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08.30.12 - The Trains at NorthPark Celebrates its 25th Anniversary with New Features

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
PHOTOS AVAILABLE UPON REQUEST

Media contact: Juliette Coulter, 214.394.5532,

New Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge to Debut

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DALLAS, Texas (Fall 2012) – The Trains at NorthPark, presented by Bank of Texas, will celebrate its 25th anniversary this holiday season. Benefiting the Ronald McDonald House of Dallas, The Trains at NorthPark will roll from November 17, 2012 through January 6, 2013. The attraction will again be at NorthPark Center, located on Level Two between Barneys New York and Nordstrom. Attracting more than 80,000 people annually, The Trains at NorthPark is the most elaborate miniature holiday trains exhibit in all of Texas, with locomotives traveling on a journey across America, past Dallas’ skyline, New York City, San Francisco, New England and Washington, D.C. In honor of its 25th anniversary, the exhibit has been updated with new landmarks. In addition to the favorite hand-painted railcars available for purchase, there is also a limited edition silver anniversary boxcar available this season.

Additions to the exhibit include Dallas’ new skyline icon, the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge, which opened earlier this year. San Francisco will be even more recognizable with moving trolley cars, Pier 39, Fisherman’s Wharf and a few more surprises around the San Francisco Bay. Albuquerque has been added, with hot air balloons that go up and down, a nod to the city’s hot air balloon festival. Children and adults will discover trains rolling simultaneously, even on different levels, as well as interactive buttons that can be pushed to activate certain features.

The Event Chair is Cate Ford, who began as a volunteer with the Young Friends of the Ronald McDonald House of Dallas and has chaired its annual fundraiser. Her sights are now set on raising funds for The Trains at NorthPark. “This is the largest fundraiser for the House, generating nearly a third of its operating budget, and my committee and I are honored to be able to help the families who stay there.”

Ford added, “We are pleased to announce that the Honorary Chairs for this year’s Trains are Alan Engstrom and Debbie Raynor, who both served as the first Trains co-chairs in 1987. Their commitment and support throughout the years mean so much to the Ronald McDonald House of Dallas, and it’s a fitting tribute for us to honor these amazing community volunteer leaders.”

Bank of Texas will again be the Presenting Sponsor, as Bank of Texas CEO Norm Bagwell is a long-time Ronald McDonald House of Dallas supporter. “Bank of Texas is pleased to again partner with The Trains at NorthPark, which has become a tradition for many families including mine. Even more important are the funds raised for the Ronald McDonald House of Dallas to support the families who are going through a difficult time in their lives with a seriously ill or injured child. Our hope is that this exhibit will enable many more children and their families to be served by the House, as it also brings them and the greater community much joy.”

Since 1981, the House has stayed true to its mission of providing a home-away-from-home for families with seriously ill or injured children who have traveled to Dallas seeking medical treatment. In December 2009, a new, 58-bedroom Ronald McDonald House opened with the ability to serve twice as many families nightly. Although families are asked to contribute $15 per family per night, no one has ever been turned away because of an inability to pay. The House stay includes a private hotel-style room, transportation, three meals a day, activities and more. More than 2,400 families stay at the House annually.

TRAINS EXHIBIT BY THE NUMBERS:
Approximately 1,600 feet of track.26 loops of 3 rail O gauge track26 Lionel train sets hauling more than a hundred pieces of rolling stock and pieces.More than 800 square feet of train layout area with scenes depicting Dallas (Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge, the Cotton Bowl and State Fair of Texas), New York City (Times Square, Grand Central Terminal, city life), Washington D.C. (The White House), New England fall foliage, Albuquerque (hot air balloons), the Grand Canyon, Route 66, San Francisco (Golden Gate Bridge, Fisherman’s Wharf, Pier 39), and various cross country highlights.Hundreds of buildings, dozens of animated accessories, thousands of figures.The exhibit encompasses more than 4,000 square feet of train themed environments, with all the trimmings of the holiday train travel experience—steam engine and coach cars, water towers and baggage cart, ticket booth and train station.

RAILCARS FOR SALE:
Painted and customized by local artists, railcars are a popular gift for individuals and companies. Those wishing to purchase a personalized painted railcar, including the limited edition silver anniversary boxcar, can place orders today by going online to www.rmhdallas.org or calling 214.631.7354. Railcars must be ordered by November 1st to be in the exhibit, but orders will still be taken. A standard railcar is $175, a caboose is $225, and an engine is $325. The limited edition silver anniversary boxcar is $275. For sponsorship information, please call 214-631-7354.

EXHIBIT INFORMATION:
Now in its 25th year, The Trains at NorthPark will roll from Saturday, November 17, 2012, through Sunday, January 6, 2013, at NorthPark Center, Level Two between Barneys New York and Nordstrom. Hours and times are Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.; and Sunday, 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. The early closing dates are as follows: November 21, Thanksgiving Eve, at 6 p.m.; December 24, Christmas Eve, at 4 p.m.; December 31, New Year’s Eve, at 6 p.m.; January 1, New Year’s Day, at 6 p.m. The exhibit will be closed on Thanksgiving and Christmas.

TICKETS:
The cost is $6.00 for adults, $3.00 for children (ages 2 to 12) and senior citizens (65 and older). Children under 2 admitted free. Discount tickets are available at Tom Thumb ($1.00 off regular admission). NorthPark Center is located at North Central Expressway at Northwest Highway, Dallas, Texas 75225.

For those interested in volunteering as individuals or as a group to work three-hour shifts, visit www.rmhdallas.org. Volunteers must be 15 years old to volunteer without a parent and 12 to 14 years old to volunteer with a parent.

ABOUT RONALD MCDONALD HOUSE OF DALLAS:

Established in 1981, the Ronald McDonald House of Dallas has served as a home-away-from-home for more than 31,000 families of seriously ill children who have traveled to Dallas seeking medical treatment in area hospitals. By providing a caring, supportive, home-like environment, the Ronald McDonald House of Dallas keeps the family intact and helps allow a family to establish a normal routine in the midst of crisis. It also provides families with the opportunity to share their concerns with other families in similar circumstances. For more information, please contact the Ronald McDonald House of Dallas at 214.631.7354, or visit www.rmhdallas.org.

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