Posts Tagged ‘Santa 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.

Drive Up Sites Named to Replace Clinchfield Santa Train

October 30, 2020

Drive-up gift stations have been chosen to replace the annual Santa Train on the former Clinchfield Railroad.

Toys will be distributed on Nov. 21 at Food City grocery stores in Pikeville, Kentucky, and in St. Paul, Clintwood, and Weber City, Virginia.

The gift stations replaced the long-standing Santa train. CSX earlier this year said it would suspend the Santa train this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

INRD Santa Train to Operate This Weekend

December 6, 2019

The Indiana Rail Road will be operating its annual Santa train this weekend.

It will pull out of Indianapolis today (Dec. 6) and make stops in Bargersville, Morgantown and Helmsburg.

On Saturday the train is scheduled to stop in Solsberry, Bloomfield, Linton, Dugger and Jasonville.

The train will venture into Illinois on Sunday with stops in Newton, Oblong, and Palestine, as well as a stop in Sullivan, Indiana.

Admission to the train is free. This year is the 30th year for the train, which gives children in rural areas an opportunity to visit with Santa Claus and be entertained by a cast of characters played by railroad employees.

North Pole Limited to Run at Steamtown

December 5, 2019

The North Pole Limited will be operating between Dec. 8 and 15 at Steamtown National Historic Site in Scranton, Pennsylvania.

Trains will depart four times a day between 10 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. for an hour-long holiday themed excursion behind Baldwin steam locomotive No. 26.

Tickets are $20 for adults and $10 for children ages 2 to 12. Pre-registration is required. Free parking is available on site.

For more information and to purchase tickets, visit

R&N To Offer More Santa Trains

October 19, 2019

Four days after saying it would end tourist train service to Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania, the Reading & Northern has announced plans for new Santa Train operations at other locations.

This week the R&N’s Lehigh Gorge Scenic Railway said it would end operations in November due to an entertainment tax dispute with the borough of Jim Thorpe.

In a news release, the R&N said it will focus the expanded Santa train operations at five communities with existing facilities.

R&N said it will consider additional communities in 2020.

Cities getting the additional Santa trains include:

Reading Outer Station: Nov. 30; Dec. 1, 7, 8, 14, 15, 21, 22, 23, and 24; Minersville Station: Nov. 30, Dec. 1; Schuylkill Haven Station: Dec. 7-8; Tunkhannock: Dec. 14-15; and Pottsville Union Station: Dec. 21-22.

Trains will depart at 10:30 a.m., 1 p.m., and 3:30 p.m. at each station and offer 70 to 80 minute trip.

Ticket are $15 for adults and $9 for children ages 3-12; children 2 and under are free. The trains will feature holiday music, free candy, and a visit from Santa Claus.

Ticket information is available at 610-562-2102.

In a related development, the mayor of Jim Thorpe, Michael Sofranko, said the borough was “blindsided” by the decision of the R&N to end its Lehigh Gorge service.

He defended the city’s decision to impose an entertaining tax on the tickets sold by the Lehigh Gorge, saying the trips were round trips and not point to point.

“You go out and you come back,” Sofranko said. “It’s an amusement.”

He also said the borough had been trying to arrange a meeting with Muller to work out an agreement.

Indiana Rail Road to Operate Santa Train

November 1, 2018

The Indiana Rail Road will operate its annual Santa Train between Nov. 30 and Dec. 2.

The train will depart Indianapolis and make stops at Bargersville, Morgantown and Helmsburg on Nov. 30; Solsberry, Bloomfield, Linton, Dugger and Jasonville on Dec. 1; and Newton, Oblong and Palestine, Illinois, and Sullivan, Indiana, on Dec. 2.

The train is operated and staffed by railroad employees, some of whom play Santa Claus.

Santa Trains III — Riding an NS Caboose

December 18, 2012

We had our company picnic on Dec. 8 at the Rockport Mechanical Building in Cleveland. Again this year we loaded Santa aboard our local caboose and “delivered” him to the waiting crowd, seen here arriving at the shop.

Photograph by Roger Durfee

ORHS Brings Santa Claus To Town

December 19, 2010

Santa Claus peeks through the window of ORHS car No. 102 on December 4, 2010.

The Wheeling & Lake Erie Railway this year sponsored “Santa Express” trains to extend a Merry Christmas wish to employees and their families. Three “Santa Express” trains left Brewster at 11 a.m., 1 and 3 p.m. on Friday, November 26 for the trip westward on the Brewster subdivision to the outskirts of Creston.

The train had several coaches from the Orrville Railroad Heritage Society. It was led eastbound by W&LE SD40-3 locomotive No. 3102, while the ORHS GP-7u No. 471 led the train westbound.

Four private cars were part of the train, W&LE No. 1990, Larry Marshall’s C&B Marshall No. 3850, Glenn Bowman’s Paul Revere No. 3125, and J. Kidd’s former RF&P No. 386.

ORHS also provided its concession car (No. 105) for snacks and souvenirs. ORHS volunteers staffed the train, which was operated by a Wheeling crew. The weather was sunny but cool and breezy for the trips. Those aboard, including the crews, soon caught the Christmas spirit.

Greg and Jane Levy were onboard as Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus to greet the young folks, and delight their parents. Kasey O’ Connor doing his portrayal of Santa Claus with elf Heidi Kaiser also provided much Christmas cheer amid many ho-ho-hos. Both Santas were the subject of many Christmas photographs by excited parents.

The same train consist was operated from Orrville to Lodi on a cold and cloudy Saturday, November 27 for the Orrville Railroad Heritage Society. Four trains were operated that day. Each traveled westward from Orrville to Lodi and returned.

The ORHS advertised its trips as “Riding with Santa.” The ORHS trips from Orrville were repeated on Saturday, December 4. The Lodi Railroad Museum was a partner for the December 4 trips, with members and their families boarding the trains at Lodi. W&LE GP40-3 No. 302 provided the eastbound motive power on December 4.

The W&LE operated three “Santa Express” trains on Sunday, November 28 to extend Christmas wishes to their employees of the Ohio River lines and their families. The train traveled from Warrenton northward along the river to Brilliant on the River subdivision. The second and third runs were operated for passengers sponsored by the area Rotary Club. The day’s weather was also sunny for the trips along the Ohio.

As the last “Riding With Santa” train came to a halt in Orrville, it provided a spirited conclusion to two weekend’s holiday festivities on the railroad.

Story and Photographs by Richard Jacobs

Excited Wheeling families hurry to the “Santa Express” from the ‘brick’ at Brewster on November 26, 2010. The brick is the nickname for the railroad’s headquarters building.

Santa Clause, played by ORHS member Dean Mark, waves from ORHS car No. 105.

Young folks have a chance to climb aboard a real locomotive, W&LE No. 3102 at Brewster.

Boarding the “Riding With Santa” train at Orrville on November 27, 2010.

Children and adults alike enjoy the model trains in the Orrville depot on November 27, 2010.

ORHS locomotive No. 471 and W&LE theater car No. 1990 are on the south end of the ‘Wheeling’s’ “Santa Express” train in Warrenton on November 28, 2010.