CARVER (WBSM) — Railfans of all ages gathered at Edaville Family Theme Park in Carver on Sunday for a very special event celebrating the full-time return of steam engines during the recent Festival of Lights.

Back before the 2023 Festival of Lights season started, Edaville’s operations team of Brian Fanslau and Hannah Harriman told us they planned on running exclusively steam engines this winter.

They succeeded in doing so, and to celebrate, they ran a “Double-Headed Steam Special” train on the afternoon of New Year’s Eve.

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Engine 3 and Engine 11 teamed up to pull an open-air car, five coaches and the caboose while dozens of passengers ranging from casual Edaville fans to hardcore train nuts enjoyed a rare midday ride that was advertised as history in the making.

Tim Weisberg/Townsquare Media
Tim Weisberg/Townsquare Media
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Since this was a special train that was leaving before the park opened, we boarded just inside the front gate of Edaville for a noon departure. The ride was two hours long, and featured a number of stops for photo and video opportunities.

The train first took us into the station inside the park, where it stopped for a few moments before beginning the trek out to the Atwood Reservoir. It was a chance to get out along a portion of the original line, which Fanslau, Harriman and their team have been working to restore.

Since the Santa’s Express train usually rides out to that portion of the property, there were some Christmas decorations along the route that aren’t seen along the usual ride. It was also great to see the lighthouse out on the reservoir.

Tim Weisberg/Townsquare Media
Tim Weisberg/Townsquare Media
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Getting the chance to disembark on the shores of the same reservoir where thousands of Edaville patrons would spend hot summer days swimming and sunbathing back in the days of Edaville founder Ellis D. Atwood was a real treat for an Edaville nerd like myself.

Riding out along the old line made me wistful for the days of seeing the original Peacedale, the cow jumping over the moon, the Rudolph sign with the light-up red nose, and so many other Edaville memories.

Still, check out our photo galleries below for a look at the Double-Headed Steam Special, some of the sights from along the ride, and then some behind-the-scenes glimpses into Edaville’s past, now tucked away in storage.

A Trip on Edaville's Double-Headed Steam Special

On December 31, 2023, Edaville Family Theme Park in Carver, Massachusetts celebrated an entire Christmas season running exclusively steam trains with a Double-Headed Steam Special, with Engine 3 and Engine 11 working in tandem to take a train out to parts of the park not usually seen.

Gallery Credit: Tim Weisberg

Behind the Scenes at Edaville in Carver, Massachusetts

We combed through the attic and climbed through the storage area and the attic at Edaville, everyone's favorite holiday-themed amusement park in Carver, Massachusetts to find some of the vintage decorations from the visits of our youth that are still kept on the grounds as well as in our hearts.

Gallery Credit: Tim Weisberg

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