Santa Train will ride the Ellis & Eastern rails into Nobles, Rock counties on Sunday
“We’ll bring Santa to each one of those little communities, and also have one of our employees there to serve cookies and hot chocolate, and have some Christmas music.”
LUVERNE — With Christmas drawing nearer and festive times ahead, Santa and Mrs. Claus are on track to arrive in Rushmore, Adrian, Magnolia and Luverne Sunday on board the Ellis & Eastern Railroad's Santa Train.
For the second year, Ellis & Eastern Railroad is hosting its Santa Train, decorating two locomotives and a flat car between them with Christmas lights, trees, wreaths and of course, Santa and Mrs. Claus.
“We’ll bring Santa to each one of those little communities, and also have one of our employees there to serve cookies and hot chocolate, and have some Christmas music,” said Ryan Hunsaid, supervisor of train operations with Ellis & Eastern. “And once they get back to Luverne, they do a big holiday fireworks deal when Santa gets there.”
At each stop, children can have their pictures taken with Santa and ask questions about the locomotives — sometimes a bigger draw than the jolly old man in red. Cocoa, cookies, candy canes and stickers will also be given out.
Hundreds of people turned up for the Santa Train last year, despite how cold and windy it was, and Sunday’s weather forecast is much more favorable.
“They really enjoyed it last year, and we’re just making it a little bigger and better,” Hunsaid said.
The Santa Train will be at the Rushmore depot from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., with juice and cookies served at the elevator. The next stop will be the Adrian depot, from 1:15 to 2:15 p.m., followed by the Magnolia depot from 3 to 3:40 p.m. The Santa Train will be at the Luverne Omaha depot from 4:30 to 6 p.m., when the Luverne City Park will open for parking. Fireworks start at 7 p.m., with the “Light the NIght” displays turned on after that.
Ellis & Eastern runs the Santa Train to be good neighbors, Hunsaid said, showing that they care about the communities they serve. Though its parent company is larger, Ellis & Eastern is a small railroad with about 15 employees, and they’re the ones who decorate the flat car and make the Santa Train happen.
“They’re really family people and they care about the community,” Hunsaid said. “We’re excited about it, and it’s going to be a good time.”