More than trendy toys and hordes of cookies, something special makes the Christmas season come alive in the eyes of a child – magic.

This year, give your family the gift of a truly magical Christmas with a ride on the Train to Christmas Town – a 60-minute train ride that features storytelling, live characters and a magical stop in Christmas Town.

From November 27 through December 20, the Train to Christmas Town will run on the Rio Grande Scenic Railroad – known as the Scenic Line of the World – taking its riders through the San Luis Valley.

“It’s something totally different, you can feel the excitement building for all the families,” said Sarah Munley, marketing director for Premier Rail Collection.

All riders are invited to wear their pajamas and get cozy after boarding the train. “We’ll serve hot cocoa and cookies,” Munley said. Kids and their families can enjoy caroling and festivities for the 30 minutes it takes to reach Christmas Town.

Based on a children’s book with the same title published in 2013, the Train to Christmas Town story chronicles the tales of a brother and sister who ride the train by themselves for the first time, making friends with woodland creatures and jolly elves. “We’ll have recorded narration of the book playing on the train and elves on board passing out copies for people to read along,” Munley said.

The book’s cover features a Premier Rail Collection locomotive and has a soundtrack recorded by a Grammy-winning children’s band. Copies of the Train to Christmas Town book and soundtrack will be available for purchase in the Rio Grande Scenic Railroad gift shop.

After arriving in Christmas Town – a festively decorated area on the train’s journey – it’s time for the real magic. “The big payoff is when Santa boards the train,” Munley said. “It’s not something that a lot of children get to experience. They absolutely love it, you can see it in their faces.” Santa Claus will also hand out a special gift to each child on board. “It’s basically theater on a train – and unlike just going to a movie, there’s real interaction for the children.”

Rio Grande Scenic Railroad is operated by Premier Rail Collection, which owns and operates nine railroads throughout the U.S. and U.K. Train to Christmas Town rides are also running in Santa Cruz, Calif., Cape Cod, Mass., and Belmont, N.C.

Premier Rail Collection has several overnight packages available with local lodgings for those traveling from around southern Colorado. Visit traintochristmastown.com for more information or to make a reservation.

Pikes Peak Newspapers, Editor

Hannah Blick has lived in the Pikes Peak region for six years. She studied journalism at Kansas State University and enjoys biking, skiing and hiking in the Rockies.

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