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Monday October 16th 2017

Track or Treat Halloween Express: 20 years of family fun at New Hope Valley Railway

Halloween-2014

On the last two Saturdays in October, New Hope Valley Railway (NHVR) will offer train rides and family fun in the rail yard during Track or Treat Halloween Express.

This year, marks the 20th year of the family-friendly event, which takes place on Oct. 24 and Oct. 31, with Ghost Train excursions departing at 4, 5:15, 6:30 and 7:45 p.m. An additional 2:30 p.m. train departure time is being added on Oct. 31.

Tickets are $13 for adults and children (2 and under free) and should be purchased in advance at www.TriangleTrain.com. Visitors are encouraged to arrive at least 30 minutes prior to their train departure time.

The first Halloween Train departed Bonsal on Oct. 26, 1996 with 184 riders and was organized by NHVR member Walt Williams and his wife Brenda. Along with others on the all-volunteer railroad staff, they planned and carried out the annual Halloween activities for 11 years.

“Someone suggested a Halloween ride and we jumped on the opportunity to organize it and invite the community out to our rail yard to ride the trains,” said Walt Williams. “Each year, we were looking for ways to make it more fun by adding little details and more to see.”

Today, Track or Treat Halloween Express has grown into a two-Saturday event during the end of October. Along the 8-mile round trip train route, riders will see interactive Halloween scenes. The decorated haunted rail yard will include a 20-foot black cat and pumpkins atop the North Carolina Railroad Museum store train car singing Monster Mash, Ghostbusters and Michael Jackson’s Thriller.

Visitors to a stationary train caboose in the rail yard will meet palm reader Iseemore the Magnificent and Dr. CO2, the creator of magical boo bubbles. Children and adults are encouraged to wear their costumes and each child will receive a small gift before the train ride, while supplies last. The earlier train ride times are recommended for younger riders who may be frightened by the Halloween characters.

Bruster’s Real Ice Cream of Apex will serve cups of homemade ice cream in a variety of flavors including pumpkin patch, pumpkin cheesecake, orange sherbet, chocolate cookie dough and Oreo. Attendees can add sprinkles, M&Ms, gummi worms and whipping cream as toppings. Ice cream is not included in the ticket price.

“We strive to make our Track or Treat Halloween Express event suitable for all ages to enjoy. It’s a fun event for both children and those who are still children at heart,” said Dave Chasco, NHVR marketing director.

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