Snowglobe Express Returns to Baldwin City


Caitlin Mooney

The Snowglobe Express awaits passenger boarding at Midland farm.

The Snowglobe Express, located at Midland Railway in Baldwin City, is a 12-mile Christmas train ride and experience for adults and children.

Night ride tickets are $60 for adults and premium tickets are $78, with a $5 service fee. Premium tickets include access to premium parking, a voucher for free hot cocoa or cocktail, a free beanie upon arrival, and a more decorated car on the way to and from the main event at the North Pole.

The train travels from Midland Train Depot to Midland Farm, a remote location in Ottawa. There, participants can expect “over the top’’ decorations, music, fire pits with s’mores kits offered for purchase, a petting zoo, a chance to meet Santa and drinks for everyone during the hour long stay at the farm.

A few familiar faces from Baker campus could be seen helping out on the Express. Residence hall advisor and director Nicholas Goodman plays an integral part in the success of the Snowglobe.

“Currently, I’m a conductor for the railroad,” Goodman said. “I’m in charge of the timely and safe movement of the train and passengers and staff safety on the rails.”

Goodman joined the non-profit Midland Railway Association in 2017 and witnessed the recent sale to Midland Railroad, who also own the pop-up bar at Dempsey’s in Lawrence. Goodman said his lifelong fascination with trains drew him to join the MRA and feels that the job is unique.

The Express’ new operation has only been running this year but has sold over 35,000 tickets, with most of the train rides for December being sold out. Because its central location is in Baldwin City, some students have been drawn to participate in the holiday job. Sophomore Kiley Hawk works at the Midland farm that participants travel to on the train ride. She initially worked the train as a part of the Baker track and field fundraiser but wanted a more permanent position.

“I decided to work outside of the track fundraiser because the pay was awesome and it’s not a terribly difficult job.” Hawk said, “I also love Christmas and enjoy seeing the kids have fun.”

Hawk described the job as super simple and fun.

“I love working the train with other members of our team,” Hawk said. “My hands and feet are usually frozen.”

The train has been running since Nov. 25 and will end its season on Jan. 7 next year. Tickets can be purchased online at any time, though no refunds or date changes are allowed. Tickets are transferable and Snowglobe owners urge visitors to give their tickets away to a friend if they are unable to make their purchased date or time.

With this being the first year of operation, the Snowglobe website states that there will be minor changes as the season progresses.

“This is just the beginning,” Goodman said. “Snowglobe Express will be back and even bigger and better next winter.”