Santa helps spark interest in trains - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Santa helps spark interest in trains

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December 7, 2002

Dawson- The Georgia Southwestern Railroad usually pulls freight across the state, but this weekend its been transformed into a Santa Train.

"There's going to be a lot of go carts in Dawson," says Santa as he listens to one little girl's Christmas wish. Not only did Santa take orders from children, but he also let families hitch a free ride from Smithville to Eufala, Alabama.

Of course Santa was a special treat, but it was also the first time many of the children had ever ridden on a train.

"I like the way it moves and shakes," say first-time rider Kentravious Florida. "I don't think this is something he'll ever forget," adds Kentravious's mother, Ms. Florida.

Reviving train travel is one thing Georgia's first lady and several other politicians say is on their agenda. "Rail transportation is indeed something we need to move forward on, and this is a great example of something to keep this revived," says District 158 State Representative Gerald Greene.

"Roy will like to do this because he's a big fan of trains anyway, and of course, this is every kid's dream to get to be on a train," adds Georgia First Lady Marie Barnes.

While this train will continue to haul freight, its owners hope the Santa Train will spark interest in railroad travel. "I'd like to see passenger train come back, and be able to go from Albany to Atlanta without having to fight the traffic of I-75," admits railroad president, Terry Small.

The train was such a hit, that none of the children even missed Rudolph or the rest of Santa's team.

This is the third year Southwestern Railroad has sponsored the Santa train. Sunday the train will be in Edison at 1:30 PM. From there it will travel to Arlington, Damascus, and Colquitt.

Posted at 5:15 PM by elaine.armstrong@walb.com