York-Durham Heritage Railway: All Aboard the Santa Train!

Posted : December 2, 2013

Our blog is chock full of great ideas for fun things to see and do in York Durham and Headwaters. We are always adding new content and updating old posts, but sometimes you might stumble upon something from our vault. If this article has inspired you to hit the road, be sure to double-check that the featured stops in this post are still welcoming visitors.

The Santa Train is a unique and memorable holiday experience for families living in and visiting the Central Counties region.
Each year, Santa Claus visits guests riding on the on the York-Durham Heritage Railway – the Greater Toronto region’s only family tourist train starting in mid November.
York Durham Heritage Railway Train
We purchased tickets online, reserved our seats for the 1 hour train ride and started counting down the days until we would meet the man in red.
On a frosty Saturday morning, we drove to Uxbridge and as recommended, arrived 30 minutes prior to departure.
The extra time gave us a chance to walk around and explore the train station and learn about the history of the railway.
York Durham Heritage Railway  Santa Train Diplays at  Museum
Upon boarding the train, we settled in our seats and the kids ooohed and aaaahed at all the holiday decorations.
Our coach was a popular one with almost every seat occupied.
As we pulled out of the station, the conductor announced that Santa and his were near and a few seconds later we heard a few thumps from the PA system. Nice touch. And VERY believable judging from all the kids’ reactions.
The ride was a leisurely one as we passed trees, ponds, and charming looking homes.
I’m confident it would have been beautiful had it snowed the night before as weather forecasters were predicting. None the less, it was still fun.
Santa on York Durham Heritage Railway Santa Train
Throughout the one hour train ride, we met some of Santa’s helpers.
Everyone in our passenger coach enjoyed the holiday song singalong – parents, kids and even grandparents too!
We were treated to a magic show with a magician– pulling coins from behind kids’ ears, eating a fireball and of course some card tricks.
Balloon swords and dogs were made by a friendly clown much to the delight of all the children riding the train.
Then the moment we had all been waiting for arrived. Santa came to say hello!
He spent a few minutes with each child discussing what’s on their wishlist, how they’re doing in school and at home and how they are getting along with siblings which gave parents an opportunity to snap a few photos.
Our 2 year old was terrified of having Santa sit beside him but luckily Santa had tons of experience with situations like this one and we managed to get a few photos of him standing behind our son instead.
Our 5 year old daughter loved chatting with Santa and gave him a list of gifts for each member of our family. Apparently I’m in need of some new sweaters!
The hour went by really quickly and many of the older children were sad to see their train ride with Santa end.
As guests disembarked the train, each child received a good bag filled with some sweet treats and small gifts – pencils, stamps, stickers.
We really enjoyed our first ever Santa train ride and hope to make this an annual holiday tradition.
Know Before You Go
The Santa Train is offered on Saturdays and Sundays starting in November.
Tickets are $20 per person (children 1 and younger are free) or $74 for a group of 4 people.
Tickets can be purchased online or at the train station the day of.
It is recommended though that you purchase online because seats are limited. Judging by the amount of people boarding with us, the Santa Train is very popular and passenger coaches fill up quickly.
For more information visit the York Durham Heritage Railway website and their FAQ page.
Cheryl is founder of Kids On A Plane – a blog dedicated to family travel in North America and the Caribbean. When she’s not on a plane, you can find her exploring York Region and the GTA with her two young children and husband.

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