LOS ANGELES — Santa Claus and his merry helpers will ride the rails and distribute gifts to hundreds of deserving children on board the 19th annual BNSF Santa Claus Express train as it travels through Southern California beginning Dec. 17 through Dec. 21.
Children are selected for the free rides by the Shriner’s Hospital for Crippled Children, Arrowhead United Way, Salvation Army Red Shield Youth and Community Center, Comprehensive Child Development Center, Mexican American Opportunity Foundation, City of Hope Hospital and Jonathan Jaques Children’s Cancer Center at Miller Children’s Hospital of Long Beach, among other organizations. BNSF employee volunteers will host the children and help Santa Claus deliver gifts and refreshments during each of the trips.
“At BNSF we work with trains everyday, but because of our special guests, the Santa Claus Express is particularly significant for our company and our employees,” says Mark Kirschinger, BNSF general manager, California Division. “It’s great to see the kids’ eyes light up when they see Santa Claus and the Chipmunks.”
At least 1,600 invited children and adults are expected to ride the special BNSF train consisting of two locomotives and seven restored vintage passenger cars as it travels through the Southern California region. It will depart Thursday, Dec. 17 at 9 a.m. from BNSF’s Commerce Diesel Facility, 6300 East Sheila St. in Commerce, and at 1 p.m. from the track adjacent to Banning’s Landing Community Center, 100 East Water Street in Wilmington.
On Friday, Dec. 18 at 9 a.m. it will depart from BNSF’s Commerce Diesel Facility, 6300 East Sheila St in Commerce; on Saturday, Dec. 19 it will depart from the old Santa Fe depot, 1170 W. Third St. in San Bernardino at 9 a.m. and again at 1 p.m. On Sunday, Dec. 20, the train will make one trip leaving the City of Hope Hospital, 1500 E. Duarte in Duarte at 10 a.m. The final trip will depart the Amtrak platform in Victorville, 1683 D St. in Victorville, Monday, Dec. 21, at 10 a.m.