Polar Express Train Rides, 2019 Schedule

The 2019 schedule is updated as of July 3rd.  Please check back often for further updates!

Officially licensed The Polar Express train rides have become an increasingly popular attraction across the country since Warner Brothers Pictures released the film in November, 2004. Numerous organizations, from museums to tourist railroads, now host such themed rides every November and December (some even run into early January).  They feature a story-telling of Chris Van Allsburg's magical tale, The Polar Express, which comes complete with hot chocolate and cookies. When possible, and if available, a steam locomotive is used to pull the train.  I have had the experience to enjoy one of these events.  If you have the means, I highly recommend taking your kids, grandchildren, or nieces/nephews!  They are excellent.  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.

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Official The Polar Express Train Rides, 2019 Schedule

Alabama

No events known.

Alaska

No events yet known.

Arizona

Grand Canyon Railway: Operates official The Polar Express events from early, November through early January on select dates. The train departs Williams Depot and lasts a little over an hour.  Dates: November 8-10, November 14-17, November 20-25, November 27th, November 29-December 1, December 4-9, December 11-16, December 18-24, December 26-30, and January 2-4. (Updated For 2019)

Arkansas

No events known.

California

California State Railroad Museum:  Lasting about one-hour, official The Polar Express train rides run most weekends at the museum from late November and throughout most of December.  Dates: 

RailTown 1897:  RailTown 1897 offers official The Polar Express events during select dates in December.  Located in Jamestown, California RailTown has been popular for many years, operating a variety of steam locomotives.   The organization states the trips will run from on these dates: November 29-30, December 6-8, December 13-15, and December 20-22.  (Updated For 2019)

Colorado

Colorado Railroad Museum:  The Colorado Railroad Museum, one of the state's largest railroad attractions, hosts official The Polar Express events around the museum grounds from late November through December.  The museum states tickets, and the schedule for this event will be released later in 2019.

Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge RailroadNot only does this railroad feature classic steam locomotives but the views are just as splendid. It is one of the most popular versions of The Polar Express offered around the country and sells out quickly.  Dates: November 15-16, November 22-27, November 29-December 1, December 5-24, December 26-January 2. (Updated For 2019)

Connecticut

No events known.

Delaware

No events known.

Florida

Fort Lauderdale Polar Express:  This ride is hosted by Florida's new Virgin Trains USA commuter rail service (formerly Brightline).  It hosts a roughly 1-hour trip with trains departing from the Fort Lauderdale Station at 101 Northwest, 2nd Avenue.  (Updated For 2019)

Gold Coast Railroad Museum:  This organization, based in Miami, now hosts official The Polar Express train rides from late November through late December.  The 2019 schedule has not yet been released.

Orlando & North Western Railway:  This new service (replacing what was formerly the Tavares, Eustis & Gulf; it began in 2011 using a steam locomotive but made its last run on January 29, 2017) launched excursions during late summer of 2017, serving Tavares and Lake County (ranging from dinner trains to various other special events).  They also now host official The Polar Express train rides.  For 2019 these will take place on: November 15-December 30. (Updated For 2019)

Georgia

No events known.

Hawaii

No events known.

Idaho

No events known.

Illinois

Chicago Union Station:  A special The Polar Express event now operates directly out of this historic station, hosted in conjunction with Amtrak.  The 2019-2020 schedule has not yet been released but is expected by this summer.  For more information about this trip please click here. (Updated For 2019)

Fox River Trolley Museum:  Based in South Elgin, the museum hosts official The Polar Express train rides during late November and most weekends in December.  Dates:  November 24, November 30, December 1, December 13-15, December 24, and December 28-29. (Updated For 2019)

Monticello Railway Museum:  This museum based in Monticello, which also offers train rides on the grounds, hosts official The Polar Express train rides during select dates in late November through early December.  Dates:  November 15-17, November 22-24, November 29-December 1, and December 6-8. (Updated For 2019)

Indiana

Indiana Railway Museum/French Lick Scenic Railway: This museum/tourist line, operating a 20-mile round trip excursion through the Hoosier National Forest, hosts official The Polar Express train rides.  Dates: November 8-10, November 15-17, November 22-24, November 29-December 1, December 6-8, December 13-15, and December 17-23. (Updated For 2019)

Whitewater Valley Railroad: Hosts official The Polar Express train rides during select dates during November and December.  Dates:  November 15-17, November 22-24, November 29-December 1, December 6-8, and December 13-15.  This excursion line also offers other Christmas-themed rides including the Santa Claus Limited and Metamora Holiday Special Excursions. (Updated For 2019)

Iowa

No events known.

