Choo, Choo! Santa coming through! The holiday season may look a little different this year, but you can’t stop Santa from coming to town. And everyone knows that after his shiny red sled, trains are his favorite way to travel. Most of these trains are running on limited capacity, so be sure to book early! Scroll down for the best places to catch the holiday spirit on the rails. All aboard!

Bring Your Holiday List

West Chester Railroad's Santa Express

Spend 90 minutes with the Jolly Guy on this excursion that explores the Chester Creek Valley in PA. There are plenty of chances to fill your Instagram feed, from the historic station to candid meet-and-greet snaps on the rails. Be sure to bring your wish list to give Santa. West Chester Railroad also offers a Christmas Tree Train on Nov. 28, 29 and Dec. 6, 13; hop aboard for a scenic trip to Wiggins Tree Farm for a unique pick-your-own tree experiences (trees are tagged and loaded on to the train's flat car).

COVID-19 Update: This train will be operating at 50% capacity. 

Cost: $30/adult, $20/child ages 2-12, $8/infant, children under 9 months are free
When: Nov. 21, 22, 27, 28, 29 and Dec. 5, 6, 12, 13, 19, 20 at 11 a.m., 1 p.m., 3 p.m. and Dec.  5, 6, 12, 13, 19, 20 at 5 pm.
Where: 230 E. Market St., West Chester, PA
Online: wcrailroad.com

Hop a Ride on a Historic Train

photo: Strasburg Railroad

Strasburg Railroad's Santa Paradise Express

Share in this 60 year tradition on America's oldest operating railroad. Climb aboard a vintage rail car for a 45-minute journey with Santa himself on Santa's Paradise Express. You can even hop aboard on Christmas Eve! Before you depart, don't forget to visit Mrs. Clause at the North Pole Annex. Want get cozy on a train in your PJs? Come listen to The Night Before Christmas from story tellers dressed in old fashioned nightcaps and gowns. Santa makes a brief appearance on this train, as well. 

COVID-19 Update: Rail cars will operate at 50% capacity. Santa will be wearing a mask; all visitors are required to wear a mask, too. To ensure everyone's safety, this year's carolers and entertainers will be performing outdoors near the station. 

Cost: $31/adult, $20/child ages 2-11, $4/infant ages 0-1
When: Nov. 21, 22, 27, 28, 29 and Dec. 5, 6, 12, 13, 19, 20, 24; departure time varies by date
Where: 301 Gap Road, Ronks, PA
Online: strasburgrailroad.com

Sip Hot Chocolate with The Big Guy

Walkersville's Train Ride with Santa

Get your camera ready for this Insta-worthy trip on the Walkersville Southern Railroad. Santa will make his way through rail cars, being sure to greet each passenger with his hearty signature welcome. After the trip, be sure to grab your free hot chocolate and cookies in the museum. Looking to extend the magic? This year Walkersville has added some new holiday fun with the Winter Express train, a two-hour journey that features holiday crafts and a musical performance by local favorite Mr. Jon & Friends (note: Santa does not board the Winter Express). 

Cost: $18/adult, $14/child ages 1-12, $17/seniors
When: Nov. 28 & 29 and Dec. 5. 6. 12. 13, 19, 20 ; departing at 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. 
Where: 34 West Pennsylvania Ave., Walkersville, MD
Online: wsrr.org

Grab Breakfast with Santa

B&O's Breakfast with Santa

All aboard at the B&O Railroad Museum’s roundhouse, which, we might mention, is chock full of trains. The museum is open daily, but Santa will join train travelers on weekends for an extra special breakfast. B&O is kicking off the season on Nov. 20 with their first tree lighting ceremony from 6-8 p.m. followed by an evening train ride. On Nov. 27, Santa pulls into town between 9-10 a.m. You can catch the Reindeer Railway in late Nov. and Dec. for breakfast with Santa. Trips include socially-distanced pics with the Big Guy. 

Cost: $40/adult, $34/children for Breakfast with Santa
When: Nov. 27, 28 & 29 and Dec. 6, 12 & 13
Where: 901 West Pratt St., Baltimore, MD
Online: borail.org/holiday

—Meghan Yudes Meyers

featured photo: Strasburg Railroad

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