All Aboard to See Santa Event – December 9 at 7:30PM

The President and Vice-President of the American Passenger Rail Heritage Foundation (APRHF) and the Coordinators of the Trails & Rails program on the Southwest Chief  invite you to spend an evening with Santa and Mrs. Claus. 


The event will officially kick off from Chicago’s Union Station around 3:00 p.m. with the departure of Train #3, Amtrak’s westbound Southwest Chief. Trails & Rails Chicago Coordinators Robert & Kandace Tabern will be aboard this train in the upper level of the Sightseer Lounge Car  — decorated with extra Christmas cheer — doing an interpretive program for the first 100 miles of the route between Chicago and Princeton, Illinois. Everyone with a valid Amtrak coach or sleeping car ticket are invited to come and hear the program. Between Princeton, Illinois and La Plata, Missouri, the Taberns will remain in the upper level of the lounge car, where they will do a trivia contest about the National Park Service, and be available to answer questions about the Trails & Rails program from passengers. Somewhere near the Illinois-Iowa border, the westbound Southwest Chief will make a “special stop” to pick up Santa and Mrs. Claus. Rumors has it that the jolly duo may pay a visit to all the good little boys and girls aboard the train. (Tickets for this train are available through, however Amtrak is NOT a sponsor of this event or affiliated with it in any way.)


The La Plata, Missouri portion of the event will kick off around 7:00 p.m., where anticipation will be high for the arrival of Santa and Mrs. Claus BY TRAIN!  Come out to the Amtrak station, located at 535 N. Owensby Street in La Plata. Before their arrival, everyone is encourage to come and listen to the reading of some Christmas stories from local storyteller, Mary Meyer and see the NEMO Model Railroad Associations operating model railroad. If the train is on-time, Santa will arrive at 7:51 p.m (please note Santa’s train comes from Chicago and may end up being delayed – updates will be given from the caretaker at the La Plata Amtrak station).

After the arrival of Train #3, all guests will have the chance to visit with Santa and Mrs. Claus… so, make sure you bring your Christmas lists!!  Visiting with Santa will take place in the main lobby of the La Plata Amtrak station. Don’t forget to bring your cameras too for that perfect portrait with our jolly visitor from the North Pole.
While you wait in line — Trails & Rails Chicago Coordinators Robert and Kandace Tabern will  be staffing a table at the station where guests will have the chance to learn more about the Trails & Rails program that operates out of La Plata from May to September and during the November and December peak holiday travel seasons.
Representatives from the American Passenger Rail Heritage Foundation will also be on-hand, selling a train-themed children activities books ($10.00) and a railroad route guide for the train between Chicago and La Plata, Missouri ($25.00). Both would make a great Christmas gift — and all proceeds go 100% to the upkeep of the depot, equipment needs for the Trails & Rails program,  or other important projects the American Passenger Rail Heritage Foundation takes on around La Plata every year.

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6 years ago

Wow, you guys think of everything.  Guess the best way for Santa Claus, and Mrs. Claus, to get to La Plata and Chicago is by the Amtrak Southwest Chief.  Great report and photos.  Merry Christmas to the Claus, Tabern, and Cox families!  Ho Ho Ho, Mo.

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