Santa’s Paradise Express at Strasburg Rail Road

An Integrated Marketing Case Study

When Scheffey began working the Strasburg Rail Road in 2000, we recognized potential to elevate an existing event – the holiday train ride with Santa. At the time, promotion of the event was limited to a listing in their annual brochure and ridership was about 3,000 people.

Eleven years and many different marketing efforts later, Strasburg Rail Road’s Santa train event is a Lancaster County family tradition and attracted more than 19,000 visitors this past Christmas.  Through branding efforts, local and regional advertising and cross-promotion with local businesses, Scheffey helped Strasburg Rail Road make the holiday train ride with Santa a popular seasonal event.

In 2004, a fantastic opportunity presented itself  – Warner Brothers released The Polar Express movie. Capitalizing on this holiday blockbuster, we re-named the event Santa’s Paradise Express and enhanced the experience to include strolling carolers, musicians, as well as holiday storytelling. Our creative strategy included new graphics inspired by the book illustrations and movie posters.

Through the years, the railroad has adapted the event’s schedule to accommodate increased interest, and Scheffey has refreshed promotion of the event to include collaboration with local businesses and other cross-promotions. These combined efforts have helped Santa’s Paradise Express to continue to grow each year. However, the rise in popularity and exposure of this event have not impacted the special quality that makes it so magical – the personal, one-on-one experience each child has with Santa.