For six decades, Santa Claus has arrived in La Grande aboard a train, bringing goodies to children waiting at the depot. This year, the Union Pacific has called a halt.
The La Grande Observer (http://bit.ly/1eAySli) reports the railroad won't allow workers to make the one-mile run into town while on duty. Conductor Monte Gaertner says federal rules prevent off-duty volunteers from running a train.
Santa's arrival has drawn as many as 500 children. He delivers candy, coloring books, crayons, cocoa and the like.
Gaertner remembers the Santa Train from his childhood. He says it's a cost-cutting measure.
Spokesman Aaron Hunt says freight shipments are up and the railroad wants "to further focus our resources on creating value for our customers through the safe and efficient operation of our railroad ..."