Santa Express Gingerbread Train

Ho-Ho-Ho! Watch-out for the Santa Express Gingerbread Train!

This Santa Express Gingerbread Train display was the first non-house gingerbread item I’ve created, and the challenge was super fun!

I donated this award winning entry to the Eugene Oregon Festival Of Trees to be auctioned to support Cascade Health Foundation.

The approximate footprint/size of the gingerbread engine is 10″ wide x 5″ deep x 7″ tall, box cars 5 1/2″ wide x 5″ deep x 3″ tall, caboose 7″ wide x 5″ deep x 7″ tall.

I had always enjoyed creating large gingerbread displays, and had wanted to make a gingerbread train, and this was my chance to combine the two!

Wanting to make this gingerbread train as easy as possible for others to build, instead of attempting to bake round gingerbread, which requires a lot of baking skill, to make the engine I simply cut round gingerbread pieces to mimic a train engine. I think this approach worked rather well!

The wheels could have been made with round gingerbread pieces but instead I used two chocolate MoonPies for the large wheels, and Oreo cookies for the small train wheels on the engine, box cars, and caboose. The wheel centers are gum drops and cinnamon candy, with the large wheels connected by a straight candy cane, and the engine smoke stack is a large marshmallow. Looks delish to me!

I knew when I was creating the flat-bed train car that I wanted Little Debbie’s Shortcake rolls for the cargo! AmIRight?

Since this train runs on coal, black licorice bits were the perfect item for the first boxcar. I was able to find chocolate wrapped gifts for the other box cars. With a light dusting of powdered-sugar-snow, these were perfect!

For landscaping I mostly used marshmallow treats made with misc. flake cereal, but this grand Christmas tree was made using Jell-O popcorn balls!

While I thoroughly enjoyed making the gingerbread train, I’ll admit the civil engineer came alive when I designed the train track running across my display base! So much fun!

To decide the train track size, I built all of my train pieces stand-alone, so I could move them as needed. I then placed them on my display base and with pencil drew the lines for the train track. I removed the train cars, and laid a foundation of thick royal icing, sprinkled with black decorators sugar.

I then used lengths of graham crackers for the railroad ties (the train cars are the perfect width)! I then placed a thick bead of royal icing across the graham cracker railroad ties and placed black licorice for the rail.

I then placed the train cars on top of the rail/ties and then placed the wheels.) The pictures in the section above are right before I placed the wheels, with the train cars physically sitting on the railroad ties.) Oreo cookies were perfect to straddle the black licorice rail.

Special Design Elements

How-To instructions for special design elements can be found on the blog at (a website dedicated to the sharing of how-to instructions, templates, pictures, ideas, recipes, contests, etc.). I used the following special design element for this specific gingerbread house:

Decoration Candy

Doesn’t everybody have a box of left-over candy stored in their closet, at all times? I’m always scoping-out the perfect candy for my next gingerbread creation!

Candy used for the Santa Express Gingerbread Train:

  • Railroad: Graham Crackers, Black Licorice, Lifesavers, Black sprinkles
  • Box Car decorations: Red M&Ms, Chocolate cookie, Black Licorice Bits, Chocolate wrapped gift candy
  • Engine vent: Large Marshmallow
  • Wheel centers: Cinnamon candy, gum drops
  • Wheel connector: Candy Cane
  • Flat car: Strawberry Shortcake Rolls
  • Silver Dragees


  • Large wheels: Moon Pie Cookies
  • Small wheels: Oreo Cookies
  • Box cars: Graham Crackers
  • Box car axles: Graham Crackers


Templates are available for this gingerbread house via electronic download of a .pdf file, or pre-printed and shipped.

Download – Template downloads are available in the Gingerbread-By-Design Online Store. Download the .pdf e-Template to your electronic device, print on your printer, cut-out the template pieces and assemble per the instructions provided. All templates are full-size and ready to use. No enlarging required.

Pre-Printed – Pre-printed templates are available in the Gingerbread-By-Design Online Store. These templates are pre-printed for you to then cut-out the template pieces, cut your pieces from gingerbread dough, bake, and assemble per the instructions provided. The pre-printed template packet includes:

  • Template printed on 67lb card stock
  • Supply and Candy List
  • Recipes, including number of batches needed
  • Rolling, Cutting, and Baking instructions
  • Assembly instructions with step-by-step pictures
  • Decorating suggestions, including design elements utilized
  • Handy ziplock storage bag to store your templates

All templates are full-size and ready to use. No enlarging required.

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