Arlington Heights' decorated trains are pulling into the station to mark the village's 125th anniversary.
One of the first is P.D. the Train, the locomotive the Arlington Heights Park District installed Thursday. It is right on schedule for the Picnic in the Park, being held from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Friday at North School Park School, at Eastman Street and Arlington Heights Road.
Thirty-two of the decorated fiberglass trains -- reminiscent of the pony artwork in 2000 -- will pop up around the village in the next few weeks.
The park district train features hundreds of photos of people enjoying the parks and is color coded to represent the 87-year history of the district, its present and the future. Employees volunteered their time to work on the train, which is in front of the district's Administration Building, 410 N. Arlington Heights Road.
Companies sponsored many of the trains, and thanks to a grant from Union Pacific railroad, 10 nonprofits also got involved. Some railroad barons hired professional artists, while others, like the park district, created their trains in-house. High school art students proved a popular source of talent.
The patriotically themed Moloney Express made the first appearance of all the locomotives on the float of the Quasquicentennial Committee in the village's Memorial Day parade. Pam Olin, a local artist, created the train for Molon Motors, a maker of small motors. It is at the company's building, 300 N. Ridge Ave.
The front of the engine says "American Driven since 1931," which is when Raymond T. Moloney founded the first of several Moloney companies, Bally Manufacturing, known for its pinball and slot machines. The slogan on the side of the locomotive says "Bringing jobs to Arlington Heights."
Bradish Associates Ltd. turned to Barbara Shaffer's art class at Prospect High School to decorate its train. The Mid Knight Express, named for Prospect's mascot, a knight, shows a colorful variety of faces and will be exhibited at the insurance company's office, 215 N. Arlington Heights Road.
A brochure depicting all the trains and mapping their locations will be available from the sponsors about July 4 so people can participate in a "Track the Trains" contest.
Five of the trains will be in Harmony Park, Vail Avenue and Campbell Street in downtown Arlington Heights, and three will be at North School Park. Others will be at the offices of their owners.
Prizes will be awarded for top trains in different categories, and some of the locomotives will probably be auctioned at an event later in the year.
"This is really public art and some of them are very good," said Lauree Harp, chairman of the Quasquicentennial Committee.