Kansas

Midland Railway:  The all-volunteer Midland Railway is based in Baldwin City and has grown into a popular tourist railroad.  They have an impressive collection of equipment and maintain a railroad that stretches about 20-miles.  One of the special events hosted each year is the official Polar Express trips.  These are held on the following dates: November 16-17, November 23-24, November 29-December 1, December 6-8, December 14-15, and December 20-23. (Updated For 2019)

Kentucky

Big South Fork Scenic Railway:  The Big South Fork Scenic Railway, based in Stearns, Kentucky operates a 16-mile round-trip tourist train through the Daniel Boone National Forest and Big South Fork National River & Recreation Area.  Dates: November 22-November 24, November 29-December 1, December 6-December 8, December 13-December 15, December 20-December 22.  (Updated For 2019)

Louisiana

New Orleans Union Passenger Terminal:  In association with Amtrak official The Polar Express train rides will depart from the historic New Orleans Union Passenger Terminal during the 2019 holiday season.  For complete scheduling information please click here.

Maine

Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad:  The Maine Narrow-Gauge Railroad & Museum operates a two-foot narrow-gauge railroad using restored steam locomotives. The railroad operates a number of special events and trains throughout the year including The Polar Express train rides on select dates in late November through Christmas.  The museum states tickets will go on sale...

Maryland

Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Museum: The popular B&O museum now offers official The Polar Express train rides during late November.  Dates:   The organization also hosts several other different Christmas-related events and activities during the holiday season, including short train rides, story-time with Mrs. Claus, and breakfast with Santa  Please visit their website to learn more.  Dates: November 15-17, November 23-24, November 29-30, and December 1. (Updated For 2019)

Massachusetts

No events yet known.

Michigan

No events known.

Minnesota

No events known.

Mississippi

No events yet known.

Missouri

Branson Scenic Railway: Based in Branson this tourist line offers popular excursions throughout the year.  They also host official The Polar Express train rides during much of November and December.  Dates: November 1-3, November 7-10, November 14-17, November 21-24, November 27th, November 29-December 7, December 9-December 23. (Updated For 2019)

St. Louis Union Station:   The St. Louis Union Station will host official The Polar Express train rides in 2019.  According to the organization the trip will "depart from St. Louis Union Station for a 45 minute adventure to the North Pole filled with magic, songs, and cheer."  To learn more please visit their website.

Montana

No events known.

Nebraska

No events yet known.

Nevada

Nevada Northern Railway:  The popular Nevada Northern, based in East Ely, hosts official The Polar Express train rides during select dates in late November and during December. To learn more about scheduling and pricing please visit their website.  Dates: 

Virginia & Truckee:  The historic, rebuilt Virginia & Truckee, based in Virginia City hosts several special excursions throughout the year.  This includes official The Polar Express train rides during November and December.  Dates: November 15-18, November 22-24, November 28-December 1, December 5-8, and December 12-15, and December 19-24. (Updated For 2019)

New Hampshire

No events known.

New Jersey

Delaware River Railroad Excursions/New York Susquehanna & Western Technical & Historical Society:  Based in Phillipsburg, this excursion line hosts official The Polar Express train rides during late November and through most of December.  Dates:  November 29-30, December 1, December 6-8, December 13-15, and December 20-22. (Updated For 2019)

Morristown & Erie Railway:  A private and historic freight railroad the Morristown & Erie will play host to official The Polar Express train rides for 2019.  Official dates for the event have not yet been released.

New Mexico

No events known.

New York

Adirondack Scenic Railroad:  One of New York's most popular excursions, the Adirondack Scenic hosts official The Polar Express train rides from late November through most of December, departing Utica Union Station.  The railroad also hosts other Christmas-themed rides including the Santa Train (departing Thendara) and the Adirondack Christmas Train (departing Utica).  Dates:  November 14-17, November 20-24, November 27th, November 29-December 1, December 4-8, December 11-15, and December 18-23. (Updated For 2019)

Catskill Mountain Railroad:  Based in Mt. Pleasant, New York the Catskill Mountain Railroad operates on trackage originally built by the Ulster & Delaware Railroad, later owned by the New York Central, which travels through the beautiful Catskill Mountain region. It hosts official The Polar Express train rides on these dates: November 15-17, November 22-24, November 29-December 1, December 6-8, December 12-15, December 18-23, and December 26-28. (Updated For 2019)

Medina Railroad Museum:  This museum based in Medina has a significant collection of rolling stock on the grounds.  They also offer excursions and host official The Polar Express train rides on select dates in November and December.  Dates:  November 30-December 1, December 7-8, and December 14-15. (Updated For 2019)

North Fork Trolley Company:  The Northfork Trolley Company, provides tourist train rides on the North Fork of Long Island.  They are based in Aquebogue and will host official The Polar Express events in 2019; scheduling, dates, and times have not yet been released.

