The Christmas train is up and rolling at Bear Creek Park this holiday season, but new owners have taken the reins this year.
The train, which was owned by the Penn family for roughly two decades, was recently sold to new owner Jassy Hans.
Linda Penn is still helping Hans adjust, to give everybody the perfect experience at the attraction.
“During our transition (Linda) has helped me,” Hans said. Penn kept in contact with the new owners daily during the transition, even while she had gone out of town.
Hans, who also runs Creative Explorers Daycare, felt that the Bear Creek Train would be a great addition to her daycare. Now any child who registers for her daycare gets a free year’s membership to the train.
She’s decided to bring back one family favourite attraction. “We found out that 10 years ago there was a Night Light Train… so we decided to do a Night Light Train show 10 years later,” she said.
The evening light show was a huge hit with families until lights started getting stolen in the middle of the night, revealed Hans, who has a solution to that problem.
“We have a security guard here all the time,” she said, protecting the light show from any Grinches trying to ruin this train’s Christmas.
“Seeing all the families just come together, and make it like an evening thing for them” is a huge payoff, Hans said.
There was some uncertainty about the train’s future after the passing of longtime owner David Penn in the summer of 2012, after his battle with leukemia.
While David was the figurehead, Linda had been with him all along, and took things over before selling this year.
Some thought it was the end of the line for one of Surrey’s most beloved institutions. After all, David had been the face, chief engineer and spiritual leader almost since the little locomotive’s first foray through the leased Bear Creek Forest some 16 year earlier.
While the much-loved Surrey attraction has changed hands, many of the same staff are running the show. The train still has a family of its own.
Barbara Krezanowski, with family members Bonnie and Jack and family friend Brian, have worked with the Bear Creek Train for over a decade.
Hans has enthusiastically kept them aboard the ship. From answering the phone, to driving the train and even making the artwork, the staff do it all.
“The smile on the kids’ faces” is the best part of the job, Hans mused.
“We are here to make their experience good,” Jack said.
“I just like making the kids happy,” Brian added.
And now, with the train being wheelchair accessible, everybody can enjoy their perfect Christmas train experience for the holidays.
The train runs through to Jan. 7, with the exception of Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. It runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily, with the Night Light train running from 6 to 10 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday. Tickets are $10, or $35 for a family of four. Children under age two ride free.
Check out the train at Bear Creek Park, at 13750 88th Ave., or call 604-501-1232.
-With files from Black Press