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Ride on historic steam train ushers in Christmas
season for Athens Creek residents

December 19th, 2018

Riding the historic Kettle Valley Steam Railway is high on the experience list for many residents and visitors to the Okanagan Valley. To do so at Christmas, with lights, carols, and the man in red himself, is particularly popular. As the sun was going down the afternoon of December 13, about 20 residents and care partners from Points West Living Athens Creek in Penticton boarded the train for a one hour tour.

Summerland Christmas Express Train

The train departs from the nearby town of Summerland, and residents were all smiles as they headed by bus for the rail station. After a brief and social wait on the platform, they boarded the Summerland Christmas Express Train.

Rail car warm and inviting

“The weather may have been cool,” says recreation coordinator Ellie Bertrand, who, along with her five-year-old daughter Kate, came for the ride, “but the atmosphere in the restored vintage Canyon View rail car was warm and inviting with Christmas lights and brightly coloured decorative packages.”

Vintage 3717 locomotive sparkling

Passengers enjoyed views of Christmas lights on the homes along the rail line, and those watching the train pass by enjoyed seeing the gleaming old ‘3717’ locomotive steam past draped in sparkling white lights. The engine was built in 1912, and pulled rail cars loaded with Okanagan fruit to market and distribution on the BC coast.

Santa and Mrs. Claus

“We were joined by local pageant winners and a musician playing guitar and singing Christmas carols,” says Ellie. “Our group joined in the singing, with requests for Silent Night and Jingle Bells.”

“The trip was topped off with a visit from Mrs. Claus and Saint Nicolas himself,” says Ellie, adding that her daughter Kate sat on Santa’s knee for the first time and, “talked her seat-mates’ ears off the whole trip, and played games like eye-spy and guess-the-animal with them.”

Returned in perfect holiday spirits

After the train ride, everyone stopped for dinner at the Beijing Summerland restaurant. “Deep-fried wontons, fried rice, Singapore noodles, and almond chicken where included and the dishes passed around our table of twenty,” says Ellie. “We all returned home full and happy, and in perfect holiday spirits.”

Photo: PWL Athens Creek residents Donna Schellenberg and Elaine Kasiol disembark following a Christmas lights rail tour

More photos at Flickr: Ride on historic steam train ushers in Christmas season for Athens Creek residents

KVR Steam Railway photo gallery

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