Although it won’t be Samson pulling the train this year, the Christmas Express is back at the BC Forest Discovery Centre for 2021. (Citizen file)

Although it won’t be Samson pulling the train this year, the Christmas Express is back at the BC Forest Discovery Centre for 2021. (Citizen file)

Christmas Express back in Duncan for 2021

Travel through thousands of twinkling lights at the BC Forest Discovery Centre

It’s all aboard this year’s Christmas Express Green Hornet locomotive as it travels through thousands of twinkling lights that adorn the 100 acre enchanted woods of the BC Forest Discovery Centre just outside Duncan.

Thousands of visitors over the years have made a Christmas tradition of attending this colourful and entertaining event which runs this year from Friday, Dec. 3 to Monday Dec. 6, Thursday Dec. 9 to Monday, Dec. 13, Thursday, Dec. 16 to Sunday Dec. 19 and Tuesday, Dec. 21 to Thursday, Dec. 23 for a total of 16 magical evenings.

“We love hosting the Christmas Express and seeing the magic of the holiday in the faces of everyone that attends,” said Chris Gale, general manager of the Centre. “Because of last year’s cancellation, we are even more excited to bring all the Christmas Express train ride magic to our guests. To ensure the safety of our boarders, we have had to scale back the indoor activities and we will be requesting proof of vaccination, the wearing of masks, and advance online booking. Although a few activities like crafts and indoor entertainment have scaled back, we have also lowered admissions to the public.”

“This year the Green Hornet locomotive has stepped up to pull the Christmas Express passenger cars, as our steam locomotive, Samson had to isolate since the start of the pandemic and will need to undergo a full health checkup prior to running on the tracks for the public’s safety. The Green Hornet, the little engine that can,” Gale said. “Our attendance has been growing.”

The concession will not be operating but you’ll be able to warm up after your Christmas journey with hot chocolate and fresh-popped popcorn.

Tickets are only available online in advance at

While on the website, you can also purchase an annual membership for 2022, a perfect gift for holiday gift-giving that gives for months, and years of family memories, Gale said.

The Christmas Express is the museum’s largest fundraiser of the year and the first event at the Centre since the Big Leaf Maple Syrup Festival pre-pandemic in 2020. It is paramount to the ongoing operation and maintenance of the antique vehicle collection, trains, the maintenance of the historical buildings and the preservation of an important ecosystem within the Cowichan region. Families and corporations can support the museum by purchasing a membership for the 2022 season.

Prices vary according to dates. The BC Forest Discovery Centre opens at 4 p.m. with train departures every 30 minutes beginning at 4:30 p.m. The last train departs at 9 p.m.

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