We were afraid it wasn’t going to happen. We had reservations to ride the Christmas train at Huckleberry Railroad, which is part of Crossroads Village, near Flint, Michigan. The weather people were forecasting a horrendous storm that would likely be the worst the state had ever seen. It didn’t happen quite that way.
We were to ride the 4 o’clock Christmas train on Friday, December 23. We discovered it was possible to transfer our reservations from Friday to Thursday, so we made the switch. We went to Crossroads Village on Thursday the 22nd, and went directly to the train station.
Crossroads Village is a beautiful place with great historical value. All of the buildings in the village were moved on site from various locations around the state. The rail line was originally part of the Flint and Pere Marquette Railroad (Wikipedia). The passenger cars are from various railroads, built in the 1800s, and restored by the crew at the Huckleberry Railroad.
Huckleberry Railroad owns several locomotives. The engine that powered our train was the 1920 Baldwin 4-6-0 #152. The steam locomotive was originally part of the Alaska Railroad (Wikipedia.) Any opportunity I have to ride a train pulled by a steam engine is a treat.
The story is told that on the original railroad, trains moved so slowly through the area, passengers could jump off the train, pick huckleberries, and climb back on the end of the train before it passed.
There is nothing like riding on a train, hearing the clicking of the wheels under the floor, and feeling the gentle rocking of the car as it rolls across the old rails. When we exited the train, we could see the back of the caboose was beautifully decorated with Christmas lights.
Christmas is a special time to visit Crossroads Village. Volunteers spend many hours decorating the buildings and hanging lights from all of the trees. One of the main attractions is the huge tree that is almost solid lights. There must be a million twinkle lights on the tree.
One of the best attractions for me is the HO scale layout, owned by the Mid-Michigan Railway Historical Society. The club members operate the modular layout by radio control with several trains running at the same time. No matter where anyone is around the large model railroad, there is a train rolling close by.
It is obvious all of the structures on the layout were built by folks with a lot of skill. The models are very attractive and inspiring for model railroaders like me.
We have been to Crossroads Village and the Huckleberry Railroad many times. When our grandchildren were young, we purchased an annual membership and were able to go to CVHR any time we wanted to. We took advantage of the opportunity as often as we could.
Visiting Crossroads Village and the Huckleberry Railroad is always fun, any time of the year.