Bundle up your little elves in holiday-themed mittens and scarves and head east for a SoCal Christmas tradition: a ride on the famous North Pole Limited train. This magical journey to Santa’s Workshop includes a sing-along with Santa’s elves, a storybook read-aloud, and cookies and hot chocolate for all passengers. A ride on this vintage car, and a visit with Saint Nick and his lady Mrs. Claus, give this adventure its signature nostalgic vibe. Read on to see why North Pole Limited is a holiday must-do for your Christmas lovin’ gang!

Holiday Train Ridephoto: Elizabeth Silva

What is the North Pole Limited?
We think every adventure should include a little learning. Let your tots know that the Pacific Southwest Railway Museum Association (PSRMA) is an educational organization committed to preserving railroads just as they existed in the in the Pacific Southwest. They offer vintage train rides with locomotives and cars from the early 20th century. How cool is that? Each year starting in November, the North Pole Limited returns to celebrate the holiday season. For a short history lesson on how PSRMA came to be, click here. If the kiddos are a little more visual (like us), check out these neat train videos on PSRMA’s YouTube channel.

Fun Fact: The North Pole Limited is run by volunteers who come from far and wide to be part of this special event. Volunteers who can belt tunes are asked to be singing elves on the train!

Train Ride by Heather Smithphoto: Heather Smith

Planning Your Train Ride Adventure
Start your day by arriving at the Campo Depot about 45 minutes before your train is scheduled to leave the station. Pick up your tickets at the ticket agent window then head over to the onsite playground. Your munchkins can spend a little time getting out their wiggles in the play area or in the gift shop. Before hopping the train, check out the Hobo Camp where your brood can enjoy tales of railroading’s past. Once onboard the North Pole Limited, little ones can sing Christmas carols to their tiny hearts’ content. Popular holiday songs are led by cheery elves and Santa’s helpers. Next a traditional Christmas story will be read up and down the cabin aisle – so the little ones should be all (elf) ears! All passengers big and small can enjoy cookies and hot chocolate as the train makes its way to Santa’s Workshop where Santa and Mrs. Claus will hop onboard. We hear Santa can’t wait to hear what’s on your kiddos’ Christmas wish lists this year!

Holiday Train - SoCalphoto: Elizabeth Silva

Ticketing and Pricing Information – Let’s Do This!
Coach tickets are a more budget-friendly option and get you a ride on a restored 1920’s vintage commuter car. First-class tickets get you a spot on either the Union Pacific long-distance chair car #576 or the Santa Fe business car #1509. In addition to cookie and hot chocolate service, both first-class cars offer complimentary soft drinks and treats along with larger seats and more legroom. Those riding in Santa Fe business car #1509 will have access to the open-to-the-air rear platform as the North Pole Limited rails down to Santa’s Workshop. Tickets for the North Pole Limited must be purchased in advanced. Rates can vary based on time and date of train ride. To purchase tickets, click here.

Coach Fares

  • Toddlers (under age 3 riding in an Adult’s lap), $10
  • Kiddos (ages 3 – 12), $30
  • Adults (ages 13+), $40

First-class Fares

  • Toddlers (under age 3 riding in an Adult’s lap), $10
  • Children (ages 3 – 12), $40
  • Adults (ages 13+), $50

photo: Anna Butera

Good to Know

  • Get your tickets early! Tickets sell out quickly.
  • Dress kiddos in layers. Christmas jammies are encouraged! Campo gets chilly at night during the holiday season.
  • Leave the strollers in the car as there is limited space on the trains.
  • There are restrooms at the Campo Depot. Little ones should use the potty ahead of time as there are no restrooms on the trains. Parents, you, too!
  • All trains at Campo Depot are wheelchair accessible. Be sure to request accommodations when making reservations.
  • Parking is free and plenty.
  • Got a post-ride hungry family? Check out Café B for pizza, sandwiches and other family-friendly options at 1247 Sheridan Rd.

750 Depot St.
Campo, Ca 91906
619-478-9937
Online: psrm.org

Have you experienced this holiday train ride? Tell us about your experience in the comment section below!

—Elizabeth Silva