Holiday Train Toy Drive Marks Season of Giving

On Saturday, December 1, and Sunday, December 2, Caltrain and Silicon Valley Community Foundation will hold the annual Holiday Train toy drive event for Bay Area residents from San Francisco to the South Bay.

Decorated with more than 75,000 lights, the Holiday Train will visit nine Caltrain stations 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. Prior to the arrival of the train, families can enjoy free entertainment at each of the Holiday Train station stops.

In addition to offering families free holiday fun, the Holiday Train offers an opportunity to donate new toys or books to local children whose families are struggling to make ends meet. Caltrain is proud to partner with the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots program and the Salvation Army’s Season of Giving program to help make the season brighter for everyone. We are grateful to generous Bay Area residents who have donated more than 50,000 toys since the start of this festive tradition. The glittering show train has been a favorite family holiday tradition for communities all along the Caltrain rail corridor since 2001.

To spread the word about the event, one Caltrain passenger car “wrapped” in the Holiday Train artwork will be in service until the end of December. During this time, Caltrain is also holding a Holiday Train photo contest. Individuals can enter submissions by sending a photo or video of themselves with the Holiday Train wrap in service either by posting to social media with the hashtag #HolidayTrain2018 and tagging Caltrain, or by emailing the submission to Deadline for submissions is November 30. Three winners will be selected to receive a Holiday Train swag bag of prizes.

“We are grateful to the generous Bay Area residents who have donated more than 50,000 toys since the start of this local tradition,” said Caltrain Executive Director Jim Hartnett. “This event would not be possible without the continued support of Silicon Valley Community Foundation and our staff for helping us provide this magical experience to the communities we serve.”

Holiday Train Schedule

Saturday, December 1




San Francisco

4:00 p.m.


5:25 p.m.

Redwood City

6:10 p.m.

Mountain View

7:25 p.m.

Santa Clara

8:00 p.m.


Sunday, December 2




San Francisco

4:00 p.m.


5:20 p.m.

San Mateo

6:00 p.m.

Menlo Park

7:05 p.m.


7:50 p.m.









Community Support

“The Holiday Train is a wonderful community tradition that SVCF is proud to be supporting for a seventh year,” said Greg Avis, interim president of Silicon Valley Community Foundation. “The train and the toy drive bring joy to kids and their families and help foster a spirit of giving.” 

Santa’s helpers can get into the holiday spirit by donating or becoming a sponsor on the Holiday Train website,, and by following Caltrain and Silicon Valley Community Foundation on Twitter using the hashtag #HolidayTrain2018 to help spread the word. All Holiday Train donations are collected by and distributed through Silicon Valley Community Foundation.


The Holiday Train would not be possible without the generous support of our sponsors for everything from decorations and wiring to costumes.

Stanford Children’s Health is our lead sponsor. Speck and the Handel Sunrise Foundation are our station and freight sponsors. Locomotive sponsors are Analog Devices, The Dirk and Charlene Kabcenell Foundation and Intero Real Estate Services. Our railway sponsor is Robert Half.

Media sponsors include The Daily Journal, The San Francisco Examiner, 96.5 KOIT, 98.5 KFOX and 102.9 KBLX

Bayside Equipment Company of Redwood City donated the use of a generator to light up the decorations. Other in-kind sponsors include 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 José, with limited commute service to Gilroy. Caltrain has enjoyed five years of consecutive monthly ridership increases, surpassing more than 65,000 average weekday riders earlier this year. 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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About Silicon Valley Community Foundation

Silicon Valley Community Foundation advances innovative philanthropic solutions to challenging problems. We engage donors and corporations from Silicon Valley, across the country and around the globe to make our region and world better for all. Our passion for helping people and organizations achieve their philanthropic dreams has created a global philanthropic enterprise committed to the belief that possibilities start here. Learn more at