Trains have long been a part of our Christmas traditions. Even growing up there was always an electric train encircling the tree and the big event in early December was going to see the elaborate miniature display set up at my father’s workplace that could keep kids captivated for hours. Bill and I left our French, British, and American HO-gauge train sets behind when we moved overseas but we certainly have not lost contact with the rails; they are now just much bigger.
France’s national railway museum, La Cité du Train, opened 50 years ago in Mulhouse to showcase this country’s long history with this mode of transportation. While numerous original engines are on display, including the first from 1844, we could especially relate to the “romance” of the dining and sleeping cars from the 1920s. When an employee discovered that we were American (our accent leaves no doubt!) he wanted to be certain that we saw one of the 1,340 steam locomotives sent from the US and Canada in 1945 to help this country recover from WWII. Other highlights for us included Napoleon III’s parlor car from 1856 and President De Gaulle’s office on wheels from 1954. The featured photo above is a wine train from 1900. With that, we wish you a Merry Christmas!
La Cité du Train website: https://www.citedutrain.com/