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Placer Sentinel

All Aboard the Sacramento Valley Live Steamers Santa Train!

Nov 14, 2023 02:26PM ● By Thomas J. Sullivan

Bring the kids via SVLSRM’s Santa Train to visit the Old Man Claus at Hagan Community Park in Rancho Cordova. Photo courtesy of Sacramento Valley Live Steamers Railroad Museum

RANCHO CORDOVA, CA (MPG) - All aboard the Santa Train!

Members of the Sacramento Valley Live Steamers Railroad Museum (SVLSRM) welcome the public to ride their annual Santa train, weather permitting, during the first and second weekends of December at Hagan Community Park in Rancho Cordova.

Club members also help kick off the holiday season with their participation in the 23rd Annual Rancho Cordova Community Tree Lighting at Village Green Park at 3141 Bridgeway Drive from 4 to 7 p.m. on Sunday, November 26 when a special train for young riders will loop around the brightly lit community tree.

Santa Rides miniature scale train

Bring the kids via SVLSRM’s Santa Train to visit the Old Man Claus at Hagan Community Park in Rancho Cordova. Photo courtesy of Sacramento Valley Live Steamers Railroad Museum

Upcoming run times for the Santa Train at Hagan Community Park are 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, December 2, and Sunday, December 3, and the following weekend, Saturday, December 9 and Sunday, December 10th. The SVLSRM museum is located at 2197 Chase Drive, just past the petting barn in the rear of Hagan Park.

The Santa Experience train ride is $8 per person. Children, ages two and under, ride free with a paid adult ticket. Advance tickets can be purchased on the SVLSRM web site at:

Personal keepsake photographs taken with Santa Claus are free. Guests will receive a login and password to an online gallery where they can later view and download their digital photos.

“This is the largest fundraiser for the SVLSRM each year,” said club president Andy Berchielli.

Over the two weekends, well over 2,400 riders and visitors, both young and old, are expected to visit Santa, he said. “It’s also a lot of hard work and a lot of fun.”

“Our Santa Train is a yearly event that many have made their tradition,” Berchielli said. “We continue to make small changes to improve the flow and wait time of our guests,” he said.

This year, tickets are being sold for three individual trains which will pull five cars each around the 6,300-foot main line loop which is festively decorated by club members to enhance the holiday train ride experience. Passengers will pass under a large inflatable gateway on their way to meet Mr. and Mrs. Claus.

“We will also be handing out candy canes this year to everyone, and each group will receive a keepsake Santa train ornament,” he said.

“Santa will also take time to talk to each child about their Christmas wishes before the train departs back to the main station. It’s a special event that brings smiles to everyone, no matter the weather,” Berchielli said.

An operating G-scale garden loop layout also gives youngsters a close-up view of scale model operating engines and passenger cars as they patiently wait to board each passenger train.

In advance of the event, club members including train crews, engineers, conductors, station masters, and operations managers will be busy getting the main line ready.

“It’s an event I look forward to each, and every year,” he said. “Our Santa trains put everyone throughout the community, and all our club members, fully in the holiday spirit.”

SVLSRM began in 1965 and trackwork was completed with a ceremonial Golden Spike ceremony in 1973. Track and guest improvements have continued ever since with new features added each year, Berchielli said. Live steam engines carry passengers through wooded areas and the nearby American River. The railroad also features wooden trestles, a 40-foot truss bridge as well as a girder deck bridge.

For the latest SVLSRM Santa Train event information, visit Advance tickets should be available for sale soon through the club website, Berchielli said. Contact the club by email at: [email protected] for general information, or call (916) 361-7140

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