Three snowy Christmas trees in front of a red train car

Christmas Train Ride Tips and Activities

Getting the Most from Your Christmas Train Experience

Taking a ride aboard a Strasburg Rail Road Christmas train will get you and your kids into the holiday spirit this Christmas season. Whether you’re celebrating early with a ride in November or waiting until the last weekend before Christmas, we are excited for you to join us at the Strasburg Rail Road as we celebrate the season!

While there’s no wrong way to enjoy the old-fashioned nostalgia of Christmas aboard a vintage steam train, we’ve compiled a few tips to make sure you get the most out of your experience.

1. Buy Tickets in Advance

You can have peace of mind knowing you have secured a seat aboard one of our signature Christmas trains by buying your tickets online ahead of time. While tickets will be available at the station on a first-come, first-serve basis, some train rides sell out more quickly than others. So book online to reserve your seat! You can view our operating schedule and pick a date to start booking your car now.

2. Dress for the Weather

Many of the activities at the station are outdoors. So, make sure you bundle up in your holiday coats, scarves, and mittens to stay warm on chilly winter days and evenings. Aboard our trains, however, you’ll stay warm and toasty as each car is heated with a historic potbelly stove.

3. Know What Comes with Your Ticket

Each of Strasburg Rail Road’s four festive railway adventures offers different experiences for you and your family to enjoy.

Santa welcomes everyone aboard Santa’s Paradise Express. Santa will walk the cars during the ride, giving children 11 years old and younger a small gift. The big man will chat briefly with each family and pause for a photo. Pop over to the North Pole alcove to enjoy storybook readings of holiday classics. From 12:00-4:00 p.m. your little ones can work with Mrs. Claus to finish their letters to Santa. If you bring a self-addressed, stamped, unsealed envelope along, we’ll make sure Santa mails your children a personal reply! This value-packed experience also includes a ride aboard the Candy Cane Trolley, a self-propelled motor car, and rides on the Pint-sized Pufferbelly and Cranky Cars.  (Read more about Santa’s Paradise Express.)

Aboard Santa’s Christmas Trolley, each child 11 years old and younger will be able to sit with Santa to have his or her photo taken while talking about what they are looking forward to this Christmas. Santa will have a special gift for each child. As a special treat, your keepsake photo with Santa is included with your ticket purchase. (Read more about Santa’s Christmas Trolley.)

Santa makes a brief, surprise appearance at the end of The Night Before Christmas Train experience. This train ride features the reading of Clement C. Moore’s classic poem, The Night Before Christmas, building anticipation for Santa’s arrival. (Read more about The Night Before Christmas Train.)

If your Christmas tradition is more about finding the perfect tree, climb aboard our Christmas Tree Train for a special Currier and Ives kind of experience exclusive to Strasburg Rail Road. Travel by authentic steam train to Leaman Place Grove and select your very own pre-cut Christmas Tree. (Read more about the Christmas Tree Train.)

4. Start (or finish!) Your Christmas Shopping

Bring your child’s Christmas Wish List along for your visit and stop by one of our Toy Store and souvenirs shops. There is something for everyone, helping you polish off your shopping. You’ll find an assortment of train-related gifts, books, classic toys, apparel, DVDs, and more. You’ll see popular brands like Disney and Mattel.

You can also give the gift of a steam train excursion by purchasing an e-Gift Card. This gift card can be used to purchase tickets in the future for any Strasburg Rail Road excursion train ride. E-Gift Cards have no expiration date.

5. Have a Plan for Meals and Snacks

Families can spend several hours enjoying the magic of Christmas at Strasburg Rail Road. Sometimes this makes people hungry! While some of the train rides offer Christmas cookies and milk as part of the excursion, we also have multiple food options.

Our Trackside Café offers freshly prepared food for quick snacks or a full meal. Our menu includes kids’ meals, cheesesteaks, burgers, grilled chicken, salads, desserts, and more. Some train experiences include sweet treats, such as the hot cocoa served as part of the Christmas Tree Train experience or cookies and milk aboard The Night Before Christmas Train. You can also ride aboard the Dining Car where you can order from our unique menu while riding the train.

6. Plan Bathroom Breaks

Our trains feature meticulously-restored cars, but no bathrooms onboard. The train station has accessible rest areas you may use before or after you ride the rails.

7. Wear Festive Outfits… or Your PJs!

While getting the full Christmas experience doesn’t have to include dressing in festive outfits, it sure is more fun when you do! Plus, children (ages 11 and younger) who ride Santa’s Christmas Trolley will be able to have their photos professionally taken while they sit with Santa as part of the ticket price. The complimentary keepsake photo will look even better if everyone is dressed for the occasion.

If you’re riding The Night Before Christmas Train, you’ll feel right at home wearing your pajamas as we read the childhood classic, The Night Before Christmas, as the train rolls along. Talk about being warm and cozy!

8. Be Ready to Capture the Memories

Capture magical Christmas memories by taking photos of you and your family sharing Christmas cookies, sipping hot cocoa, smiling with Santa and his helper, chatting with Mrs. Claus, or enjoying any of the holiday-themed activities we have planned.

Remember to tag us in your photos so we can all share in the wonder of these magical Christmas events! Facebook: @StrasburgRailRoad Twitter: @StrsaburgRR Instagram: strasburgrailroad

A Christmas Tradition Since 1959

Strasburg Rail Road has welcomed Santa Claus to our station since 1959, bringing joy to passengers young and old as they ride our vintage steam trains. Join us in this Christmas tradition by enjoying one of our Christmas train adventures. Book your ticket now to ensure you have a seat!