Fourth-grader John Erickson pitched this story to his mom, deputy editor Bethany Erickson, and editor William Taylor, insisting that, as a model train enthusiast, he was best suited to the task of talking to the mastermind behind the Trains at NorthPark – Roger Farkash of TW Trainworx.
When we asked readers to nominate stories for the People’s Pick portion of our look at the best, most intriguing, and/or biggest stories of 2020, this story was nominated four times. When we asked readers to vote on our nominations later, it was a clear crowd favorite.
“I loved the sweet story about the Trains at Northpark that was written by a 4th grade student (John Erickson),” one reader wrote. “I’ve spent years holiday shopping at Northpark, and never knew the story that went along with the fabulous train displays that appear year after year. Such a heartwarming story about a simple love of trains was such a perfect counterpoint to the terrible news cycles of 2020.”