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Holiday tradition expands with more train rides, interactive experience

Updated November 2, 2021 - 11:40 am

Nevada Southern Railway’s Santa Express is back this holiday season but with a few changes from previous years.

This year, the Boulder City Santa Express will be a 30-minute train ride followed by 30 minutes at the new Santa’s Railyard where visitors can interact with Santa Claus, his elves and have their picture taken. They will also be able to enjoy hot chocolate and cookies as well as purchasing food provided from Chilly Jilly’z if desired.

The Boulder City Santa Express is held at the Southern Nevada Railroad Museum, 601 Yucca St.

Scott Dam, president of Friends of the Nevada Southern Railway, said in past years everything was done during the train ride, which was about an hour and a half long. Due to the pandemic, they changed it to a shorter train ride with time afterward at the rail yard.

“I think the venues are going to be really neat. … Doing this holiday event is an all-hands effort,” said Dam. “We’ve done everything we can to make it awesome.”

Dam said there won’t be any social distancing requirements, but attendees will need to wear a mask if they are in enclosed train cars. Additionally, he said they have made accommodations for those guests who prefer not to wear one.

“We … have an open-air car this year,” he said. “We know that some people don’t want to have to wear masks … so this is how we’ve accommodated it.”

The Boulder City Santa Express begins Nov. 26. Rides will be Fridays and Saturdays through Dec. 18 as well as Tuesday, Dec. 21, and Wednesday, Dec. 22.

Dam said they added a third train ride each night rather than the usual two. The boarding times are 5:15, 6:45 and 8:15 p.m.

Tickets range from $30-$50 and are available in first class, table car and coach. First class passengers will have a special tent at Santa’s Railyard and receive a gift bag and other extras.

“We’re really excited with this new approach,” said Dam.

Tickets are on sale now and available at https://nevadasouthern.com/upcoming-events/.

“We’ve had so many hits on our website … it shut off the sales,” said Dam. “We have plenty of tickets for sale (now).”

Boulder City Santa Express 2021 is presented by the nonprofit Friends of the Nevada Southern Railway Inc.; it is the group’s only fundraiser of the year.

Contact reporter Celia Shortt Goodyear at cgoodyear@bouldercityreview.com or at 702-586-9401. Follow her on Twitter @csgoodyear.

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