The Tradition of Holiday Trains

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All aboard! The holidays are here, and what better way to remind us of the festive season than with the arrival of the Shutters on the Beach train. Displayed in the Living Room each December, the busy locomotive has become a holiday tradition at our luxury Santa Monica hotel.

Toy trains have a long history that date back to the 19th century. The first train system was made in Germany in 1891 by Märklin, a toy company known for its production of dollhouses and doll accessories.The train set contained a windup locomotive and a track; additional accessories included extra track and decorative buildings. The first train to make an appearance in the Shutters lobby in 1994 was a Märklin, and the set was much smaller than it is today. Over time, the train and the majestic toy town it services has grown. Today you can find a variety of shops in the tiny town including an art gallery, a guitar center, a day spa and more.  The original Märklin train was eventually replaced with a Lionel locomotive, which is currently running.

It is thought that the tradition of displaying model trains during the holidays in the United States came about in 1830 when, on Christmas day, the first American built steam locomotive made its debut trip from Charleston to Hamburg, South Carolina. Trains have since held special holiday sentiments. Take for example the 1985 classic Christmas story, “The Polar Express” where a young boy takes a train to the North Pole to visit Santa Claus or the 1967 holiday song “Old Toy Trains” by Roger Miller.

Bring out your inner child this holiday season by stopping by the Living Room in our Santa Monica beach hotel to view our very special holiday train. Choo choo!


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