A 32-year tradition kicked off Saturday, Nov. 16 when NBC-5’s Laura Harris and Ronald McDonald emceed the sneak peek breakfast for the Trains at NorthPark. Event chairs Lindy Berkley and Jill Harvey were also on hand to kick off the event.
The model train exhibit uses 1,600 feet of tracks and more than 700 railcars to crisscross America from the Golden Gate Bridge to Grand Central Station, with an extended stop in Dallas, where visitors can view the city in miniature — from the Perot Museum to NorthPark Center to the State Fair. More than 70,000 visitors come to see the trains each season, and it has raised more than $13 million for the Ronald McDonald House of Dallas.
The railcars are sponsored by corporations, organizations, families, and individuals who purchased customized railcars. Organizers say there are still opportunities to purchase a standard railcar for $200, a caboose for $250, a special edition cherry red baggage car for $300, or an engine for $350.
The organization has set a goal this year to help the House serve an additional 50 percent more families annually. RMHD hosted more than 1,400 families last year while their children were being treated for critical illnesses and injuries in the Dallas area, but also had to turn away nearly 800 families because the House was at full capacity. A recent 18,000-square-foot-addition offers six more suites and 24 more guest rooms.
The exhibit, which is presented by the Bank of Texas runs through Jan. 5. Tickets are $7 for adults and $4 for children and seniors, and can be purchased online, at the exhibit, or at participating Tom Thumb stores. Railcars can also be purchased online.