Holiday Toy Express Route Change Scrooges San Juan Capistrano

Metrolink's Holiday Toy Express chugs into Orange County this month, but after making more than 50 stops over 14 days last year, the Christmasy choo-choo is only stopping 13 times over five days this December.

That has one South County town feeling particularly Scrooged.

San Juan Capistrano, whose charming train station looks like something off a Christmas card around the holidays, is out as a stop this year. That's not only troubling to locals but the Fire Authority's “Spark the Love” toy drive, which in past year's brought and engine to the station to collect gifts for needy children.

Jonathan Volzke gets the scoop for the Capistrano Dispatch.

From Whoville to San Juan.

The Grinch in this tale is the economy, which has forced the scaled-back itinerary.

For its part, Metrolink trotted out an attempt at positive spin.

“We modified this year's program to allow neighbors to gather in central
locations to celebrate the season while supporting the Spark of Love
Toy Drive,” Metrolink Board Chairman Keith Millhouse says in a
statement. “I'm pleased we were able to continue to spread holiday cheer
while being mindful of the economic downturn and budget issues facing
our agency and our state.”

The only Orange County stops are in
Fullerton at 6:45 p.m. on Dec. 11 and Irvine, at 5 p.m. on Dec.

Visitors will enjoy a train decked in 50,000 lights, animated characters and Jolly Old St. Nick himself.

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