North Carolina

Great Smoky Mountains Railroad:  Hosts official The Polar Express train rides from November through December.  One of the premier events offered by any tourist railroad with three different classes of service during your trip to choose from you can also enjoy the spectacular views of the Smoky Mountains.  The railroad states The Polar Expressruns on these dates:  November 8-27, November 29-December 24, and December 26-31. (Updated For 2019)

North Carolina Transportation Museum:  The state's largest railroad museum, based in the former Southern's historic shops at Spencer, now hosts official The Polar Express train rides from mid-November and throughout much of December. Dates: November 15-17, November 22-25, November 29-December 1, December 6-8, and December 12-22. (Updated For 2019)

North Dakota

No events yet known.

Ohio

Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad:  One of the most popular excursion lines in the country offers a wide range of events throughout the year.  They also host official The Polar Express train rides every day from November 8th through December 21st, except Veteran's Day (November 11th) and Thanksgiving (November 28th).  (Updated For 2019)

Dennison Railroad Depot Museum:  Located within the restored Pennsylvania Railroad depot at Dennison, hosts official The Polar Express train rides during select dates in December.  Dates:  December 6-8 and December 13-15. (Updated For 2019)

Oklahoma

Oklahoma Railway Museum:  This museum is the state's largest and offers a large collection of preserved equipment to peruse.  They also maintain a short stretch of Katy trackage which hosts train rides during the spring, summer, and early fall.  The organization now offers official The Polar Express events.  To learn more please visit their website.

Oregon

No events known.

Pennsylvania

No events known.

Rhode Island

Blackstone Valley Tourism Council:  The council is based in Woonsocket and hosts official The Polar Express train rides every weekend from November 15-December 22.  Trips depart from the historic, 1882 Providence & Worcester (New York, New Haven & Hartford) depot in Woonsocket. (Updated For 2019)

South Carolina

No events known.

South Dakota

No events known.

Tennessee

No events known.

Texas

Texas State Railroad:  One of the state's most popular attractions hosts official The Polar Express train rides from late November and throughout most of December.  Some of their events are even powered by an actual steam locomotive.  Dates: November 15-17, November 21-27, November 29-December 1, December 6-8, December 12-15, December 17-24, and December 26-28.  (Updated For 2019)

Utah

No events known.

Vermont

Green Mountain Railroad/Hartford Area Chamber of Commerce/Vermont Children's Trust Foundation:  Based in White River Junction these two organizations come together to host official The Polar Express train rides during December.  The Green Mountain Railroad has operated since 1964 utilizing much of the former Rutland Railroad, a historic system which served much of its home state.  To learn more about this event please visit the link included.  Dates: December 14-15. (Updated For 2019)

White River Rotary Club:  The club at White River Junction was established in 1924.  According to their website, "Rotary is an organization of business and professional leaders united worldwide who provide humanitarian service, encourage high ethical standards in all vocations, and help build goodwill and peace in the world. In more than 160 countries worldwide, approximately 1.2 million Rotarians belong to more than 30,000 Rotary clubs."  They host official The Polar Express train rides...

Virginia

No events known.

Washington

Chehalis-Centralia Railroad & Museum:  Located in Chehalis, this museum hosts official The Polar Express train rides during late November and much of December.  They will be offered on the following dates:    Please note that they also offer Santa Steam Trains not related to The Polar Express during select dates in December.

Mt. Rainier Scenic Railroad: The Mt. Rainier Scenic Railroad & Logging Museum, one of the state's most popular such attractions, hosts official The Polar Express train rides on these dates:  November 22—December 31.  (Updated For 2019)

West Virginia

Durbin & Greenbrier Valley Railroad/West Virginia Central Railroad:  Hosts official The Polar Express train rides on select dates throughout most of November and December.  The trains board at the restored Western Maryland depot in Elkins with the journey lasting about an hour.   Dates:  November 6-10, November 14-17, November 20-24, November 29-December 1, December 4-8, December 11-15.

