Posts Tagged ‘Santa trains’

There Goes Santa Claus

December 4, 2022

The 2022 Santa Train of the Indiana Rail Road is shown above crossing Tulip Trestle in Greene County, Indiana, between Solsberry and Bloomfield on Saturday morning. Santa had earlier received children in Solsberry as part of a three-day, 12-stop journey over the INRD in Indiana and Illinois.

The locomotive engineer of SD40-2 No. 4002 played a short rendition of Jingle Bells on the locomotive’s horn as the train crossed the bridge, which was built between 1905 and 1906 by the Indianapolis Southern Railway, which soon became part of the Illinois Central Railroad.

Below the bridge was a crowd of railfans, and parents and children.

Bah Humbug! CSX Scraps Santa Train

August 24, 2022

CSX has killed its annual Santa Train, the third consecutive year it has done so.

The Class 1 carrier cancelled the 110-mile excursion that travels over the former Clinchfield Railroad from Kentucky to Kingsport, Tennessee, in 2020 and 2021 because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Santa Train tradition began in 1943 with stops in select cities where children could board the train and receive gifts. In some instances, Santa tossed gifts from an open platform passenger car.

This year CSX cited staffing and supply-chain issues for cancelling the train.

However, CSX said 5,000 back packs with toys will be distributed in drive-up events at Food City grocery stores along the train’s route.

The Santa Train last ran on Nov. 23, 2019, when it was pulled by CSX’s executive train F40PH-2 locomotives.

Jim Would Have Wanted to Have Been There

December 5, 2021

Train SAHW chargest through Bargersville, Indiana, on former Illinois Central tracks
Here comes Santa Claus. The 2021 Indiana Rail Road Santa train is arriving in Bargersville, Indiana.

As I was driving to Bargersville, Indiana, on Friday, Dec. 3, I thought about the late Jim Mastromatteo.

He had developed an interest in the Indiana Rail Road and as far as I know never had the opportunity to see its operations in person.

Jim had planned to travel with Ron McElrath to Indiana in 2020 to railfan the INRD but that trip never came about.

My purpose in going to Bargersville was to see two INRD trains. The regular daily except Saturday SAHW (Senate Avenue yard Indianapolis to Hiawatha Yard in Jasonville) train was operating about two hours earlier on this day because following it that afternoon would be the annual Santa train.

INRD has run a Santa train since 1989 although it was canceled in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Bargersville, an exurb of Indianapolis, would be the first stop for the 2021 Santa train, which make 12 stops in communities in Indiana and Illinois along the INRD system.

The SAHW showed up just before 1 p.m. with its usual consist of double-stacked containers and manifest freight. On the point was INRD’s 25th anniversary tribute SD9043MAC No. 9025.

The Santa train showed up shortly after its scheduled 4:15 p.m. arrival time It had SD40-2 Nos. 4005 – INRD’s tribute to veterans unit – and No. 4002, the tribute to first responders unit.

The train had two passenger cars lettered for the Santa Fe and a caboose from which Santa and Mrs. Claus greeted and waved to the hundreds of children and their parents who had turned out.

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