Rudy leads the Kansas City Southern Holiday Express.

Holiday trains bring Christmas joy

Railroads spread Yuletide magic with annual holiday charity trains

Rudy leads the Kansas City Southern Holiday Express.
Rudy leads the Kansas City Southern Holiday Express. © Kansas City Southern

The magic of Christmas is ready to roll! Holiday train organizers are making lists and checking them twice as North America’s biggest railroads and a number of regional carriers prepare for their annual Christmas season charity train runs. In the coming weeks, unique holiday charity trains laden with Christmas love will be stopping in dozens of cities and towns, from Canada to Mexico, and from Southern California to New York!

Holiday Trains bring happiness and hope to folks who might otherwise be forgotten. Partnering with local food banks and charities like the Salvation Army and the US Marine Corps Toys for Tots campaign, sponsoring railroads fund and facilitate community outreach programs to distribute food and gifts to young and old alike.

Train visits are much anticipated annual events. Celebrations vary by host railroad. Some are one-of-a-kind, like the BNSF Holiday Express which takes special care of military families. Others are brightly illuminated with colorful lights; or feature performances by top entertainers; and all feature Santa on board with special gifts and tasty treats!

CP Holiday Train
Canada and US

Trains depart Montréal, Québec on November 25th and 26th to visit 151 communities in Canada and the US. Event features local food bank donation collection, performances by top artists, and appearances by Santa.

Kansas City Southern Holiday Express Train
Midwest US

Train visits 22 communities across six states between Friday, November 24th and Tuesday, December 19th. Events feature donation presentation to local Salvation Army, tours of holiday-themed rail cars, and a visit with Santa.

BNSF Railway Holiday Express
Temple, Texas to Kansas City, Missouri

Specific schedule witheld for security purposes. Event hosts military personnel and their families for onboard holiday celebrations and supports local military communities.

CSX Santa Train
Pikeville, Kentucky, to Kingsport, Tennessee

Saturday, November 18th train visits 12 Appalachian communities. 75th annual event features distribution of toys, clothes and gifts, and appearances by Ricky Skaggs and Santa.

Florida East Coast Railway Santa Train
Jacksonville to Miami, Florida

Saturday, December 9th train visits eight East Coast communities. Events feature Toys for Tots gift collection and Santa meet-and-greet.

Operation Toy Train
Northern New Jersey, Southern New York

Trains running Saturdays and Sundays, December 2nd through 10th visit 19 area communities. Events feature Toys for Tots gift collection and visits with Santa in the train’s caboose.

Caltrain Holiday Train
Silicon Valley Community Foundation
San Francisco Bay Area, California

Saturday, December 2nd and Sunday, December 3rd trains visit nine area communities. Events feature onboard and station entertainment, Toys for Tots and Salvation Army gift drop-off, and visit with Santa, Mrs. Claus and Frosty.

VRE Virginia Railway Express Santa Train
Spotsylvania to Woodbridge, Virginia

Saturday, December 9th train visits five area communities. Station events feature Operation Lifesaver rail safety information, Toys for Tots gift collection and distribution, and Santa meet-and-greet.

Kansas City Southern Tren Navideño
Monterrey to Mexico City, Mexico

Train visits 12 communities between Friday, November 24 and Sunday, December 10th. Event features holiday-themed rail, Alto Total (Operation Lifesaver) caboose, and gifts and refreshments for underprivileged families.