“It was like Christmas right out of Norman Rockwell straight into the hearts of all aboard,” according to a patron of the Children’s Christmas Train, a fun-filled holiday train ride hosted annually by the Arkansas & Missouri Railroad. This family event, which attracts more than 2,000 attendees each year, is held on the first Saturday of December at the Emma Street Depot in Springdale. The event not only provides a magical holiday experience, but also raises critically needed funds for Children’s Safety Center in Northwest Arkansas.
The idea for the Children’s Christmas Train was conceived by a group of J.B. Hunt employees after attending a holiday party on the train, an adult-only event which many of their co-workers had missed in order to be with their children. As much as the employees had enjoyed the event, they knew children would enjoy it even more! They began talking with railroad colleagues and learned of the Kansas City Southern (KCS) Annual Holiday Express train, a Christmas themed event that touches 20 communities in six states during the month of December. Impressed with the concept, employees from J.B. Hunt and Arkansas & Missouri Railroad enthusiastically jumped on board to create a similar event here in Northwest Arkansas – The Children’s Christmas Train.
This year, Children’s Christmas Train riders will depart from the Emma Street Depot in Springdale on Saturday, December 6th aboard a restored 1940s era train. The 40 minute ride to Johnson and back will include carolers, humorous skits, and even a visit with Santa himself! Although the event has “train” in its name, it is much bigger than that! After returning to the Springdale depot families can enjoy holiday games and entertainment – ride ponies dressed as reindeer, operate a model train, write a letter to Santa or just enjoy the characters. Children and families are also encouraged to participate in the “Ugly Christmas Sweater” contest.
There will be seven train departures this year, one every hour from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. and noon to 3 p.m. Tickets may be purchased by calling 479-725-4017 (be sure to ask for The Children’s Christmas Train). Tickets may also be purchased ONLINE HERE (convenience fee applies) from A&M Railroad (click on December 6, 2014). The event does sell out so purchase your tickets today!
Thank you in advance for helping to support organizations in Northwest Arkansas like Children’s Safety Center which provide programs and services for children and families in need. Visit the donations page to learn more about becoming a sponsor and the Children’s Safety Center.