Thanks to the Volunteers
Each year, VIA Rail workers & together with other kind Jasper folks volunteer precious time, energy & resources to put on this great event: the Annual Santa Train. They don’t just volunteer on the day of the event, this year November 29th. They put in countless hours planning & then making it happen.
Jasper Food Bank
This entire event is all about the true spirit of Christmas. In addition to purchasing tickets, passengers are requested to bring food items and other donations for the Jasper Food Bank.
Patrick Mooney, president of the Jasper Food Bank Society spent the day sitting in chaos central of the train station as kids, parents & donations piled up inside the old building. By the end of the 2 train runs that day, one in the morning & the train we took at 3pm, there was a pretty decent pile of donations for Patrick to haul away.
Anne, head of the volunteers, sold raffle tickets to help pump up cash reserves for the food bank.
Building up the Santa Buzz
You can’t imagine the excitement that built up from the moment we left the Jasper train station. As we left heading west, towards B.C., we were told that Santa had missed the train. But, if we kept watching out the window towards the south, we might see Santa flying past in his sleigh. I swear I eventually was believing I’d see him out there!
The looks on those little faces were priceless. But when we entered a train tunnel through the mountain, I swear one of my little companions was going to loose it. Just as the tears were building up in his eyes, a VIA volunteer loudly announced that Santa had been spotted … perfect timing.
Santa landed on the Train
… Or so we were told. Santa didn’t disappoint us. He walked through the train singing Jingle Bells, followed by his helper elf volunteers who handed out bags of little gifts.
I didn’t even notice when the train stopped and started reversing back to Jasper. The trip was about 2 hours total. On the return trip, kids were invited to take their turns heading back to the dome car where they could have their pictures taken with Santa.