Santa Trains at the Western Railway Museum
SUISUN CITY – On Christmas Eve, Santa might make deliveries via flying reindeer and present-filled sleigh, but on Saturdays and Sundays in the month of December, you’ll find him riding the rails. To be more specific, from December 1 – 23, good little boys and girls can see the jolly old man himself on the Western Railway Museum’s electric train which departs hourly between 12 and 6pm. Passengers will go for a 50-minute scenic trek through Gum Grove Station while sipping on hot cocoa and nibbling on cookies. Is there a merrier way to spend a winter weekend?
After your train ride (which naturally includes photos with Santa, so don’t forget your camera), you can tour the Museum, which sits on an expansive 22-acres. The Museum is built along the former mainline of the Sacramento Northern Railway and boasts 50 historic cars, including vintage street cars such as the Briney and the aptly named Magic Carpet car, and has 22 miles of railroad track. Museum-goers can also browse the many exhibits in the Visitor Center or take a car house tour. The museum’s numerous volunteers are always eager to talk all-things trains with visitors.
Serious enthusiasts and bookish learners will delight in the Museum’s library and archives. The corporate files, maps, drawings, employee timetables, and other records found in the archives were initially housed in a Santa Fe Railway steel baggage car. The collection has since expanded and is now part of the F. M. Smith Memorial Library, which is open to the public on the 2nd and 4th Saturday of the month, from 11am – 4pm. In addition to the documents, historic movies are shown in the library on the first Wednesday of every other month.
For any of Santa’s helpers who need to do some Christmas shopping (or wish list making!), a visit to the Museum Store is in order. All purchases directly support the Museum, so you can feel good about giving that Thomas the Tank Engine or limited edition HO-scale Sacramento Northern 40’ Boxcar kit.
If your holiday train ride leaves you feeling a little peckish, you can eat at the Museum’s Laflin Park, which includes a large shaded picnic area. Visit the Museum’s eatery, the Depot Cafe, for old-fashioned steamed hot dogs and drinks as well as vegan and vegetarian offerings.
The Museum is open from 10:30am–5pm. Early birds will be delighted to know there is a special gift for the first 100 kids to visit the Museum each day throughout the month of December.
If you go: The Western Railway Museum is located at 5848 State Highway 12, Suisun City. Tickets are $20 per person / $10 members. For a full schedule of Santa Trains at the Western Railway Museum, click here. To purchase tickets, visit WRM.org or call 707.374.2978.