The 2014 Santa Train. (Emily Files)

The White Pass and Yukon Route Railroad celebrates the holidays with the annual Santa Train. (Emily Files, This picture is from 2014)

Despite frigid temperatures, Santa Claus is coming to Skagway this weekend. He’ll ride into town on Saturday for the White Pass and Yukon Route Railroad’s annual Santa Train.

It’s not quite Christmas, but as he does each year, Santa is making an early stop in Skagway before heading out to deliver presents.

“We are looking forward to another great event and continuing this tradition for Skagway and all of our neighbors,” says Taylor-Rose.

Jacqueline Taylor-Rose is the manager of marketing and product development at the railroad. White Pass is a busy tourist destination in the summer. In the winter it’s much quieter. Except when the Santa Train rolls through town.

“The train is going to arrive at 11 a.m. with Santa Claus in tow,” says Taylor-Rose. “He’ll be making his way into the Depot to greet all the children and he’ll get to speak to each and every one of them before we invite the families to get on the train and head up the tracks. It’s going to be a really fun and exciting event.”

The train runs about 8-and-a-half miles to Clifton before turning around and heading back to Skagway.

Visitors don’t have to ride the train, though. Taylor-Rose says they’re welcome to just come to see Santa’s arrival. Kids can greet him, tell him what they want for Christmas, and receive a treat before the train takes off. He’ll also be in town a day early for those who can’t make it to the main event.

“Santa Claus is going to come early for any families and children that want to see him early,” says Taylor-Rose. “And that’s going to be taking place at the Depot from 5-7 on Friday evening.”

Temperatures in Skagway this week have dipped way below freezing and into the teens. According to the National Weather Service in Juneau, the frigid weather is going to stick around. And despite clear skies, it’s expected to be below 20 degrees in Skagway on Saturday. But Taylor-Rose says that won’t stop the train from running.

“It’s definitely going to be chilly outside so we are hoping that everyone will bundle up, bring blankets, get cozy on the train and we’ll get those heaters going as soon as we can, just so the cars will be warm and we’ll try to mitigate those cold temperatures we’re expecting for the weekend,” says Taylor-Rose.

Last year, White Pass added extra train cars to accommodate what they anticipated to be a record number of visitors. Many Yukoners make the trip in addition to some travelers from Haines And Juneau. With the extra space they could take about 700 people for a ride, and they had nearly that many.

“We saw a little over 667 people last year and we are expecting the same amount of people hopefully to come to this Saturdays train ride,” says Taylor-Rose.

The train arrives at the White Pass Depot on Second Avenue this Saturday, December 10 at 11 a.m. It departs around 11:45 a.m., as soon as Santa has visited with all the children.