Holiday Light Trains Sell Out for Wilmington & Western’s 50th Anniversary
Right after Thanksgiving, Wilmington & Western Railroad gears up for two big events — Santa Claus Express and Holiday Lights Trains.
Wilmington & Western Railroad, the only Heritage Railroad in Delaware, recently celebrated 50 years of business with Santa Claus Express and Holiday Lights Trains. The holiday themed rides were such a hit this year, they sold out almost instantly.
The Santa Claus Express is a day train that travels through the western part of Newcastle County. During the train ride, Mr. and Mrs. Claus visit with the children, pose for pictures and hand out treats.
At sunset, the Holiday Lights Train, a 1920’s railcar fully adorned with thousands of lights, cruises through Red Clay Valley. Not only is the train lit up, surrounding neighbors decorate their houses for spectators to see.
According to David Ludlow, executive director for Wilmington & Western Railroad, volunteers are dressed in conductors uniforms, the station is decorated with holiday lights and the gift shop sells exclusive holiday gifts.
With the exception of four paid administrators and two part-time ticket agents, Wilmington & Western Railroad is made up mostly of volunteers. Ludlow says the holiday trains were created as a way to give back to volunteers and to celebrate the seasons.
“It’s also an opportunity to for mom, dad and children to get out and do something different than go to the shopping mall. We’re very family-oriented.”
According to Ludlow, the holiday themed rides have been around for at least a couple decades and this year was the busiest. Located at the very northern part of the state, the trains receive guests from all over Delaware, Washington DC, Maryland, Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
“This is hands down the busiest time of year,” Ludlow says. “It was a record year — it was in our top three or four finishes to the season.”
Ludlow says in an effort to accommodate as many guests as possible, the train company added an extra caboose and several extra trains, which still wasn’t enough. At the end of the year, a total of 34,000 visitors will have experienced the holiday trains in 2016.
Ludlow’s favorite part? Seeing the smiles on families and children’s faces. And the positive posts on Facebook and Tripadvisor are a plus.
To learn more about the Wilmington & Western Railroad, visit www.facebook.com/WilmingtonWestern.