After a success first run last year, Santa’s Train Off the Trail is returning for 2019.

From noon to 3 p.m. Saturday, families can visit Santa and Mrs. Claus aboard an authentic Norfolk Southern Railway caboose, which has been restored by Tom Robinson after being in service from 1944 through 1969.

Robinson is hosting the event at his outdoor storage location at 107 Valley Brook Road in Peters Township, just off the Montour Trail. Youngsters can expect a small gift from Santa, and refreshments will be served.

Along with the vintage caboose, visitors also can see other restored vehicles, including a functioning – and heated! – 1985 trolley car from Kennywood Park.

Sponsoring the event are T.A. Robinson Asphalt Paving Inc. and Bowers School House Preschool and Learning Center, as their gift to the community.

“Experiencing the children’s faces light up when they enter the caboose and Santa is just ahead is the most remarkable feeling,” Bowers School House owner Mary Robinson said. “I was raised with wonderful Christmas memories and traditions, and to start this tradition not only for my children but for our community couldn’t be more fulfilling.”

She expressed gratitude to staff members of both companies for taking the time to help with the event.

The caboose actually has a Christmas theme throughout the year, with a Santa Claus Mailbox next to it for use by young trail users. Mrs. Claus – her first name is somewhat of a mystery, so we’ll call her Jill – sends replies to all the good little girls and boys, and sometimes she’ll drop off a little special something at their houses.

She and Santa will be ready to greet visitors on the Norfolk Southern, and everyone is invited to take plenty of photos for a special bit of holiday posterity.

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