Thomas Has Left The Room (for this year)

I’m home. I’m cold (though warming up). I’m tired (I’ll take care of that in a bit). I’m sore.

Let me back up. Yesterday and today I worked a A Day Out With Thomas. This is a special railfest when we put Thomas the Tank Engine in front of a consist of passenger cars, with OERM 1956 at the back (doing the real work, but don’t tell anyone, because children do believe in Thomas). Is this big? You tell me. At a typical rail festival, we’re lucky to have 2,500 attendees over two days. When Thomas comes to town: 6300, 1st Saturday; 5900, 1st Sunday; 3100, Friday; 6060, 2nd Saturday (yesterday); and 5500, 2nd Sunday (today). So this is a big event. By Sunday evening, everything in the Thomas merch tent was sold. Folks take Thomas seriously.

Yesterday, I worked in Car House #1. No problem. I like working Car House #1. It is where we have the narrow gauge LARy cars, together with an SF Muni Cable Car and Kyoto 19. So I know enough to explain stuff about the cars and the routes.

Today. We woke up to rain. Heavy rain. This is not a good thing, as the museum is not fully paved. Furthermore, it was frigging cold. There was snow on the mountains around Riverside, snow in Hemet, even a dusting of snow at the Museum. I don’t think it got over 42 degrees during the day today. We get to the museum. Many assignments were rained out: the Mother’s Tent was in the middle of Hostrum Lake (nee Park), and the Activities tent was mostly muddy slosh under astroturf. But my assignments were still good. I spent the morning finding a new home for the Sir Topham Hat character: we ended up improvising a changing room in Car House #1, draping ropes and tarps and making lines. My last two shifts were outside, helping load people onto the trains and serving as an attendent. I just froze and was my jacket soaking wet, and had to give up. About every other trip I was going over to Town Hall to defrost. My hip was giving out, my shoulder was sore, my fingers were numb, my parka was soaked through. How cold? In the afternoon, it was 38°! We ended up leaving around 4:30 PM.

I think I prefer spring railfest! Thomas will be back in Perris next November.