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Trains, Trees and Gingerbread
Written by Larry Roeder Editor

The Reading Company Technical and Historical Society is hosting a special railroad themed exhibit titled, "Trains, Trees and Gingerbread" at the Reading Railroad Heritage Museum in Hamburg. Among the many exhibits is this gingerbread depiction of the Pine Grove station which included a gingerbread steam engine.

        For the second year, the Reading Company Technical and Historical Society (RCT&HS) is hosting a special railroad themed exhibit titled, "Trains, Trees and Gingerbread" at the Reading Railroad Heritage Museum, 500 South Third Street in Hamburg, PA. 

                The Train, Trees and Gingerbread exhibit opened Nov. 30 and will run through Jan. 18, 2015.

                The "N", "HO" and "O" gauge model trains are up and running for enthusiasts to enjoy, but the holiday contest displays are the eye-catcher and crowd-pleaser.

                This year's exhibit includes a tree decorating contest and gingerbread train station contest that features interesting, colorful, original and downright yummy looking creations.

                My host for the trip into the holiday display was Carol Adams, who serves as the chairperson of the long-range planning committee of RCT&HS.  Carol has been volunteering at the museum for many years and upon my Sunday morning arrival, she was putting the finishing touches on the exhibit.

                When you enter the changing exhibit room of the museum, your eyes are met with Christmas trees, beautifully decorated using the railroad theme.  Creativity was on display with steam engines and other train accessories, made out of pasta and brightly decorated, hanging from the tree of John Paul II Learning Center in Shillington.  Next to the Shillington entry was one from Palm Schwenkfelder Church displaying steam engines, cardboard cut-outs made from cookie cutters.  There were trees entered by a number of groups, including Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts troops. Next to the trees were smaller exhibits that highlighted the organizations and their entries.

                Christmas customs from Poland and Silesia were among some of the learning presentations.  Among the educational material and artifacts was a wonderful assortment of cookies – goodies baked and put on display for all to admire and desire.  Even better were the recipes for those goodies, sitting atop the glass cabinets, for you to take home to try your hand at.

                A seasonal photo display of trains and stations from Dale Woodland sat at the head of the room.  According to Adams, Woodland hails from Souderton and it was easy to tell because some of the iconic photos featured were of area stations in their snow-covered splendor.

                A feast for the eyes sits in the dual display cabinets in the middle of the room; gingerbread buildings – all built in the railroad theme.  Using cookies, candy, wafers and lots of other goodies, these edible structures are sure to please.  Adams said that "some of the entries are constructed by entire families … some are as young as 5 years old."

                The scrumptious-looking red roof of the West Leesport station and the majestic gingerbread rendition of the Klapperthal Junction tower are just two of the works of tasty-looking art, presented to tease your senses.  From the Santa Xpress to the Willie Wonka-style display, you may find yourself having the urge to open the glass door and swipe a finger-full of icing or grab a piece of candy that you think no one will miss.

                Railroad enthusiasts, young and not-so-young, would do well to make this exhibit at the Reading Railroad Museum a must for their seasonal activities.

                When you're finished enjoying the exhibit, you can stroll through the rest of the museum and feast your senses on Reading Railroad artifacts of days gone by.  Weather permitting, you can even take a tour of the scores of railroad engines and cars in the railyard behind the museum.

                Top off your seasonal visit with a stop in the museum's gift shop and you can satisfy the railroad enthusiast on your list.

                The museum is open on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sundays, noon to 4 p.m.  Admission is $7 for adults, seniors (65-plus) $6, Children (5–12) $3 and children under five years of age are free.  RCT&HS members are free.  Groups of 10 or more are $5 each, but must pre-arrange their visit at least two weeks in advance.

                For more information or to join the RCT&HS visit their website at or call the museum at (610) 562-5513.






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