And the days get short, when you reach....November. My, the days are darn short when you get into the holiday season. It's not even 3 PM yet and the New England Sun is already doing a swan-dive for the horizon, as the Valley Railroad's 2:30 PM Santa Special charges across Chester Creek, en route to her destination, North Chester. This will be the last of the daylight trips today. When the 3025 and her train return to Essex, they'll remain there until they kick off the night's North Pole Express operations at 5 PM. At 5:30 PM, VALE #40 will join the operation, with a second string of coaches and they'll head north as well. A second, two-train evolution will depart Essex at 7 PM and 7:30 PM. With all of this activity, there will be steam whistles echoing up and down the Connecticut River Valley until about 9 PM. Tomorrow, they'll do it all over again. The North Pole Express runs 4 trains per night, 6 nights a week, from mid-November until just before New Years. All sold out. Life is good in Essex!