The Wisconsin Great Northern Railroad in Trego, Wisconsin, recently completed construction of a dedicated Santa car.
The car, a former post office car once owned the Milwaukee Road Railway, had been in storage since 2002 until work began in August to gut it. The rusty exterior was repainted in the railroad's orange and gray scheme with holiday graphics - Christmas trees and Santa's sleigh with reindeer.
The inside was redone with pine paneling and features two dozen decorated trees, wreaths, garland and a real sleigh that guests can climb into for photographs. Trego area artist Mary Kay Latzka painted family friendly vignettes including a gingerbread house and elves at the North Pole murals that can be backdrops for photographs.
"This is the culmination of a dream we have had for over 10 years," General Manager Greg Vreeland said.
The car will be featured during the Santa on the Pizza Train, which runs at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. every Saturday and Sunday through Dec. 23, and boards at the railroad's new depot at N6639 Dilly Lake Road, along U.S. Highways 53/63, about 4 miles north of Spooner.
Pizza, candy canes, cookies and hot chocolate are served as the train rolls through the northwoods and along the Namekagon River pulled by a 1940s streamlined diesel locomotive and pulling rebuilt table cars from the 1930s.
Unlike many Santa experiences, the Santa on the Pizza Train interacts with kids throughout the event, even before sit on his lap to share their Christmas wishes, Vreeland said.
For information, call 715-635-3200 or go to spoonertrainride.com.