Press Release - November 13, 2017

Holiday Train December 2 & 3 Marks Start of Season of Giving

Bay Area residents, from The City to the South Bay, 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, December 2, and Sunday, December 3, the beloved Holiday Train will once again make its way down the Peninsula. The glittering show train has been a favorite family holiday tradition for communities all along the Caltrain rail corridor for 15 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 more than 75,000 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 entertainment at each of the Holiday Train station stops.

The Holiday Train is more than a glittering feast for the eyes. It is also an opportunity to donate new toys or books to disadvantaged, local children. Caltrain partners with the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots program and the Salvation Army’s Season of Giving program to help make the season brighter for families struggling to make ends meet. Since the inception of the Holiday Train, generous Bay Area residents have brought more than 50,000 toys to Caltrain stations.

“The Holiday Train is our gift to the community and is a great kick-off to the holiday season,” said Caltrain Executive Director Jim Hartnett. “We are very proud to have the continued support of Silicon Valley Community Foundation in providing this magical experience.”

Christmas in the Park

For the third consecutive year, the Holiday Train is partnering with San Jose’s Christmas in the Park event at Plaza de Cesar Chavez. This year, the Holiday Train program has sponsored Christmas in the Park’s Train Display which guests can climb aboard and ring the train bell while posing for a great photo opportunity.

“The Holiday Train brings a spirit of community and sense of delight to people from San Francisco to San Jose,” said Emmett Carson, CEO and president of Silicon Valley Community Foundation. “SVCF is proud that our partnership with Caltrain over the past six years has allowed this great local tradition to thrive.” 

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 #HolidayTrain2017 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 Stanford Children’s Health are “Lead” sponsors. The Dirk and Charlene Kabcenell Foundation, Analog Devices and The Knight Foundation are “Conductor” sponsors. Robert Half International is a “Station” sponsor. The “Railway” sponsor is Brigid S. Barton Family Fund, and the “Community” sponsors are San Mateo Downtown Association, The Ely Family and the Richard Omi Family Fund.

Media sponsors include The Daily Journal,The San Francisco Examiner, 96.5 KOIT, 98.5 KFOX 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, Peterson Technical Services and the Subway store located in the San Francisco Caltrain Station.

Holiday Train Schedule

Saturday, December 2   Sunday, December 3
Station Train Arrival Station Train Arrival
San Francisco 4:00 p.m.   San Francisco 4:00 p.m.
Burlingame 5:25 p.m. Millbrae 5:20 p.m.
Redwood City 6:10 p.m.   San Mateo 6:00 p.m.
Mountain View 7:25 p.m. Menlo Park 7:05 p.m.
Santa Clara 8:00 p.m.   Sunnyvale 7:50 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 65,000 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.

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About Silicon Valley Community Foundation:
Silicon Valley Community Foundation advances innovative philanthropic solutions to challenging problems. We engage donors and corporations from Silicon Valley, across the country and around the globe to make our region and world better for all. Our passion for helping people and organizations achieve their philanthropic dreams has created a global philanthropic enterprise committed to the belief that possibilities start here. Learn more at

Media Contacts:
Caltrain – Tasha Bartholomew, 650.508.7927
Silicon Valley Community Foundation - Sue McAllister, 650.450.5513