According to a post on its Facebook fan page, the popular CN-IC Santa Train will not be operating this year.
The train, which begins its journey in Gibson City, has run for 48 years and is a Christmas tradition for many families. There is no cost and no tickets are required, making it an accessible and highly enjoyable event. But operators of the Facebook page, which is conducted by volunteers who serve on the train, said the Canadian National Railroad train will not be in operation.
“It is no small endeavor to put on a show of this nature, and the railroad incurs many financial costs, all the while moving the train among its regular train traffic,” the post said. “So while all of us here at CN IC Santa Train Facebook page are dismayed at CN Railroads decision, it is their decision to make. It is important to note that all the moderators and the administrator of the CN-IC Facebook page are not employees of the CN railroad but we have all worked and volunteered on the Santa Train in various capacities, some of us in excess of 25 years.”
For decades Santa has ridden the train from Gibson City to areas north, stopping at towns along the way. Santa visited with his fans at each stop and handed out gift bags and railroad accoutrements. Meanwhile, visitors were able to explore the vintage train cars.
While there will be no train this year, the Facebook page said “personnel will be setting up an event using motor vehicles to bring Santa around to all the same stops as the train visited last year. We will post schedules after The Lost Elf has set it up with all our partners at the towns’ Fire & Police Departments.”