Last revised: August 5, 2023
By: Adam Burns
While very popular across the country, only a handful of locations host official "The Polar Express" train rides. In the case of New Jersey, two organizations offer such trips, the New York Susquehanna & Western Technical & Historical Society as well as the Morristown & Erie Railway.
"The Polar Express" rides feature a story-telling of Chris Van Allsburg's magical tale, The Polar Express, . During the trip, children and their parent(s)/guardian(s)/relative(s) can enjoy hot chocolate, cookies, and receive a small gift.
In addition, dressing in your pajamas is highly recommended! When possible, and if available, a steam locomotive is used to pull the train.
Most locations hosting these events sell out their tickets so be sure and keep updated on when tickets go on sale. If tickets are unavailable you may want to check out other organizations hosting Christmas-themed train rides.
These events do not host official "The Polar Express" rides but nevertheless put on fine trips. These are also quite popular and sell out quickly! To learn more please click here.
Please Note! While I have striven to make sure the information presented is accurate to the best of my knowledge, I cannot say-so with 100% certainty.
Please contact each individual organization regarding available trains, specific dates, times, and ticket pricing.
Phillipsburg: The New York, Susquehanna & Western Technical & Historical Society was launched in 1988 to preserve the memory of the railroad by the same name.
The company, which remains in operation, has an interesting history that can be traced back to 1881. In an effort to help fund the group and continue its preservation efforts the NYS&WT&HS sponsors public excursions over freight line Black River & Western.
These events have proven quite popular and very successful with trips departing from Phillipsburg, New Jersey; most the time the trips are led by an authentic steam locomotive, a former China Railways 2-8-2,#142, lettered for the "New York, Susquehanna & Western."
They host many special events throughout the year including wine tasting trains, 'A Day Out With Thomas,' the Corn Maze Train, fall foliage specials, and the official The Polar Express from late November through most of December.
The Polar Express Dates:
Whippany: A private and historic freight railroad the Morristown & Erie Railroad was formed on August 28, 1903 through the merger of two smaller systems, the Whippany River Railroad and Whippany & Passaic River Railroad.
This formed a 10.5 mile, east-west corridor linking Morristown (and a connection with the Delaware, Lackawanna & Western) with Essex Fells (where interchange was established with the Erie Railroad).
With two outlets to move freight and several online customers, the M&E flourished. Small short lines tended to struggle, however, as the 20th century progressed due to increasing competition from other transportation modes and larger railroads.
When the Lackawanna and Erie merged in 1960 to form Erie-Lackawanna, the M&E could no longer enjoy the competitive freight rates offered by pitting one carrier against the other.
Coupled with a declining customer base it fell into bankruptcy in 1978. Surprisingly, the M&E's story did not end there; a group of investors acquired the property and formed the Morristown & Erie Railway in 1982.
The little short line has prospered since that time and now offers public excursions.
The Polar Express Dates: