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Wednesday, April 3, 2013
Donna Deekens is chasing a train — a train from the past, that is.
Deekens, the former Miller & Rhoads Snow Queen and author of “Christmas at Miller & Rhoads,” is now working on a book about Santa Claus trains, or trains that conveyed the jolly fellow from station to station for the delight of children.
One such train ran in Richmond from the mid-1950s to the early 1970s, she said, but her research also has uncovered the fact that Miller & Rhoads in Roanoke had a Santa train that ran from Roanoke to Salem and back.
George Bryson, a retired Miller & Rhoads executive, told Deekens that the store indeed had a steam-powered train that ran during the holiday seasons of 1958 and 1959. After that, steam was replaced by diesel and the expense was too high to continue the train, she said.
Deekens is searching for more information about the Miller & Rhoads Santa Claus train for her book. She asks that anyone who remembers the train, participated in the excursions or has photos please contact her to share their memories.
Deekens can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org or contacted by phone at 804-240-8436.
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