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A definite family-first steam powered trip with lots of activities for Kids.

Christmas In July 2020

By John S. Halajko, TCA 84-20653                            Summer 2020

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.


Here is the Reading & Northern Pacific Locomotive that burns anthracite.

Lots of guest visitors appear in the aisles.
They pass out lots of smiles and family memories.
The farm scenery is still rustic.

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.


This two-rail scale O-Gauge layout on the second floor was almost complete in December of 2019.

The main building has the entire second floor dedicated to this museum quality layout. The track plan is one long loop with multiple sidings.

They are always open to making special memories for people in training

Remember, they run conventional DC controls.

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.

https://youtu.be/pPqcaxM1Iow      https://youtu.be/1Wjnfc0Qxao
https://youtu.be/lhl-RWvBE1U

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.


Their 3-rail layout can run many trains.

Here is the start of their HO layout. Checkout the pictures on the walls.
Really cool real railroad stuff and a mainenance shop are squeezed into the ground floor.

The frame of their live steam engine. The boiler was out for repair.
They store their large yard diesel in the first floor covered siding.

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.


They sell almost everything for decorating your home for Christmas.

You name the decoration and they may have it.

They mix in outdoor and indoor stuff.

They even have Rudolf in white.

A good assortment of Manger sets are available.

Lots to explore and I even found an animated TRAIN item:  https://youtu.be/KIGTmM_iMUs

As you can see, Joanie enjoyed the make-it-take-it pesentation.

Second Decade.
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