Posts Tagged ‘Santa Claus trains’

INRD Bringing Back Santa Train

October 7, 2021

Indiana Rail Road’s annual Santa Train will operate on Dec. 3-5, bringing Christmas joy to small towns and villages in Indiana and Illinois.

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, some changes have been made in the operation of the train although many traditions have been preserved.

INRD said in news release that Santa’s elves will arrive ahead of the train to prepare for its arrival.

Families will be able to watch the train arrive and Santa will appear on the back of a newly-restored caboose.

Children will still be able to mail letters to Santa via the train’s North Pole Express Mailbox.

However, visitors will not be permitted to board the train or visit with Santa due to health, security and safety concerns, INRD officials said.

The annual Santa train is a volunteer project of IND employees. It did not run in 2020 due to the pandemic. The train first operated in 1989.

“It’s great that we are able to bring this tradition back,” Indiana Rail Road CEO Dewayne Swindall said in a statement. “The Santa Train means as much to INRD employees as it does the communities in which we operate.”

Those who have been in contact with someone diagnosed with COVID-19 within two weeks of the Santa Train’s operation  and those showing COVID symptoms such as a fever, cough, difficulty breathing, or cold- or flu-like symptoms are asked to refrain from attending the event.

INRD said guidelines of the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend wearing a mask in crowded outdoor settings and for activities in close contact with those who are not fully vaccinated.

Bellefonte HRS Cancels Fall, Holiday Trains

September 12, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has taken down another holiday train.

The Bellefonte Historical Railroad Society of Pennsylvania said this week it has cancelled its fall foliage and Santa Express trains due to pandemic-related safety concerns.

The group said on its Facebook page that it made every attempt to run the excursions, “but the presence of a large number of people in a confined space was deemed too risky by BHRS volunteers, our railroad partners, and the state government.”

FtWRHS to Operate Santa Trains Starting Saturday

December 4, 2019

The Fort Wayne Railroad Historical Society will operate its 18th annual Santa trains starting this Saturday.

Trains will operate on Dec. 7, 8, 14, 15, 21 and 22 between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. on Saturdays and noon to 5 p.m. on Sundays.

Tickets are $7 per person with children age 3 and under carried for free. All tickets must be purchased online at

However, a notice on that site indicates that all tickets have been sold but there is a link to click to be notified when tickets will next be available for sale.

Each trip is pulled by a diesel locomotive and lasts approximately 20 minutes. The trains are heated.

Saint Nick’s historic cabooses are heated and Amanda Lee Coffee will be served along with warm beverages and baked goods that are sold separately.
Limited group charters are available for up to 15 people and include a 45-minute trip with Santa, refreshments, and cookies on Saturday evenings for $300

Proceeds from the event are used to support non-profit historic railroad preservation efforts in Northeast Indiana. For more information visit

Toys for Tots Train in NJ, NY Brings Together Several Railroad Heritages for a Good Cause

December 7, 2016


The annual Toys For Tots Train, sponsored by the U.S. Marine Corps Reserves, travels through northern New Jersey and lower New York State on various short lines, making stops to pick up toys.

This year’s train featured a Conrail caboose, a U.S. Marines boxcar, a restored Pennsylvania Railroad express-baggage car, restored New York Central lounge car No. 43, and former 20th Century Limited tail car Hickory Creek.

The host short line provided the motive power. Shown is the train operating on the New York, Susquehanna & Western with SD33ECO No. 3012.

It was a cold, but beautiful day for a chase. I chased the train for about 20 miles and I caught it in several spots along the Susquehanna, including the train leaving the yard at Ridgefield Park, New Jersey, and passing the Marcal Paper Plant in Elmwood Park, New Jersey.

I waited for the train at its scheduled stop in Wortendyke, New Jersey, and visited with Santa and the crew, many of whom I have known for years from my 30 years of volunteering.

A car from one of the world’s greatest trains carrying Santa Claus on a short line that has outlived the mighty New York Central might seem like an unlikely, but unforgettable, combination on a beautiful fall day.

