Scott Shenk writes about transportation issues affecting Fredericksburg-area residents. You can email him at

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VRE Santa Train date set

The Virginia Railway Express recently released the run date for the Santa Trains. They’ll run on Dec. 14 out of four stations, with the local one being the Leeland station.

Tickets go on sale at 9 a.m. on Nov. 25. Click here for the online link.

The VRE news releases include details on the Santa Trains as well as the related rail safety program and Toys for Tots.

Every year just before Christmas, kids and their parents are given the opportunity to ride a train and meet Santa and Mrs. Claus, who are on board VRE trains to promote rail safety and Operation Lifesaver’s “Look, Listen and Live” campaign. There will be plenty of Santa’s helpers joining in handing out candy canes and coloring books, along with high school choral groups and other festivity-makers.

We know it has been a long wait (as some of you have been anxious about Santa Trains since summer), but information on the ever popular Operation Lifesaver Santa Trains is finally here!

The event, taking place on Saturday, December 14th uses this opportunity to remind people of the importance of rail safety. So remember, that this event is not just for fun, but it also has a serious and important message: “Look, listen and live!” from Operation Lifesaver. The Santa trains will run out of four stations: Burke Centre, Fredericksburg, Manassas and Woodbridge.

In addition, Operation Lifesaver Santa Trains also work in conjunction with the Marine Corps Toys for Tots. So on December 14th, our Fredericksburg, Manassas, Burke Centre, and Woodbridge stations will be drop off sites for the Marine Corps Toys for Tots Campaign. We are, therefore, encouraging everyone to bring a toy to the Santa Trains so that someone less fortunate in the Virginia area can share in the joys of the holidays.

Tickets go on sale Monday November 25th at 9 a.m. More information about ticket sales and trains can be found here.

The tickets sell out fast, both online and in person. Last year, VRE sold 7,500 tickets. Online tickets were gone in minutes and all vendors sold out of their tickets by noon.

Here are VRE’s details on the Toys for Tots program:

VRE will be holding its annual Toys for Tots on board collection on Wednesday, December 11th

Once again, we are helping the U.S. Marine Corps to distribute toys to less fortunate children that might not otherwise receive any gifts during the holidays. The toys and donations by VRE riders will go towards making the holidays for underprivileged children in Washington a more special and exciting time.

Participating is easy. Leave an unwrapped, new toy on your seat when you detrain that morning and our conductors will collect the toys after the train reaches the storage yard. Conductors will also be accepting donation checks and gift cards for the event. Please make your checks payable to: “Toys for Tots.”

VRE riders have always been very generous in the past and we would like to continue this tradition by helping make this holiday season special for children who may not be as fortunate as others.

Also, Amtrak will have a drop off for Toys for Tots in Union Station on December 11th and 12th. If you forget to bring a toy, feel free to ride to Union Station and donate there.

And remember, in conjunction with Santa Trains, we will also collect toys before you board. There are lots of opportunities for giving, so be sure to take advantage!


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