The Daily Focal Point

December 23, 2008

I hear a train a coming

Filed under: Uncategorized — cabenelson @ 11:56 pm

First of all, did anyone ever see the Polar Express movie that came out a couple of years ago? Was anyone as freaked out as I was during it?!? For some reason, the way the animation was done, it was just creepy. I absolutely loved the story as a kid. I’d flip through the pages and study the illustrations. I’d tell myself that I wouldn’t be like his parents when I got older, that I would always hear the bell.

Visiting my parent’s home in a small town just outside of Park City, they have their own Polar Express. The city still owns and manages one of the oldest operating steam engines in the western US. My parents and their property is within a stones throw from the station and it creeps by twice a day. Hence the name, The Heber Creeper. There isn’t much in this life that is more peaceful than sitting next to the river and listening to the old Heber Creeper chug down the canyon. It’s sound is a low pitch fog horn when it comes to intersections, it takes you completely out of this world of jets and cars. It’s a wonderful sight and sound.

During the winter months, the Heber Ceeper runs a Polar Express theme. Tickets are $32 a person (yes, I know… amazing what they can get away with right?) and they encourage the kids to dress up in their warmest of PJ’s. How amazing of an experience is it for a wide-eyed child to step onto a real steam engine? To look out their windows and see snow covered fields and mountains? To hear and feel the trains engine chug? My entire family went on it a few years back and it really was just an amazing experience. They serve hot cocoa, the only lights inside are Christmas lights hung from the ceiling, and they put on a good show. Just before the train departs, they sneak out a smaller train with Santa stashed inside. The smaller train goes first and drops Santa off down the canyon. As the main train full of all the little kiddies creeps down the canyon the see themselves a “Real” Santa on their way to the North Pole. Cool right?

I wanted to document it this year for free (hello? We’re in a recession) and share it with you all.

Excuse the low light. It had just snowed like crazy and was a short break between another storm hit.


No Heber Creeper down this way…

Just starting to depart from the station…

Cue the insanely loud fog horn…



See the Christmas lights inside?


Have fun kids… and wave hi to Santa for me. The spirit of Christmas is still strong with me after all of these years.



  1. Dude, that looks like the Trans-Siberian Railway. Brrrr. Good shots.

    Comment by Audubon Ron — December 24, 2008 @ 11:12 am

  2. No apologies for the lighting. It creates a very cool blue hue in all the shots that makes them look cold and kinda mysterious. Perfect for what I think you’re trying to accomplish. I really like the ones with the Railroad Crossing sign and the blurred train in the background.

    Comment by Danny — December 24, 2008 @ 12:46 pm

  3. OM gosh you can take any background and make it look great! I’m reading!

    Merry Christmas!!! and have a blesses New year!

    Comment by Sugar — December 24, 2008 @ 1:11 pm

  4. Oops! I meant Blessed!

    Comment by Sugar — December 24, 2008 @ 1:20 pm

  5. I miss the Heber Creeper. Haven’t been in years and years and years.

    Thanks for sharing it!!

    Comment by Liv — December 24, 2008 @ 3:53 pm

  6. Cabe – Wonder, wonder shots. Oh what fun this looks like too. We have a Christmas train that goes to Jackson, TN, with a similar theme – but not as beautiful. You can choose a Christmas tree on this one too I believe. That may be next year for our twins.

    I love the blue hue too.

    Comment by Kathleen — December 24, 2008 @ 5:21 pm

  7. I love the low light and the blue, too. Merry Christmas!

    Comment by KJ — December 25, 2008 @ 12:37 pm

  8. Don’t apologise! The low light is cool. It creates an ambience that hard to imagine otherwise.

    I love the movie! It’s a new holiday favorite. We bought the train to go around the tree this year and I’ll probably post it tonight- after clinic- as my Friday’s Photo challenge! 🙂

    Comment by — December 25, 2008 @ 9:31 pm

  9. Cabe, I love your photography. LOVE it. It inspires me to be better.

    Comment by tiff — January 10, 2009 @ 3:28 pm

  10. What a small world!!! I used to live in Salt Lake City and I’ve ridden the Heber Creeper many times. That was always my favorite thing to do with out-of-town company. Your photos are absolutely inspiring and reminds me of how much I miss Utah at times.

    Comment by Brian — January 11, 2009 @ 3:04 pm

  11. Hello Cabe!

    Spectacular low light and all! My favorite is the third one just as it’s leaving the station…that beacon of light contrasting the pristine white…wow!

    Lovely and I will be back often to visit.

    Nice meeting you! (via Sheila’s site)

    Comment by Henie — January 11, 2009 @ 5:43 pm

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