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VRE gearing up for popular Santa Trains
Tickets for the Santa Train on Virginia Railway Express go on sale Monday, Dec. 1

Date published: 11/18/2008

By KELLY HANNON

Thanksgiving is still more than a week away, but Virginia Railway Express has already announced dates for next month's Santa Trains.

These one-hour, round-trip trains give children and families a chance to ride the commuter train on a weekend, learn about rail safety, and have an on-board visit from Santa Claus.

This year's Santa Trains will operate on Saturday, Dec. 13. Locally, trains depart and return to the Fredericksburg station. Trains will also depart and return from VRE stations in Burke, Manassas and Woodbridge.

Tickets are $5 a passenger, regardless of age.

Santa Train tickets will go on sale at the Fredericksburg Visitors Center at 9 a.m. on Monday, Dec. 1. Tickets will be on sale there from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Sunday. They typically sell out very quickly.

Regular VRE weekday tickets cannot be used for Santa Trains.

A small number of tickets for Fredericksburg trains also will be available starting Dec. 1 at Casey's Gift Shop in Washington at 555 C Street S.W. The shop near L'Enfant Plaza is open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily.

Individuals may purchase up to six tickets for most Santa Trains. Groups larger than six people will be allowed on a few trains.

On Dec. 13, Santa Trains will depart Fredericksburg at 8:30 a.m. (the Dasher Express), at 10 a.m. (the Vixen Express), 2 p.m. (the Blitzen Express), and 3:30 p.m. (the Rudolph Express). The 3:30 p.m. train can accommodate groups larger than six.

Net proceeds from ticket sales will go to Operation Lifesaver, a nonprofit organization that promotes rail-safety education.

Station platforms that day will serve as collection points for the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation. Passengers are encouraged to bring a new, unwrapped toy to donate.

Read more about Santa Trains online and view schedules at vre.org.

Kelly Hannon: 540/374-5436
Email: khannon@freelancestar.com