All aboard the Santa train

The Tribune (NZ) - - YOUR PAPER, YOUR PLACE - NI­CHOLAS MCBRIDE

It wasn’t quite the Po­lar Ex­press, but chil­dren aboard the pop­u­lar Es­planade rail­way still got a glimpse of Santa.

Santa and Mrs Claus stopped by on Satur­day and Sun­day much to the glee of the at­trac­tion’s young pas­sen­gers.

It was the sec­ond year that the hus­band and wife team had taken time out of their busy sched­ule to hand out toys and lol­lies to chil­dren rid­ing past.

Es­planade Scenic Rail­way vice-pres­i­dent Grant Tay­lor said they in­vited Santa along as a way to thank the public for their sup­port dur­ing the year.

This year about 67,000 pas­sen­gers had trav­elled on the trains.

The rail­way is no stranger to host­ing spe­cial guests, hav­ing Easter Bunny hop by over the Easter break, with ghouls and demons haunt­ing the tracks dur­ing Hal­loween.

Yuliya Gul­tekin brought her 4-year-old daugh­ter Di­lara down for a Santa-train ride.

‘‘She thought it was re­ally cool.’’

Gul­tekin said they vis­ited the train almost once a week and said it was a great com­mu­nity as­set.

Ann-Ma­ree Thomp­son brought her chil­dren, Zachary, 1, and Jaz­zlyn, 4, over from Whanganui for the day, with the added bonus of see­ing Santa.

‘‘They were sur­prised to see him. They each got a toy and a lolly. It has been re­ally nice.’’

PHOTO: MUR­RAY WIL­SON/ FAIRFAX NZ

Santa and Mrs Claus put smiles on the faces of fam­i­lies rid­ing the Es­planade rail­way over the week­end.

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