Article and Photographs by Jack Norris






How Santa Gets Around in Indiana

December 7, 2016


For several years the Indiana Rail Road has operated a Santa Claus train along its mainline in Southern Indiana. With the kids and their parents lined up on the other side of the train to see Santa, a clear shot of the engine was much easier from this side in Bloomfield, Indiana, on Dec. 3, 2005.

Photograph by Jeff Griner

Courtesy of the December 2016 Railfan Rambles, the newsletter of the Railfans of Indianapolis.

Santa Still Riding the Rails In Kent

December 4, 2016


Tonight [Dec. 3, 2016], there was an emotional event for me. This was the first time in 18 years I was not involved with the decorating and operation of the Santa train here in Kent for the Festival of Lights.

My only involvement now was to give my friends a theme to use for the Christmas lights on the locomotive.

I had planned to use the star theme and they did a great job putting it into reality.

It was wonderful to see the guys I worked with and to be greeted with hugs and wishing I would have stayed working.

And, yes, Dan Ashley from the Akron Barberton Cluster Railway brought Santa into town on time.

I was very pleased to see a tradition continue just as you would as you nurture a child from birth to see them develop into a life of their own.

The picture is not the best as I never took good night pictures.

Article and Photograph by Robert Rohal

Santa Trains Return to W&LE

November 30, 2015

Santa Claus trains returned to the Wheeling & Lake Erie this year after a year’s absence.

The trains were a long-time fixture on the W&LE until 2014. In previous years the trains used equipment supplied by the Orrville Railroad Heritage Society, but a falling out between the W&LE and ORHS prompted that service to end.

This year’s trains operated on Nov. 27 between Brewster and Zoarville and featured five coaches from the Age of Steam Roundhouse. W&LE Nos. 3046 and 111 bracketed the train, which made three roundtrips and carried railroad employees and their families.

In past years, ORHS cars were used on Santa trains for Wheeling employees, but tickets were sold to the public to ride some trains. The latter usually operated between Orrville and Lodi.

Fort Wayne Group Offering Santa Trains

November 24, 2015

Children in Fort Wayne will get to meet Santa Claus aboard a diesel-powered train being sponsored by the Fort Wayne Railroad Historical Society.

Twenty-minute trips will operate on Dec. 5, 12 and 19 while 45-minute excursions will be offered on Dec. 6, 13 and 20.

Tickets may be ordered online. Last year, the Santa train tickets sold out in 24 hours.

CNJ 0-6-0 to Pull Santa Trains in Pennsylvania

November 3, 2015

Former Central Railroad of New Jersey 0-6-0 No. 113 will pull Santa Clause trains from Minersville, Pennsylvania next month on the Reading & Northern’s Lehigh Gorge Scenic Railway. There will be three rides each on Dec. 6 and 20.

Built by Alco in 1923, No. 113 is one of just two CNJ steam locomotives still extant.

After being retired by the CNJ, No. 113 was used by the Philadelphia & Reading Coal & Iron Corporation between 1953 and 1960.

After a 12-year restoration project, the 113 returned to operation in late 2013.

It is one of the few standard gauge locomotives in the United States that burns anthracite coal.

INRD Sets 25th Running of Santa Train

September 28, 2014


The Indiana Rail Road has announced plans for the 25th running of the Santa Claus train in southern Indiana and Illinois.

The train will operate on Dec. 5-7 and feature a festively-decorated train complete with Santa and Mrs. Claus. A cast of costumed characters will be brought to life by railroad employee volunteers, their families, and friends of the company.

Santa’s helpers will also give away coats, hats, and gloves to help families in need of warmth this winter. More than 6,000 people are expected to visit the train during its three-day tour, which for many small-town children is the only opportunity to visit Santa in person.

There is no charge to for children or their parents to visit the train.

“The Santa Train is our most treasured community service activity and has truly taken on a life of its own,” said Thomas Hoback, a founder, president and chief executive officer of the Indiana Rail Road. “Our employees have created a very special tradition with the Santa Train, and their legacy will no doubt last for many generations to come.”

The Santa train began in 1989 as a volunteer project of Indiana Rail Road employees. Many of Santa’s earliest Santa Train visitors bring their own children to the event each year, and most of the founding volunteers have retired from railroading.

For more information, including a schedule of appearances, go to