Christmas Trains in (almost) Every State!

Many railfans will tell you that their love for trains can be traced back to memories as a child, especially around the holidays. From a model train surrounding a Christmas tree to taking a Christmas train excursion with Santa, the beauty of the trains coupled with the ‘magic’ of the holiday season makes it easy for kids to develop these fond memories.

The continued success of The Polar Express film only affirms the connection between Christmas and trains. Today there are railroad operators and museums in nearly every state that host special events to continue the tradition of the Christmas Train, some of which have taken on official licensing of The Polar Express.

Many railroad museums and operators run Christmas trains, where locomotives and cars like Southern Pacific 794 are outfitted with lights and decorations.
Southern Pacific 794 decorated for the holidays. (Photo: Loco Steve via CC by 2.0)

If you have been thinking about including a Christmas train trip in your holiday plans, but weren’t sure where to go, we have you covered. Below we have a list of holiday trains operating throughout the country. While we tried to find one for every state, some states did not appear to have offerings at the time of writing. Hopefully, if you are in one of those unfortunate states, this list will provide another one nearby. Except Hawaii. Sorry Hawaii.

Christmas Trains By State

Note: While we here at SteamGiants tend to prefer to steam locomotives, we appreciate that the holidays are special so we have included several options that might utilize diesel locomotives for their Christmas train events.

Alabama – Connecticut

Heart of Dixie Railroad Museum
Calera, AL
Phone: (205) 668-3435

North Alabama Railroad Museum
Huntsville, AL
Phone: (256) 851-6276

Alaska Railroad
Multiple Locations, AL
Phone: (907) 265-2494

Verde Canyon Railroad
Clarkdale, AZ
Phone: (800) 582-7245 

Grand Canyon Railway
Williams, AZ
Phone: (888) 848-3511

Arkansas & Missouri Railroad
Springdale, AK
Phone: (479) 725-4017

Niles Canyon Railway
Niles, CA
Phone: (510) 996-8420

Decorated cars greet passengers on the Christmas train at Niles Canyon. (Photo: Moyer Photos via CC by 2.0)

California State Railroad Museum
Sacramento, CA
Phone: (916) 323-9280

Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge 
Durango, CO 
Phone: (877) 872-4607

Georgetown Loop Railroad
Georgetown, CO
Phone: (888) 456-6777

Railroad Museum of New England
Thomaston, CT
Phone: (860) 283-7245

Delaware – Iowa

Wilmington & Western Railroad
Wilmington, DE
Phone: (302) 998-1930

Florida Railroad Museum
Parrish, FL
Phone: (941) 776-0906

Georgia Coastal Railway
Kingsland, GA
(904) 370-3744

TBD- Unfortunately, it does not appear Hawaii has a holiday train active in 2022.

TBD- Unfortunately, it does not appear Idaho has a holiday train active in 2022.

Illinois RR Museum 
Union, IL
Phone: (815) 923-4000

Nickel Plate Express 
Noblesville, IN

Boone & Scenic Railroad
Boone, IA
Phone: (515) 432-4249

Kansas – Montana

Midland Railroad
Baldwin City, KS

Kentucky Railway Museum
New Haven, KY
Phone: (800) 272-0152

Unfortunately it does not appear that Louisiana will have Christmas train excursions; but don’t worry, Kansas City Southern’s Holiday Express will make stops in the state.

Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad & Museum
Portland ME
Phone: (207) 828-0814

Western Maryland Scenic Railroad
Cumberland, MD
Phone: (301) 759-4400

Cape Cod Central Railroad
Buzzards Bay, MA
Phone: (888) 797-7245

Huckleberry Railroad 
Flint, MI

Friends of 261 
St. Paul, MN

TBD- Unfortunately, it does not appear that Mississippi has a Christmas train active in 2022; but don’t worry, Kansas City Southern’s Holiday Express will make stops in the state.

The KCS Holiday Express decorated for the season. (Photo: Gary Dee via CC by 2.0)

Branson Scenic Railroad
Branson, MO
Phone: (417) 334-6110

Charlie Russell Chew Choo 
Lewistown, MT
Phone: (406) 535-5436

Nebraska – North Dakota

TBD- Unfortunately, it does not appear Mississippi has a holiday train active in 2022.

Nevada Northern Railway
Ely, NV
(775) 289-2085

New Hampshire
Conway Scenic Railroad
North Conway, NH
Phone: (603) 356-5251

New Jersey
Morristown & Erie Railway 
Whippany, NJ

New Mexico
Sky Railway
Santa Fe, NM
Phone: (844) 743-3759

New York
Catskill Mountain Railroad
Kingston, NY
Phone: (845) 332-4854

North Carolina 
Great Smoky Mountain Railroad
Bryson City, NC
Phone: (800) 872-4681

North Dakota
TBD- Unfortunately, it does not appear Mississippi has a holiday train active in 2022.

Ohio – Tennessee

Hocking Valley Scenic Railway
Nelsonville, OH
Phone: (740) 753-9531

Oklahoma Railroad Museum
Oklahoma City, OK

Oregon Rail Heritage
Portland, OR
Phone: (503) 233-1156

Strasburg Rail Road
Strasburg, PA
Phone: (866) 725-9666
* Note, Strasburg 475, which was recently in an accident, is back for Strasburg’s holiday tradition.

Rhode Island 
Blackstone Valley 
Woonsocket, RI
Phone: (401) 495-1213

South Carolina
South Carolina Railroad Museum
Winsboro, SC
Phone: (803) 635.9893

South Dakota
Black Hills Central
Hill City, SD
Phone: (605) 574.2222

Tennessee Valley Railroad
Delano, TN
Phone: (423) 894-8028

Texas – Wyoming

Texas State Railroad
Palestine, TX
Phone: (855) 632-7729

Herber Valley Railroad
Herber City, UT
Phone: (435) 654-5601

Green Mountain Railroad 
White River Junction, VT 

Virginia Rails Express 
Alexandria VA
Phone: (800) 743-3873

Chehalis-Centralia Railroad & Museum
Chehalis, WA
(360) 748-9593

West Virginia
Durbin & Greenbrier Railroad
Elkins, WV
Phone (304) 636-9477

National Railroad Museum
Green Bay, WI
Phone: (920) 437-7623 

TBD- Unfortunately, it does not appear Wyoming has an active Christmas train operating in 2022.

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