CHRISTMAS TRAIN REACHED 26 YEARS GIVING JOY ALONG THE RAILWAY BRANCH
THE CHRISTMAS CONVOY FROM THE UNIVERSITY WAS ESTABLISHED AT A TIME WHEN THE INHABITANTS OF THE VILLAGES AND ISOLATED PLACES ALONG THE BRANCH WERE EVEN MORE ISOLATED.
Decembre 23, 2016
The Christmas train has become a real symbol of the links of our Academic Institution with the environment and of the solidarity with the Maulean people, an initiative that is repeated every December since 26 years in order to bring joy to children and adults of the only railway branch line that survives in Chile.
The centenary narrow-gauge train stretch between Talca and Constitution is today a national monument, a category which has not made a dent in the spirit and in the interest of its inhabitants in the enthusiastic expectations, on the eve of Christmas, for the passage of the convoy loaded with gifts and the greeting from the University.
On board the train, the very Santa Claus descends in each station and stop to deliver candy and gifts to the children. In Colín, Corinto, El Morro, Tanhuao, Gonzalez Bastías, Toconey, Curtiduría, Pichamán, Forel, Huinganes and Maquehua, the locals are organized to receive the delegation form the UTALCA with typical food, folkloric songs and dances and exhibitions. Some families come down hasty from the hills, while others cross the Maule River by boat so as not to miss this celebration, the expression of the Christmas spirit.
Other people arrive on horseback, bicycle or other vehicles or simply walking long stretches.
Each year, some of the musical groups from the University are part of the passengers on the train to accompany the delivery of presents with Christmas carols. This Christmas it was the turn of the White Voices choir, conducted by Professor Maria Cecilia Sepulveda, to bring the carols to each one of the stations.
The Christmas convoy of the University of Talca was created at a time when the inhabitants of the villages and isolated places along the branch were even more isolated and many of the children had no access to any special attention in this important date.
The director of Cultural and Artistic Extension of our University, Marcela Albornoz, stressed the symbol that has become this activity, as an expression of a crusade of love. "It is a pride for us that, for 26 years, this journey for Christmas has been made to reach thousands of children from towns with smiles and hope, with Christmas carols sung by the Choir of the university that also accompanies us. This train is much more than a gift, it is the hope of linking and share the Christmas spirit", she noted.
This program has already become a tradition, the only one in the country, for which several regional and national press media underline in their Christmas notes.
Many of the parents of the children who received gifts this year were also part of those children who looked forward to Santa Claus in the beginnings of the Christmas train, more than two decades ago. "I have come since I was a little girl to receive Santa, and now I bring my daughter since she was born. It was exciting to get up at 8 in the morning to wait for the train. It is a tradition that hopefully will never end so as to keep the spirit alive ", said Fernanda Rozas, from the village of Colin.
Also Nora Urbina told her experience, from the El Estero sector, who said that every the years she goes to the station of Corinto to wait for the passage of the train. "It has already been 11 years since I bring my children to this great event. It is an excellent initiative, because you have to think that there are many children who will only receive a gift in these dates the brought by the train, therefore, it takes an even greater importance", she remarked.
About this activity, which involves a long preparation, taking months and that continues to gather families around the railway line, Marcela Albornoz reflected: "Each one of the children of 26 years ago is today a father or a mother who also brings their children to receive the gifts. So, this is a celebration of Christmas and of hope through which the University of Talca seeks to provide affection to the thousands of children who live in these localities."
In the opportunity, the director of Cultural and Artistic Extension also expressed her gratitude for the contribution of the university community to donate toys for the occasion and the private companies, which makes it possible to carry forward this cause.
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