Holiday Train Returns to Help Kick-off the Season of Giving

On Saturday, December 4, and Sunday, December 5, the Holiday Train returns to bring good tidings and cheer to families from San Francisco to the South Bay as part of its annual toy drive.

This cherished tradition offers an opportunity to donate new toys or books to local children whose families are struggling to make ends meet. Caltrain is proud to once again partner with the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots program and The Salvation Army to help make the season brighter for everyone.

The Holiday Train, which had taken a brief hiatus in 2020 due to the pandemic, is decorated with more than 75,000 glittering lights. This special train will visit nine Caltrain stations in San Francisco, San Mateo and Santa Clara counties over the weekend. At each of the train’s 20-minute station stops, people can join in singing with onboard carolers and the Salvation Army Christmas Brass Ensemble. Santa, Mrs. Claus and their extended family including Frosty the Snowman and Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer will get off the train to greet kids and pose for pictures. To ensure its commitment to public safety, people planning to attend this event should be mindful that Caltrain requires face coverings at all of its stations.

Prior to the arrival of the train, families can enjoy free entertainment at each of the Holiday Train station stops as well as local community events like the Hometown Holidays Parade in Redwood City and the inaugural Winter Ice Rink in Downtown Sunnyvale. Holiday Train ambassadors will be onsite to help direct people to the donation bins and will have special giveaways for those in attendance.

“We are grateful to the generous Bay Area residents who have donated more than 50,000 toys since the start of this local tradition in 2001,” said Acting Caltrain Executive Director Michelle Bouchard. “This event would not be possible without the support from our in-kind sponsors and our staff for helping us provide this magical experience to the communities we serve.”

Holiday Train Schedule

Saturday, December 4

Station                Arrive

San Francisco        4:00 p.m.

Redwood City        6:10 p.m.

Mountain View       6:50 p.m.

Sunnyvale             7:30 p.m.

Santa Clara           8:00 p.m.

 Sunday, December 5

Station                Arrive

San Francisco        4:00 p.m.

Millbrae                5:40 p.m.

Burlingame           6:10 p.m.

San Mateo            6:40 p.m.

Menlo Park            7:25 p.m.

Community Support
Santa’s helpers can get into the holiday spirit by taking pictures of the Holiday Train during the event weekend and sharing them on social media by tagging @Caltrain on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook using the hashtag #HolidayTrain2021 to help spread the word.

The Holiday Train would not be possible without the generous support of sponsors for everything from decorations and wiring to costumes. This year, in-kind sponsors include Herzog, Jim’s Handyman Services, Peterson Technical Services, the San Mateo County Daily Journal, 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 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.


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