Wisconsin

National Railroad Museum:  The National Railroad Museum in Green Bay hosts official The Polar Express train rides from mid-November through early DecemberTo learn more please visit their website.  Dates: 

Wyoming

No events yet known.

Canada

Alberta Prairie Railway:  This attraction is located in Stettler, Alberta offering steam and diesel powered trips which last up to 5 or 6 hours to Big Valley!  They offer numerous amenities, from on-board meals to murder mystery specials.  One of their special events are official The Polar Express excursions.  Please stay tuned to find out when the schedule will be released.

Aspen Crossing Railway:  This excursion train, based in Mossleigh, Alberta, will host official The Polar Express excursions.  Their 2019 schedule has not yet been released.

West Coast Railway Heritage Park:  Located in Vancouver, British Columbia and established in 1961 the WCRA's mission is to preserve Canada's railroad history through restoration and preservation.  They maintain the West Coast Railway Heritage Park in Squamish, British Columbia which includes a total of 12 acres that features, among other attractions, a station and Canadian National roundhouse.   Dates for the 2019 The Polar Express trips have not yet been released.

Waterloo Central Railway:  This heritage railroad began service in 2007, operated by the Southern Ontario Locomotive Restoration Society (SOLRS) and owned by the Region of Waterloo.  It utilizes a section of the former Canadian National between Elmira and Kitchener, Ontario.  For the first time in 2017 they hosted official The Polar Express events.  In 2019 the attraction will operate on the following dates: November 21-23, November 28-30, December 5-7, December 12-14, and December 19-20. (Updated For 2019)

York–Durham Heritage Railway: This heritage railway is located above Toronto in the both the York and Durham Regions.  It was originally built as the Toronto & Nipissing Railway to a gauge of 3 foot, 6-inches, later widened to standard gauge in 1883.  It became part of the Canadian National in 1923.  Since 1996 it has operated about 12 miles between Uxbridge and Stouffville.  Dates: November 22-24, November 29-December 1, December 6-8, and December 13-22. (Updated For 2019)

United Kingdom/Britain

Mid-Fork Railway:  The Mid-Fork is one of Britain's longest heritage railroads, operating 15 miles of former London & North Eastern Railway trackage around Dereham, Norfolk.  For 2019 the dates are as follows: November 15-17, November 22-24, November 28-December 1, December 4-8, December 11-15, December 18-23, and December 27-29. (Updated For 2019)

Seaton Tramway:  The Seaton Tramway, which operates narrow gauge heritage trams between Seaton, Colyford and Colyton in East Devon's Axe Valley, will play host to official The Polar Express trips on these dates: November 28-December 1, December 3-8, and December 10-24. (Updated For 2019)

Telford Steam Railway:  The Telford Steam Railway (TSR) is a tourist railroad based in Horsehay, Telford in Shropshire, England.  It was created in 1976 and operates part of the historic Wellington & Severn Junction Railway.  They will host official The Polar Express events in 2019.  Dates: November 23-24, November 27-December 2, December 4-9, December 11-16, and December 18-23. (Updated For 2019)

Vintage Trains:  This organization is operated by Birmingham Railway Museum Trust, located in the West Midlands.  It is based at the Tyseley Locomotive Works (previously known as the Birmingham Railway Museum) and maintain a large collection of operable steam locomotives.  To learn more about their Polar Express events please visit their website. (Updated For 2019)

Wensleydale Railway:  Located in Wensleydale and Lower Swaledale, North Yorkshire, England this heritage railroad maintains a 22-mile network between Northallerton West Station and Redmire.  In 2019 they will host official The Polar Express trips on the following dates: November 29-December 1, December 5-8, and December 12-23. (Updated For 2019)


The movie version of The Polar Express is a bit different, and a much longer tale, than the original but for the most part it sticks to the original story. To rail fans and historians the most notable aspect of the movie is Pere Marquette #1225, an actual 2-8-4 Berkshire-type steam locomotive, which is still operational and used as the basis of the locomotive in the movie. It, and its tender, was computer generated to the finest detail, including using the sounds of the locomotive while in operation, in the movie.   Also, please be aware that only certain organizations operate the officially licensed Polar Express train and they are denoted here by the image above. All other organizations listed here operate Christmas or Santa Claus trains not affiliated with the Polar Express  (but are worth the visit!).  

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