The Coast News Group
Families fill the annual Holiday Express Train last year. This year 2,100 riders are expected. File photo by Promise Yee
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The Coaster Holiday Express readies for another trek

OCEANSIDE — This Saturday the Coaster Holiday Express Train will fill up with families who are ready to meet Santa.

Three trains will take off from the Oceanside station throughout the morning, and chug down the coast to the Solana Beach station and back.

Each train has six cars, which NCTD staff decorates for the holidays the night before the ride.

The nonstop train trip takes about 65 minutes. Along the way families enjoy the scenic ocean view, and meet roaming carolers, elves, and snow queens who stroll through the train cars.

The highlight of the ride is a visit with Santa Clause, who spends one-on-one time with each child on the train.

“Trains are amazing things, to combine trains, holidays, and meeting Santa Clause it’s

wonderful,” Eric Sawyer, NCTD marketing and communications coordinator, said.

For some young riders it’s their first trip on a train.

For others the event has become an annual family tradition.

Last year Amy Regardie, of San Diego, and her twin daughters Juliette and Elizabeth, 4, were repeat passengers.

“They said it’s the best ever,” Regardie said. “I knew we had to come back.”

Michelle Console, of Escondido, and her twins Jonah and Julianne, 5, were also aboard last year’s train.

Console said her son and daughter were excited from the minute the train pulled up to the station, and especially enjoyed the caroling.

“They joined in singing at the top of their lungs,” Console said.

Due to the popularity of the Holiday Express Train a third train was added this year.

Ticket demands for the annual ride continue to be high.

“Even after adding another train, tickets were sold out within two hours, there is definitely a big interest in it,” Sawyer said.

Approximately 2,100 passengers will enjoy the holiday train ride this year.