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Metrolink Holiday Toy Express at Irvine 12/15/2012

by Chris Guenzler

Santa's glittering train, the Holiday Toy Express, is once again preparing to travel from city to city to entertain families and collect toys for the less fortunate. This year, the Holiday Toy Express will bring joy to all of the communities we serve as it marks its 16th year of operation. This 41 stop tour, which passes through six counties, brings a brightly-packaged gift to Metrolink communities -- a 450-ton train decorated with holiday displays and 50,000 twinkling lights -- and delivers a live musical performance, Santa and community fun. Join us, ABC7 and Southland Firefighters who will be collecting toys at the station stops as a key part of their overall annual "Spark of Love Toy Drive" in the region.

The Holiday Toy Express will visit your station rain or shine!

A little bit of rain will not stop the Holiday Toy Express from visiting your station to put on a show. However, if the inclement weather creates a safety issue for the attendees and/or staff, we will cancel the show and reschedule it for another date. If this occurs, the rescheduled time will be posted on this page.

Bring your Umbrella, Dress Warm, Stay Safe and Enjoy The Show!

Every year we are challenged by Mother Nature, but we always do our best to get to every station to perform the show. Our ground coordinator at the site will be notified in advance if the train is cancelled due to weather or safety issues and the attendees at the station will then be notified about the status of the event.

I drove to the Irvine Amtrak station, parked the van then walked out onto the pedestrian bridge where below, a large crowd was beginning to form.

The crowd would become much larger since there was still half an hour before the train arrived this early evening.

Pacific Surfliner 583 arrived.

Pacific Surfliner 583 did its station work.

Then departed for points north to Los Angeles.

More people come to wait for the Metrolink Holiday Toy Express 2012.

The sun has set off to the west and I saw a headlight miles off. Could this be the Metrolink Holiday Toy Express making its way to the first stop of the night at Irvine?

The crowd was still growing.

All you could see was the headlight, but this must be the Metrolink Holiday Toy Express.

Yes, it was the Metrolink Holiday Toy Express arriving in Irvine.

The 50,000 lights made for a unique train. I moved to the stairs for my next picture.

The special train from the stair landing. Now I moved to the east platform for my main pictures.

The front of the Metrolink Holiday Toy Express.

Metrolink F59PH 864 was on the south end of the train. Now I will walk the train and show each of the cars.

That walk took us from the front to the back of this unique train.

The other end of Metrolink caboose SCAX MW01, nee Illinois Central built by the railroad in 1971 or 1972.

Here is the decorated train from the north end.

Metrolink F40PH 800 was on the north end of the train tonight. Next I walked the train back south to showing the lights on this side of the train.

The north end of the caboose. Now the side of it.

Santa's hand moves when he waves at you.

Merry Christmas under the cupola.

Another Santa waving at us. Next to the flat car.

The drummer boys were playing for us.

The lights on the flat car.

More drummers boys were playing on the south end of the flat car. Next was the stage car.

The north end of the stage car.

The main stage.

The south end. On to the passenger car.

The decorations on the passenger car. Now to the engine.

The lights on the side of the engine.

Season's Greetings on the front of the Metrolink engine.

One last view of the completed train.

I started walking back to the van but took a few more pictures along the way.

The program was just beginning.

As I crossed the bridge and went downstairs, I stopped for a pair of pictures then fought the traffic to get home in time for my pay-per-view of the final Rolling Stones concert of the year. It had been another good evening of photography with the Metrolink Holiday Toy Express at Irvine.