A holiday tradition for thousands of families across northeast Oklahoma is on hold. The Christmas Train at Dry Gulch won't be leaving the station this year.
News on 6 anchor Craig Day says the attraction is closed for major renovations.
Most years, by this time, thousands of people would have already visited the Christmas Train at Dry Gulch, but this year, the old west town is empty, except for construction crews. Roy Evans with Dry Gulch USA: "We're turning Dry Gulch into a very special place, more special than it is now, for the people to come and bring their families and enjoy the wonderful Christmas season."
The Christmas Train at Dry Gulch is taking a year off for renovations. There will be a new 12,000 square foot theater. A new railroad depot will enable people to get on and off the train more quickly and comfortably and New Christmas scenes will highlight the season.
Dry Gulch is also making a number of other improvements. They'll pave the remaining gravel streets. This should make a big difference for accessibility, especially when the weather is bad. And they'll also add a couple of extra coffee shops and some more retail shopping areas. Roy Evans: "What we're trying to do is to make Dry Gulch bigger and better than ever before to accommodate more people and make it more people friendly than ever."
All of the changes amount to a million dollars worth of improvements. Roy Evans: "The main thing is we want to make sure that when people come to Dry Gulch that they experience the very special Christmas Season and that we can handle the numbers very comfortable."
So for this season, the attraction's 50,000 visitors will have to put plans on hold, but next year, the 10th anniversary of the Christmas Train, should be a holiday season to remember.
The improvements will also help with other activities at Dry Gulch throughout the year. 10,000 summer campers visit the attraction each year.