The holidays will be a little brighter this season for lots of children thanks to the generosity of people that donated toys during this year’s annual Caltrain Holiday Train.
During Holiday Train weekend, held December 7 & 8, despite the stormy weather thousands of people converged on Peninsula train stations to experience the glittering show train, holiday tunes, Santa and his friends and take the opportunity to donate toys for children in need.
Approximately 1,161 toys were collected during Holiday Train weekend. An additional 259 toys were collected by San Mateo County Transit District employees and the SamTrans Stuff A Bus Toy Drive. This season’s holiday toy drive brought in a total of 1,420 toys.
Toys donated at stations benefit the Salvation Army's Toy & Joy Program. A $15,000 donation made to the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve’s Toys for Tots program by the Holiday Train enabled the purchase of approximately 1,500 toys for the non-profit organization. Since the Holiday Train’s inception in 2001, more than 60,000 toys have been distributed to Bay Area children who otherwise might not have received gifts at Christmas.
Community support is a hallmark of the Holiday Train. Working at the San Francisco rail yard, volunteers spent every Saturday for two months decorating the train. Ambassadors at train stations helped pass out candy canes, programs and stickers to joyous onlookers. Local artists and vendors provided entertainment at each station before the train arrived. Those who volunteered to wear a holiday character costume were rewarded by the delighted response of the thousands of families who turned out for the event.
The Holiday Train would not be possible without the generous support of our sponsors for everything from decorations and wiring to costumes.
This year, our Locomotive Sponsor includes The Dirk and Charlene Kabcenell Foundation, and our Media Sponsors include The Daily Journal, The San Francisco Examiner. In-kind sponsors include Enlighted Inc. a Siemen’s Company, Jim’s Handyman Services, Classic Graphics, Peterson Technical Services and the Subway store located in the San Francisco Caltrain Station.
About Caltrain: Owned and operated by the Peninsula Corridor Joint Powers Board, Caltrain provides commuter rail service from San Francisco to San Jose, with limited commute service to Gilroy. While the Joint Powers Board assumed operating responsibilities for the service in 1992, the railroad celebrated 150 years of continuous passenger service in 2014. Planning for the next 150 years of Peninsula rail service, Caltrain is on pace to electrify the corridor, reduce diesel emissions by 97 percent by 2040 and add more service to more stations.