Tickets selling quickly for Santa’s Starlight Express!

Santa is taking some time out of his busy schedule to make special daytime and nighttime appearances at Railtown 1897 State Historic Park (SHP) this holiday season.  Special train rides with Santa will operate over the three-day Thanksgiving weekend (November 26, 27 & 28)  and again the weekend before Christmas (December 18 & 19). Advance tickets to ride aboard “Santa’s Starlight Express” are still available but selling briskly whereas “Santa by Daylight” tickets are  available for purchase on the day of the excursion. 

Nighttime Rides Aboard “Santa’s Starlight Express”

For two nights only — on Friday, November 26 and Saturday, November 27 — visitors are encouraged to bundle up and join Santa and his musical friends for two lighted Christmas trains departing at 5:30 & 7 p.m.  The festively lit cars will be pulled by a lighted locomotive on a 45-minute roundtrip ride to rendezvous with Santa, who will greet all of the good boys and girls before he heads out  for final preparations for his Christmas Eve deliveries. 

The special train rides — lighted and filled with the music and magic of Christmas — will get visitors in the holiday spirit with live holiday music and caroling on the dock and aboard the train, too.  On the dock to greet riders,  the crowd-favorite Gold Rush Balladeers are scheduled to delight passengers by caroling and playing a variety of musical instruments.  Then, on board the train, Columbia singer/songwriter Ron DeLacy (the Doodoo half of the irreverent folk duet Doodoo Wah) will entertain passengers by singing popular carols such a “Turkey in the Snow” and  other  infamous tunes.  To add to the fun, Railtown favorite Lori Brandon (who was a regular member of the New Christy Minstrels) will also sing Christmas carols and other favorites from early American to Rock and Roll while aboard the train.   

Tickets for the nighttime rides aboard “Santa’s Starlight Express” are $24 for adults, $12 for youth, and free for children 2 and under (traveling in a lap).  Very limited first class tickets are still available and cost $30 adults, $15 youth.  Discounts are applied to members. 

Rides Aboard “Santa by Daylight”

Popular “Santa By Daylight” train rides also continue this year during daylight hours, on November 26, 27 & 28, and again on December 18 & 19.  Trains run hourly from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.  Santa will be on board to greet visitors and will be accompanied by Railtown’s “Roving Fiddler” Dave Rainwater.  Ticket prices are $13 for adults, $6 for youth, and free for children 5 and under. 

Train ride tickets for “Santa’s Starlight Express” are strongly recommended and are available online at or by calling the depot store at 209-984-3953.