Press Release - November 14, 2016

Holiday Train Dec. 3 & 4 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, Dec. 3, and Sunday, Dec. 4, the beloved Holiday Train will once again make its way down the Peninsula. The glittering show train has been a favorite free family holiday tradition for communities all along the Caltrain rail corridor for 14 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 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 entertainment at each of the Holiday Train station stops.

For the second year in a row, 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 Playhouse Build Competition and playhouse exhibit.

“The lighted Holiday Train and all the characters aboard really ignite the excitement and community spirit of the season,” said Emmett Carson, CEO and president of Silicon Valley Community Foundation. “We are proud of our partnership with Caltrain over the past five years to present 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 our gift to the community and is a great kick-off to the holiday season,” said Jim Hartnett, Caltrain’s CEO. “But the Holiday Train is so much more than just a sparkling display. The toys collected at each station help make the holidays brighter for children and families in need, and we are very proud to have the continued support of Silicon Valley Community Foundation in providing this magical experience.”

Last year, Caltrain and Silicon Valley Community Foundation extended their partnership for an additional three years so that the Holiday Train can continue operating through the 2018 season.

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 #HolidayTrain2016 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 is the lead sponsor. The Dirk and Charlene Kabcenell Foundation and Meriwest Credit Union are “Conductor” sponsors. Robert Half International,  Xilinx and the Mountain View Chamber of Commerce are “Station” sponsors. The “Railway” sponsor is the Downtown San Mateo Association.

Media sponsors include The Daily Journal, 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, Locanda Positano, 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

Saturday, December 3   Sunday, December 4
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.

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About Silicon Valley Community Foundation:
Silicon Valley Community Foundation advances innovative philanthropic solutions to challenging problems. As the largest community foundation in the world, 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