Holiday train display moves to SCCL Lodge

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Model trains will run on enhanced layout through Dec. 27

by Joe Silien/Railroad Club of Carolina Lakes
The big news from the Railroad Club at Carolina Lakes this year is that the annual holiday display will be at The Lodge at Sun City, rather than The Lake House. This move, to the community’s newest amenity center, is intended to be the centerpiece of a host of holiday activities at the new location at 2955 Sun City Blvd., at the intersection of Del Webb and Sun City boulevards.
This year’s model railroad holiday display builds upon the one offered by the club last year. While last year’s railroad was fun to see, it was rather bare bones and represented phase one of a multi-year program of planning and building. The 2018 version features new elevated scenic modules and brings back the push-button operating accessories so popular with the kids.
Trains will operate on three separate main lines and will often feature Lion Chief remote control technology. When one of these Lion Chief locomotives is on the track, it may be controlled through a hand-held device by even our youngest visitors.
The ever-popular “Thomas the Tank Engine” returns, along with Annie and Clarabelle, and may be operated by visitors. Joining Thomas are a powerful Union Pacific freight diesel and a Mikado 2-8-2 type steam engine with all the bells and whistles.
Three Lion Chief complete train sets will be raffled off again. They include a traditional “Thomas the Tank Engine” set and two diesel freight sets, one headed by a CSX locomotive and the other by a Burlington Northern Santa Fe unit. The sale of raffle tickets is the main source of financial support for the club. Proceeds allow the club to invest in improvements to the display.
Trains in the holiday display will begin operating today, Dec. 5, through Thursday, Dec. 27. On Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, trains will run from 5 to 7:30 p.m. On Saturdays – Dec. 8, 15 and 22 – they will run from noon to 2 p.m.
On Dec. 15, there will be a reading of “The Polar Express” before the trains start running. Dean Brasseur, director of customer service at Lionel, will be a special guest at the reading and will be glad to answer your questions about Lionel trains, old and new.
On Saturday, Dec. 22, there will be an evening reading of “The Polar Express” at 5 p.m., followed by the raffle drawing for the three train sets.
In response to many requests, the trains will be operated between the Christmas and New Year holidays when many kids are out of school. The special operations will be from noon to 2 p.m. and from 5 to 7 p.m. Dec. 26 and 27.
The holiday train display is  a labor of love, designed, built and operated by the 90 members of the Railroad Club of Carolina Lakes. The club welcomes the Indian Land community to the display during published operating hours.