Restoration Notes: A Day in the Life of a Railway Museum.

Saturday, December 23, 2000

Santa Fe Claus Ops 2000, an update from Greg Ramsey

Today was to be the annual Christmas Operations day with Santa Fe Claus, the railway Santa who is a distant cousin of the real Santa Claus.  It was going to be a real long day for some folks.  Yvonne, my wife, was also scheduled to take her Engineer's test today.  So at 6:15 a.m. the alarm went off and I shoved her out of bed, and promptly fell back asleep. 

By 8:45 a.m. my daughter, Jenny, in her Santa's Helper outfit and I were in the truck and on our way to the Park.  When we arrived, I saw the "Charley Atkins" idling with the cabooses up at the platform and a few people milling around.  But no Gordon, Yvonne or Santa.  But before long, Yvonne and Gordon appeared from alongside the train, I assumed out of one of the cabooses. Looks like people were smiling.  She must have passed her test.

About this time, Jim Hoffmann called us all back into the compound for the daily briefing.  And he announced that both Yvonne had passed today and Mike Vitalle had passed the previous week. 

First shift had Mike in the cab with Chris Rippy and helper. I was off, but did cover flagman for some of the shift. 

Santa arrived and made his entrance about 10:30 a.m.  Rather than walk through the cabooses all day as he has done in the past, the crew pushed the speeder up across from the loading platform and he sat there and let kids come to him, while Jenny bounced around passing out candy canes. 

2nd shift moved Chris to the Engineer's seat and I took over as helper. Yvonne, who had left to go shopping after Santa got all set up, returned and barbequed some chicken for the crew lunch.  For the 3rd shift, Yvonne got her first chance to be an engineer for a revenue run and, though I am admittedly biased, she did an excellent job. Chris Rippy was again her helper, Darlene was conductor and I was brakeman.  In other words, for once, I got to tell her where to go. Attendance overall for all the first 3 shifts was moderate but steady.

Bryan Reese was also in attendance all day, working on the M.177 Motorcar with his small crew of helpers.

I had to make a quick last minute run to Fry's before we headed home to cleanup for Christmas dinner, so I left at the start of the 4th shift, made a trip over to the crane (see "Moving The Crane", Part 1 and Part 2 ) to check on it and talk to it's neighbors and then headed over to Fry's. 



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Copyright 2000. The Southern California Scenic Railway Association Inc.