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NCTD Coaster Holiday Express

Santa is Coming to Town

Join Santa for a magical experience as the COASTER Holiday Express train travels down the coastline! Santa Claus and his merry carolers will be on board for the hour-long trip full of fun with songs, storytelling, gifts for children and Santa’s wish list!

Holiday Express Food Drive: See Below for Details

How to Come Aboard

Tickets can be purchased for each attendee (one ticket per person, regardless of age). On the day of the event, you will meet the COASTER Holiday Express at the Oceanside Transit Center, 235 S. Tremont Street, Oceanside 92054. When you arrive, follow the signs to Platform 1 and line up in the train car section that corresponds to your ticket (signage will be available).

There is no assigned seating. However, we ask that you do not save seats for others who do not board with you. If you have a large group, ensure you line up early, so your party can sit together.

After boarding, the train will depart on time for an approximately 60-minute trip down to the Solana Beach Station and back. During the ride, carolers and holiday characters will greet guests on the train cars, perform songs, hand out a gift for children and wish lists to fill out for Santa. Children will also meet with Santa as he walks through each train car. We ask that you have cameras ready and keep photos to a minimum, so Santa has enough time to visit everyone.

Once the Holiday Express arrives back at the Oceanside Transit Center, a mailbox will be on the platform for children to drop off their wish lists for Santa.

Strollers and bikes are not permitted on board for this event.


Saturday, December 3 * 10:15 am/12:30 pm/2:30 pm

Sunday, December 4 * 10:15 am/12:30 pm/2:30 pm

Saturday, December 10 * 10:15 am/12:30 pm/2:30 pm

Sunday, December 11 * 10:15 am/12:30 pm/2:30 pm

We recommend arriving at the station at least 30 minutes before the train departs.
Santa is on a tight schedule, and the train will depart on time.

Purchase Tickets

Holiday Express Tickets are $20. To Purchase, visit:
All attendees, regardless of age, will need to purchase a ticket. (All participants must utilize the seating areas).

Santa and his helpers will visit each train car, so choose a car that you prefer.

Any guest who uses a wheelchair is invited to purchase a ticket in Car #1.

Tickets, either electronically on your phone or printed out, will be inspected before boarding. Please have tickets out and ready so boarding is efficient.

Holiday Express Food Drive

During the Holiday Express event, NCTD will be collecting canned food to help the nearly 1.1 million people, including 284,500 are children in San Diego County who face nutrition insecurity. The food collected will be donated to the North County Food Bank to distribute directly to people in need in our local communities.  Please consider supporting people in need by bringing the following items:

  • canned meats
  • canned vegetables
  • canned fruits
  • peanut butter
  • pasta, rice
  • cereal, oatmeal

Large red, North County Food Bank barrels will be on the train platform for your donations.

New This Year – Live music presented by two schools on the Holiday Express train platform


The La Costa Canyon High School Music Program is under the direction of Charles Mekealian. The quintet chamber groups are new additions to the music program with the goal of playing at community events. Each of the members are part of the larger music program and are student ambassadors for the school’s growing music community.

Sunday, December 4:  La Costa Canyon High School Woodwind Quintet (Carlsbad)

Sunday, December 11: La Costa Canyon High School Brass Quintet (Carlsbad)



The Gig Jazz Band is an audition-only group that represents San Elijo Middle School in the community and at competitive festivals. Students in grades 7th-8th meet at 7 a.m. before school to rehearse daily. The members of this group are the most dedicated and hard working in the music program.

Saturday, December 10: San Elijo Middle School Gig Jazz Band (San Marcos)





Terms and Conditions

Each passenger must present a ticket to board the COASTER Holiday Express on a designated day. Every person must have a ticket (including children of all ages). Tickets are non-refundable. COASTER Holiday Express is recommended for families with children between the ages of 3 and 10. Please do not bring food, beverages, strollers, or bicycles on board the train. Water and small snacks are permitted. Total trip time is approximately 60 minutes. The 10:15 am, 12:30 pm, and 2:30 pm trains will leave from the Oceanside Transit Center and will not make stops at other COASTER stations. Train departs on time. Plan to arrive at the Oceanside Transit Center at least 30 minutes prior to your departure to find parking and get in line. The Oceanside Transit Center is located at 235 S. Tremont Street, Oceanside 92054. COASTER Holiday Express will operate rain or shine. For more information from North County Transit District visit

Notice of Filming

By entering and by your presence at NCTD’s Holiday Express, you consent to be photographed, filmed, and/or otherwise recorded. Your entry constitutes your consent to such photography, filming and/or recording and to any use, in any and all media throughout the universe in perpetuity to your appearance, voice and name for any purpose whatsoever in connection with the promotion of the COASTER Holiday Express and/or NCTD. You understand that all photography, filming and/or recording will be done in reliance on this consent given by you by entering this area. If you do not agree to the foregoing, please do not enter the event.


For questions regarding the Holiday Express, please email