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On track to the holidays

Santa, riding the Holiday Toy Express, stops in Newhall for local crowd

Posted: November 26, 2012 2:00 a.m.
Updated: November 26, 2012 2:00 a.m.

Hundreds watch as the Holiday Toy Express pulls into the Jan Heidt Metrolink station in Newhall on Saturday.

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It’s official, the holiday season has arrived with Santa Claus stopping in Newhall Sunday night on the Metrolink Holiday Toy Express.

Hundreds crowded on either side of the railway tracks at the Metrolink station in Newhall, waiting for Santa to arrive.

At 7:10 p.m., when the train bedecked with Christmas lights was seen approaching and the crossing gate lights flashed the crowd exploded in squeals.

The crowd grew in height by the size of a child when adults suddenly lifted them on their shoulders.

James and Lissa Miller brought their daughters Alexis, 7, and Caycee, 3, returned to the event this year, making it their own family tradition.

“I loved it,” said the childrens’ grandmother Loretta Garcia. “It’s the spirit of Christmas.”

That spirit was abundant in Christmas carols sung by the Canyon Theatre Guild, with the smell of hot chocolate served up by the Old Time Newhall Association.

The line of families donating toys was as long as the line for those wanting hot chocolate.

Firefighters with the Los Angeles County Fire Department backed a truck up next to the hot chocolate stand. Those standing in the back of it, bagged donated toys and soon filled the flatbed with gifts.

“We’re having a wonderful time,” said Liz Skyler as her twin grandkids — Hayden and Georgia, both 5 — waited in line to give firefighters a donated toy.

Donated items for those attending included bite-sized cupcakes made by Dulces & Company, hot chocolate donated by Tresierras Super Market in Newhall and cookies by Jasmine’s Bakery, also in Newhall.

“They’ll all be gone before you know it,” said Suzie Szabo, of the Old Town Newhall Association.

Erik Zierhut brought his family from their home in Canyon Country to Newhall after having watched the holiday train roll through Canyon Country last year without stopping.

“I decided a quick fly-by wasn’t good enough,” he said.

His daughters — Taylor, 8, and Nicole, 5 — remember pieces of the Holiday train from a couple of years ago.

“I remember a lady talking about Christmas dressed kind of like an elf,” the older one said.

Their mother, Joy, said of the younger one: “I think she fell asleep last time.”

But, the memories all returned in a flash of Christmas lights when the train stopped in front of them.

Santa Clarita City Councilman TimBen Boydston — introduced by elf-clad actors as the “CEO of good cheer” — thanked attendees for showing up, thanked his family and the volunteers.

Sunday’s arrival of the “toy train” marked the 16th year gathering up donated toys to be distributed by Child Family Services.

The crowd was treated to a song sung by singing reindeer and brief skit on the top of a box car.

To cap the experience as truly a holiday one — it snowed.

Snow — not the real stuff — showered families standing near the tracks.

There was a dance version of Rudolph The Nosed Reindeer sung by the actors, then the train pulled out.

To return next year.




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