CANON CITY, Colo.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The Royal Gorge Route Railroad launches its holiday season November 18 with the Santa Express Train, according to Royal Gorge Route Railroad owner, Mark Greksa. More than 20,000 are expected to ride over a five-week period from November 18 through December 26; a 6,000-guest-count increase over 2010.
This year, the Santa Express Train will run November 18 – November 27 every Friday, Saturday and Sunday at 6 p.m. and December 2 – December 26, sans Christmas day, every evening at 6 p.m. The train will also run at 12:30 p.m. every Saturday in December through December 24. Classes of service include Coach as well as Vista Dome and First Class, both of which offer guests the option to purchase lunch or dinner aboard the train. Coach tickets cost $19 for children 3 – 12 and $29 for adults. First Class tickets cost $29 for children 3-12 and $39 for adults. Vista Dome tickets cost $34 for children 3-12 and $44 for adults. Children under two ride free in any class of service.
The Royal Gorge Route’s Santa Express Train is a series of restored mid-century locomotives decorated in holiday style. Children are encouraged to wear pajamas and relax with family and friends while they sip cocoa and listen to classic Christmas stories read by Santa’s elves. When the train reaches the North Pole, Kris Kringle climbs aboard, visits every child, and gives each of them a special holiday gift. At the end of the trip, families can take photos of their children with Santa Claus in front of Santa’s sleigh at the train depot.
The Santa Express Train’s 1.5-hour train-ride begins at the Santa Fe Depot and travels along the Arkansas River through the rugged, 1,000-foot-deep Royal Gorge to the North Pole and back. Large plate-glass windows allow passengers a view to the wild winter scenery on the way to the North Pole. The North Pole is decorated in charming holiday fashion, like a true Christmas town, and bedecked in more than 20,000 LED lights.
The Royal Gorge Route Railroad runs from March through December each year and offers several classes of service in which to enjoy the beauty of the Royal Gorge. In addition to the Santa Express Train, the Royal Gorge Route runs several holiday excursions, including an Easter Train, Mother’s Day Brunch, Oktoberfest and Trick or Treat Train. Greksa and his wife Leah Greksa, who resurrected the Royal Gorge Route Railroad in 1999 after it lay fallow for 32 years, are part of a multi-generational Colorado family business that spans 40-years and operated the Georgetown Loop Railroad prior to launching the Royal Gorge Route Railroad in 1999.
The Royal Gorge Route Railroad began its journey through the Royal Gorge in 1880 and was quickly dubbed “The Scenic Line of the World.” Today the Royal Gorge Route hosts more than 100,000 guests from around the world each year and is the number one catalyst in the Royal Gorge region for overnight stays, which directly affects local retail and restaurant revenue. “By preserving the beauty and history of the Royal Gorge and creating a first-class dining, service and scenery destination, we’ve built a quality Colorado attraction and helped the community to economically thrive,” said Greksa.
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