Polar Express train ride options span across the many options for historic US and Canadian railroads, creating a North American conglomerate of Polar Express choices. The famous book The Polar Express was written by Chris Van Allsburg in 1985. The story relays one boys’s train journey to the North Pole to meet the ever-illusive Santa Claus. Many of the events that happen in the famous book are recreated during the best Polar Express train rides and transcend the magical mood constructed throughout the classic tale.
There are several American train tours offering a Polar Express train ride each Christmas season. Some even begin in the month of October and offer festive rides right up until the actual holiday and even beyond. The best Polar Express train rides encourage young ones to board the train in their pajamas, which is exactly what the little boy in the Polar Express story does. Though each theme ride differs slightly, most begin with an exciting “All Aboard!” call from the train’s conductor.
Most railroads have a variation of some of the book’s characters appear during the train excursions, creating an authentic setting for the tale to continue. Cookies and hot chocolate are offered to passengers as someone on board tells the tale of the Polar Express. Eventually the Polar Express train ride arrives at the blustery North Pole and in comes Santa Claus to offer a small souvenir, generally a sterling sleigh bell just as it is in the storybook. Most Polar Express trips last about an hour to an hour-and-a-half. Passengers are encouraged to purchase Polar Express tickets aboard Canada trains and US railroads as early as possible to get a seat on these wildly popular rides.
Some of the best Polar Express train rides in the United States include the Durango Silverton Railroad in Colorado. Beginning in the last week of November and running through December, the Durango and Silverton Railroad presents the exciting Polar Express. Highlights include storytelling, hot chocolate and treats, and Christmas carols on the ride back to the station in Durango. Other top Colorado railroads, like the Rio Grande Scenic Railway and Pikes Peak Cog Railway, run similar events such as Winter Wonderland and the Santa Claus Special respectively.
The Grand Canyon Railway in Arizona also offers a Polar Express train ride. Taking off from the historic depot in Williams, the trip through the Grand Canyon is as mesmerizing as it is exciting. Considered one of the best Polar Express train rides in the country, tours begin in mid-November and cease at the end of December. On most days during the season there are two departure times.
The Polar Express train ride aboard the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad is a spectacular journey to the North Pole that includes all the classic touches: hot cocoa, storytelling, carols, and souvenirs from Santa himself. A variety of seating options cater to all budgets. Other railways offering a Polar Express train ride include Niles Canyon Railway, Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad, and the Texas State Railroad. There are also a few choices for Polar Express rides throughout Canada although Christmas Express and Santa Trains are most popular on major Canadian rail routes.
Image: Grand Canyon Railway