LINCOLN, N.H. (AP) — A company that offers old-fashioned train rides along Lake Winnipesaukee and the Pemigewasset rivers says it won’t operate its annual Santa Express Trains this season because of rising COVID-19 cases in New Hampshire.

The Hobo & Winnipesaukee Scenic Railroad said in news release Monday it hopes to offer the holiday trips, during which participants meet Santa and Mrs. Claus, next year. The Santa Express trains run from Lincoln.

The railroad still plans to reopen for its regular season next year in mid-May.

“The railroad had planned to make Santa Express Train tickets available in early November, but due to Covid-19 positivity rates trending upward, we felt it best to hold off on ticket sales due to the surrounding uncertainty,” railroad manager Benjamin Clark said.

Last week, Dr. Benjamin Chan, state epidemiologist, said the state continues to have a high or substantial level of community transmission, averaging 500 to 550 new infections per day with a test positivity rate around 6%.

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