building and decided to lease it to various businesses over the years.
In 1989, the train station met a devastating loss when the building succumbed to an arsonist that destroyed a large portion of the interior and roof. Shortly thereafter, a group of local residents created the historical society dedicated to the restoration of the burnt building.
Debbie Samsel, treasurer for the society, said, “If the fire hadn’t happened, then the building wouldn’t look the way it does today.”
And there is no denying the beauty in the fully restored wood finishes and chandeliers as well as the cast iron radiators which made the journey from England.
Samsel goes on to explain, “The whole restoration project cost over $1 million and took a lot of time and dedication to complete.”
The society consists of seven members in addition to several other volunteers who are available throughout the year for events and parties.
For the most part, restoration to the building is complete with a few items that need to be addressed such as sealing the entrance ways of the building, Samsel explained.
In order to keep the historic train station maintained, the society rents the building for parties, social gatherings, banquets and weddings. The waiting room area can accommodate up to 70 people with tables and chairs provided.
For additional information regarding the historic train station or rental fees, visit www.qtowntrainstation.org or call 215-536-9155.