WATERMAN – Rumors of the little train's demise have been greatly exaggerated, according to its owner.
For years, the Waterman & Western Railroad, a 1/4-scale train that runs through Lions Park in Waterman, closed Labor Day weekend and reopened a few weeks later as the Pumpkin Train, an autumn attraction that included spooky decorations and a pumpkin patch where young riders could choose their own pumpkin.
This year, the track in Waterman remains closed for the fall, but the Pumpkin Train has a new home, at Poplar Acres Farm, 39W100 Main St. in Batavia. The annual Holiday Lights and Easter Bunny trains will run in Waterman, owner/operator Pete Robinson said, and the little train will have regular hours next summer.
"We were given an opportunity we couldn't walk away from," Robinson said. "We are not leaving Waterman, but we've got this (new) train here that can make some money to help pay for them (the trains)."
The Waterman & Western has long been a labor of love for Robinson and his wife, Char, often operating at a financial loss as expenses have risen.
Poplar Acres Farm includes such attractions as a corn maze, birthing barn and tractor tram. Admission is $10 and includes one ride on the train; additional rides are $3 each. Robinson said the farm draws larger crowds than the little train could draw on its own in Waterman.
The annual Holiday Lights train, which travels a route decorated with lighted displays, will open at Lions Park in Waterman the Saturday after Thanksgiving, Robinson said. Visits with Santa begin Dec. 6.
For more information on the Waterman & Western Railroad, visit www.petestrain.com. For more on Poplar Acres, visit www.bataviafarms.com.