We could use a bit of nostalgia right about now as we prepare for the holidays. Envision a time reflecting back to our own childhood memories when a miniature train circled ‘round the Christmas tree, clickety-clack, grabbing our attention and our imagination. The sound of the whistle as the train rounds the corner ready to bring passengers to their holiday destination…

A time to slow down and spend some quality family time aboard a real life train destined to take your family on an escapade with Santa…

Well, we have the excursions planned for you, with a little help from some creative railroads waiting to whisk you away on a scenic adventure just in time for Christmas.

New Hope Railroad, New Hope, PA

Pause for a moment that transcends you back in time to when railways were the mode of transportation and trains could transport you almost anywhere…like the North Pole! Jump on the New Hope Railroad for a trip on either the North Pole Express Train or Santa’s Steam Train Ride, both guaranteed to fulfill your child’s dreams. Each round-trip ride lasts one hour, and once on board, guests are treated to musicians (singalongs are encouraged!), cookies, and hot chocolate. At the end of the trek, Santa himself will greet guests and invite them back to his workshop where children will have the opportunity to have a picture taken with the Jolly Ole’ Elf! 

West Chester Railroad, West Chester, PA

All aboard, for the Santa Express! The West Chester Railroad is delighted to bring back this crowd favorite for children of all ages. The 75-minute ride provides the opportunity for Santa to visit with each child on the heated and decorated train. Live entertainment will be provided for this festive ride. Another option is the Christmas Tree Train which takes passengers to Wiggins Tree Farm where they can disembark to select and chop down their very own tree. This round-trip excursion takes two hours and includes coffee, hot chocolate, and donuts! 

Strasburg Rail Road, Lancaster County, PA

Embark on the excursion of the season on the country’s oldest operating railroad beginning Thanksgiving weekend. The Strasburg Rail Road offers several options for the savvy passenger wanting to spend time with Santa or cruise the rails in the holiday spirit. Board Santa’s Paradise Express as Santa welcomes everyone aboard his steam train. Another option is to ride on Santa’s Christmas Trolley, a unique experience with the man in the red suit. For the child in all of us, you can take part in the magical The Night Before Christmas Train which conjures up the feeling of that very special eve that comes around once a year…

Greenbank Station, Wilmington, DE

Santa is everywhere! He truly must know when your kids are sleeping and when they are awake because he also rides his coveted Santa Claus Express out of Greenbank Station in Delaware. Join Santa on this fun 1.5 hour journey where he will not only meet and greet your children but he will pose for pictures with them as well. No standing in line – Santa is at your service on this nostalgic train ride!

Cape May Seashore Lines, Atlantic County, NJ

Traveling with Santa just got cooler because now you can go ‘down the shore’ to take a train ride with the big guy! Cape May Seashore Lines is once again running the Santa Express, a 60- minute jaunt departing exclusively from the Richland Village Train Station. Operating every weekend from now until Christmas, passengers have their choice of seating accommodations when booking tickets. If you are yearning for a nighttime train ride, there is also The Santa Starlight Express available on Friday evenings in December.

Allentown and Auburn Railroad, Kutztown, PA

The historic Allentown and Auburn Railroad dates back to 1853, and while they are proud of their storied roots, they are also pleased to offer guests an enchanting ride to the North Pole from now until mid-December Christmas. Passengers will have the opportunity to disembark at the North Pole for a merry meet and greet plus picture taking with Mr. and Mrs. Claus.

Colebrookdale Railroad Excursions, Boyertown, PA

Re-imagining a Victorian Christmas has never been easier then when partaking in one of the special Christmas-themed excursions offered by Colebrookdale Railroad. Warm memories will be created when your children ride in the lush, heated train cars in anticipation of Christmas Eve on the ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas Train, running on weekend evenings. If you want a daytime experience where the kids can write a letter to Santa, choose Santa’s Polar Bear Express. Don’t worry; Santa will make an appearance on all rides bearing a gift for each child.

Wanamaker Kempton and Southern Railroad, Kempton, PA

Affectionately known as the Hawk Mountain Line, this railway is bringing its own version of the Santa Claus Express to passengers for the weekend of December 5-6 only. Climb aboard to spend time with Santa, Mrs. Claus, and the Elves; there is a free gift for every child on the train. When you are finished traveling in style with Santa, be sure to view the model train display run by a local model train club.

Take this moment to transcend back in time with your family this holiday season on one of these whimsical train rides. Remember, all excursions require advance ticket purchase and are very popular, so pick your dates and book early. You do not want to disappoint Santa. He will be waiting for you! Ho-ho-ho!

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Photo courtesy of Strasburg Railroad.