News Release - December 10, 2008

For Immediate Release: December 10, 2008

Contacts: Michelle Jeffers (415) 557-4282

Power the Polar Express at the Main Library

From the outside came the sounds of hissing steam and squeaking metal. I looked through my window and saw a train standing perfectly still in front of my house-Chris Van Allsburg, The Polar Express.

The Library is presenting a magical winter wonderland, All Aboard: San Francisco Public Library Holiday Train, an interactive display featuring beloved trains from children's literature. Now in its third year, the electric toy train layout features the Polar Express, from the book by Chris Van Allsburg, and Thomas the Tank Engine, from the book series by W. Awdry. The trains will be on display in front of the Fisher Children's Center, Main Library, second floor, through Jan. 9, 2009.

Visitors can power the interactive exhibit themselves by pushing the buttons that activate each train along the 35-foot-track. Over the course of the exhibit, it is estimated the trains will travel more than 200 miles. Buttons also activate ski gondolas, a Ferris wheel, animated sledders and village lights inside the glass-enclosed exhibit. Large buttons, with easy-to-read signage, make the display readily accessible to young children.

The holiday train display is the work of Roberto Lombardi, the Library's Facilities Director, and his staff from the Facilities Engineering Unit.

"The Fisher Children's Center is such a remarkable place for children. We wanted to create a holiday exhibit that everyone could get excited about," said Lombardi, who has collected model trains since childhood.

The six-car Polar Express and Thomas the Tank Engine and his friends Clarabel and Annie are all Lionel O scale replicas. An additional display case identifies the different scale model trains. After pushing the buttons, young train enthusiasts can also visit the Children's Center and check out books about trains.

This exhibit is free and open to the public.

For more information, please call (415) 557-4277.

Take our survey