At the Saratoga Springs rail station, children and their families wave Nov. 11 to elves transporting letters to Santa on the Saratoga-North Creek Railway toward the legendary North Pole. The event was staged by the railway as a kickoff of their extremely popular Polar Express holiday storybook excursions which start Nov. 15 and continue through December.
Photo by Thom Randall.
SARATOGA SPRINGS Accompanied by his grandfather, Kai Fronk — a 12-year-old boy from Wilton — gazed wide-eyed at a bright-red caboose as it was pulled out of the Saratoga train station Monday Nov. 11.
The caboose’s porch was filled with young adults dressed as elves, bearing bags full of letters penned by area children and addressed to Santa. The youngsters who wrote the letters were on the station’s platform, cheering and waving at the train as it sounded its horn, fired up its locomotive and headed off for the legendary North Pole.
The event was a promotion to kick off the Saratoga-North Creek Railway’s Polar Express storybook holiday excursions, running several trains six days per week through Christmas.
Minutes after the train’s departure, Kai Fronk’s expression was transformed into a gleeful smile, as he was one of three children chosen from among dozens of contestants to be a “Junior Conductor” on a Wednesday run.
The random choice could not have been more appropriate. Since he was a toddler, the boy has played with model trains with his father and grandfather, building extensive train layouts in his family’s basement, the boy explained after his selection was announced.
“I’m obsessed with trains,” Kai said, noting he was given his first train model set just months after his birth.
The family’s enthusiasm for trains has extended to taking quite a few trip on the Saratoga-North Creek Railway, explained Kai’s grandfather, William Fronk Sr.
“We’ve had a wonderful time,” he said, hugging Kai.
Hillary Izzo of Stillwater and her young children Daniel and Isabella were among those delivering holiday letters to the elves for delivery to Santa.
“This is a great event to find out about the Polar Express — my kids are really excited — and we’ll be taking our first trip this year,” Izzo said.