Press Release - November 12, 2015

Holiday Train Dec. 5 and 6 marks start of season of giving 

Bay Area residents know the holiday season has arrived when the Caltrain Holiday Train presented by Silicon Valley Community Foundation makes its way down the Peninsula the first weekend in December.

On Saturday, Dec. 5, and Sunday, Dec. 6, the beloved Holiday Train will once again chug its way from The City down to the South Bay. The glittering show train has been a favorite free family holiday tradition for communities all along the Caltrain rail corridor for 13 years. To spread the word about the spectacular event, one Caltrain passenger car “wrapped” in the Holiday Train artwork is in regular service until the end of December. 

Decorated with tens of thousands of lights, the Holiday Train will visit nine Caltrain stations during the weekend. At each of the train’s 20-minute station stops, people can join in singing with onboard carolers and a Salvation Army brass band. Santa, Mrs. Claus and their extended family -- including Frosty the Snowman and Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer -- will get off the train to greet kids and pose for pictures. 

Prior to the arrival of the train, families can enjoy free live entertainment at each of the Holiday Train station stops. Food trucks will also be onsite in Mountain View, Santa Clara, Menlo Park and Sunnyvale. 

New this year, Holiday Train representatives will be a part of a special celebration on Saturday, Dec. 5 at 9 p.m. at San José’s Christmas in the Park at Plaza de Cesar Chavez.

“The excitement and joy that the train brings to people when it pulls into the station really captures the spirit of the season,” said Emmett Carson, CEO and president of Silicon Valley Community Foundation. “We are proud to partner with Caltrain on the great local tradition of the Holiday Train.”  

The Holiday Train also offers people the opportunity to make a gift to a child in need. Representatives from The Salvation Army and the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots program will be at every station collecting toys for local children. Since the inception of the Holiday Train, generous Bay Area residents have brought more than 50,000 toys to Caltrain stations. People are again encouraged to help make the holidays brighter for local children by bringing a new, unwrapped toy to donate when they visit the Holiday Train. 

“The Holiday Train is a unique opportunity for the young and young-at-heart to come together and, in the spirit of the season, make the holidays a little brighter for families in need,” said Caltrain Chair Adrienne Tissier. “We are proud to have the continued support of Silicon Valley Community Foundation in providing this magical experience.”

Earlier this year, Caltrain and Silicon Valley Community Foundation extended their partnership for an additional three years. The Holiday Train will continue operating through the 2018 season.

In September, through the generous donations collected from the annual Holiday Train event, Caltrain and Silicon Valley Community Foundation directed a total of $30,000 to three local nonprofit organizations. Larkin Street Youth Services, based in San Francisco, Second Harvest Food Bank of Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties, and Youth United for Community Action of East Palo Alto each received $10,000. 

Santa’s helpers can get into the holiday spirit by donating or becoming a sponsor on the Holiday Train website,, and by following Caltrain and Silicon Valley Community Foundation on Twitter using the hashtag #HolidayTrain2015 to help spread the word. All Holiday Train donations are collected by and distributed through Silicon Valley Community Foundation.

The Holiday Train would not be possible without the generous support of our sponsors for everything from decorations and wiring to costumes.

Community Support 

Handel Sunrise Foundation and Mary Lemmon are “Lead” Sponsors. The Dirk and Charlene Kabcenell Foundation, the Knight Foundation and Linear Technology Corporation are “Conductor” Sponsors. Robert Half International, Speck, Xilinx and the city of Millbrae are “Station” Sponsors. “Railway” Sponsors are Brigid Barton Family Fund, Moss Adams LLP and Shopkick. Mixbook and The Ely Family are “Community” Sponsors. 

Media sponsors include The Daily Journal, San Francisco Examiner, San Francisco Magazine, 94.5 KBAY, 95.7 THE GAME, 96.5 KOIT, 98.5 KFOX, Q102.1 and 102.9 KBLX. 

Bayside Equipment Company of Redwood City donated the use of a generator to light up the decorations. Other in-kind sponsors include Jim’s Handyman Services, Nothing Bundt Cakes in San Carlos and Millbrae, Peterson Technical Services and the Subway store located in the San Francisco Caltrain Station.

Holiday Train Schedule

Station Train Arrival Station Train Arrival
San Francisco 4:00 p.m.   San Francisco 4:00 p.m.
Burlingame 5:15 p.m. Millbrae 5:15 p.m.
Redwood City 6:15 p.m.   San Mateo 6:20 p.m.
Mountain View 6:55 p.m. Menlo Park 7:45 p.m.
Santa Clara 8:10 p.m.   Sunnyvale 8:40 p.m.


About Caltrain: Owned and operated by the Peninsula Corridor Joint Powers Board, Caltrain provides commuter rail service from San Francisco to San José, with limited commute service to Gilroy. Caltrain has enjoyed five years of consecutive monthly ridership increases, surpassing more than 60,000 average weekday riders earlier this year. While the Joint Powers Board assumed operating responsibilities for the service in 1992, the railroad celebrated 150 years of continuous passenger service in 2014. Planning for the next 150 years of Peninsula rail service, Caltrain is on pace to electrify the corridor, reduce diesel emissions by 97 percent by 2040 and add more service to more stations. Like us on Facebook at: and follow us on Twitter @Caltrain_News

About Silicon Valley Community Foundation: Silicon Valley Community Foundation makes all forms of philanthropy more powerful. We serve as a catalyst and leader for innovative solutions to our region’s most challenging problems, and through our donors we award more money to charities than any other community foundation in the United States. SVCF has $6.5 billion in assets under management. As Silicon Valley’s center of philanthropy, we provide thousands of individuals, families and corporations with simple and effective ways to give locally and around the world. Find out more at