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The Santa Train

It's the Holidays! And one of the things I have done the past few years is to take a holiday themed train ride. It always seems like a great idea. Ride the rails along the snowy countryside, everyone is filled with holiday cheer. You sing Christmas Carols together and then Santa comes through and greets all the happy boys and girls. Afterwards you snuggle with you little one sipping Hot Chocolate and eating a cookie as the clack-clack of the trail lulls them off to sleep. Sounds great! right? Unfortunately this has not been the case. It usually goes something like this. We get in the car and drive to some out of the way place park the car and rush to the train. Get on the train and sit our butts on some cold fiberglass seats. (Other Parents must have had similar experiences because there do not seem to be too many smiling faces.)

As the train starts down the track we look out our window to see the countryside rolling by. Unfortunately this year it is not covered in a glistening blanket of white fluffy snow. The Christmas carols are sung by the Santa's elves and a few passengers join in myself included but only at a volume that my daughter and I can hear. Then Santa comes out or at least someone dressed as Santa because inevitably some child will call out that's not the real Santa his beard is fake. Some of the younger children start to cry because they are frightened by the man in red.
After Santa leaves our car we make our trek to the food car to get some snacks, of course that takes us through the gift car. We purchase a train whistle get our snacks and go back to seat. We drink our Hot Chocolate and eat some cookies but instead of relaxing to the clack-clack of the rails I am treated a cacophony of toy train whistles and the voices of sugar charged kids.

At the End of our trip it is not quite the Hallmark holiday special I had planned but I did get a few good pictures to remember the day and my daughter had fun. This year I am determined to get a little closer to the idea.

So here is a checklist to bring the experience closer to the idea
  • Have good directions and a map of where you are going.
  • Book a train ride late enough in the day so that you can get there relaxed
  • Bring a Camera with fully Charged Battery and Plenty of space available on the memory card
  • Thermos with Hot Chocolate (and a baggie of mini-marshmallows)
  • Some Snacks (recommend Oatmeal raisin or Chocolate Chip cookies)
  • Warm Clothes (To make Standing around waiting to get on the train or walking around afterwards more enjoyable) Dress in layers.
  • A Small Blanket for Snuggling up especially if the cars aren't too heated.

Some Tips to make the Santa Train Ride picture perfect.
Pick a good place to go. While there are many Santa trains I find that a ride on a old fashioned steam train can be a better choice for creating that memorable moment than getting on a NJ Transit commuter train, also the old steam trains make that cool Whoo-Whoo sound.

What route will the train take - Is is Scenic country side or an Urban, graffiti strewn route.

Go with friends and family - The more the merrier as long as everyone gets along and is in the holiday spirit. It takes only one Scrooge to ruin the day.
Keep positive, hope for a coating of Snow and enjoy the day.

Here are some Santa Train Rides and Other Holiday Rail Events.

Santa Train RideStrasburg, PA - A little far but a nice weekend trip if you can find the time.
The holiday celebration begins on the platform of the East Strasburg Station as the sounds of the season fill the air and the platform sparkles with lights. Passengers relax as an authentic vintage steam train, warmed by a potbelly stove, travels on a 45-minute journey, past more than 1,000 acres of picturesque farmland on the way to Paradise, PA. As the train chugs down the track, Santa and musicians stroll from

Glen Rock NJ I did this one last year and while the scenery and Train decor was so-so Santa was a hit and the trip was fun
During the approximately 90 minute ride the Santa Claus will Ho Ho Ho his way through the train and visit each child giving them a special gift from his bag. In addition each child can have their picture taken with Santa Claus so they can always remember their ride, so bring your cameras. On board will be Mrs. Claus and several other surprise cartoon characters sure to entertain the kids and make for a great day out for all on board.
For more Info Click Here

Phillipsburg, NJ Did this one a few years back it was okay bit of a car ride for average experience
Santa Train Ride departs weekends in December from Lehigh Junction located in the Historic Main Street area of Phillipsburg New Jersey. This ride features a visit from Santa on the train Website: or call 1-877-train-ride.
Purchase Polar Express Tickets

Other Santa Train ride in and around NJ can be found at:

East Windsor Connecticut
I have never been on this but always wanted to try it
Winterfest has been a tradition in East Windsor for many years and a favorite of museum visitors of all ages. Some visitors return every year from all over the area to see the museum all decked out with holiday spirit.
Ride through the Tunnel of Lights on the electric sleigh, or choose an enclosed heated trolley. Don’t forget to visit Santa in the Visitor Center, where he’ll be holding court among the exciting model railroad displays.
Runs weekend evenings from 5-9 PM plus other select Weekdays
See Connecticut Trolley for more information

1 comment:

Santa Train Rides in NJ said...

2010 Santa Train Rides in NJ - multiple locations and dates listed in both northern and central NJ. For details see

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