Caltrain’s magical 2016 Holiday Train is coming to Santa Clara Dec. 3 with Santa and Mrs. Claus aboard. Beloved holiday characters traveling with them include Rudolph, Frosty, the Gingerbread Man and Santa’s elves.
The festive Holiday Train, decorated with 70,000 sparkling lights, roars into Santa Clara’s Caltrain Station, 1005 Railroad Ave., for a 20-minute stop at exactly 8:10 p.m. Saturday. Santa and his entourage will disembark from the front and walk the length of the train, greeting children and posing for photos.
Snowflakes will miraculously swirl, and carolers from San Mateo’s Masterworks Chorale will sing holiday songs from an open-air flat car in the middle of the train. Then, in the twinkling of an eye, Santa will wave goodbye from the caboose, and the holiday train will disappear into the night, headed for the North Pole.
Bring a new, unwrapped toy to donate for the Salvation Army’s holiday toy drive. More than 50,000 toys have been collected at Caltrain stations since the Holiday Train’s first trip down the Peninsula from San Francisco in 2001.
Arrive early to hear the Salvation Army Brass Band play traditional holiday songs and carols. A few plucky children usually get to help lead the band. Also, the model trains will be running at the Museum of Railroad History housed at the train station (www.sbhrs.org). The museum, with free admission, will be open from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Snacks will be available for purchase inside and shaved ice from a Kona Ice truck parked curbside.
Departing from San Francisco, the Holiday Train stops in Burlingame, Redwood City and Mountain View (6:55 p.m.) before reaching Santa Clara Saturday. Then Sunday, the Holiday Train stops in Millbrae, San Mateo, Menlo Park and, at 8:40 p.m., Sunnyvale. Visit www.holiday-train.org or www.caltrain.com for other times.
Caltrain’s Holiday Train, which has been a Bay Area tradition every year but two (when there was insufficient funding) since 2001, is co-sponsored through contributions to the Silicon Valley Community Foundation. It is now funded through 2018.
“The Holiday Train is our gift to the community and is a great kick-off to the holiday season,” said Caltrain CEO Jim Hartnett. “But the Holiday Train is so much more than just a sparkling display. The toys collected at each station help make the holidays brighter for children and families in need, and we are very proud to have the continued support of Silicon Valley Community Foundation in providing this magical experience.”