The Best Polar Express Train Rides-Ride the Rails with Santa!

Hop aboard these festive Polar Express and Christmas train rides for lasting holiday memories that are sure to last a lifetime! Enjoy milk and cookies, and even hot cocoa while watching the winter landscapes pass by. Every year, railroads around the U.S. get decked out in wreaths and Christmas lights to celebrate the holiday season.

Check out my list of  Polar Express/Christmas Train Rides by state:


Heart of Dixie Railroad Museum

All aboard the North Pole Express! Take the North Pole Express to the top of the world with the big guy in red, and enjoy Christmas songs and yummy treats along the way. Passengers have the opportunity to ride on 6 historical pieces of rollingstock.

Chicago and North Western Gallery Coach #59: features live entertainers and that includes music and Christmas tales.

Silver Maple Coach #4741 and Santa Fe Coach #2823: these two cars are first class and provide passengers with a cup of hot chocolate, baked goods, a commemorative ornament and glow sticks while on your way to the North Pole.

Frisco Coach #1062: this car is the oldest car on the railroad, being built in 1910. This coach is beautifully adorned with Christmas cheer and provides a great atmosphere for a trip to the North Pole.

Long Island Coach #2972: this coach is known as the “party car” and is very roomy and comfortable.

Upper and Lower Planetarium Dome Coach #892 named “The Eagle: this car gives passengers the opportunity for riders to get the first glimpse of the North Pole as it approaches. Lower level seating is also available in this car.

Tickets Here

North Alabama Railroad Museum

Join in on the fun at the North Alabama Railroad Museum! Ride the rails with jolly ol’ Saint Nick while he listens to your Christmas wishes. After the ride, children will receive a special treat from Santa, also, visit the gift shop while in town.


Alaska Railroad Holiday Train

Join in on the tradition and hop aboard the Alaska Railroad’s Holiday Train! The fun aboard the train includes coloring contests, carolers. magicians, prizes, and of course, a visit from Saint Nick. This is a great trip that is sure to get the entire family into the spirit of the season.


Grand Canyon Railway

All aboard for a festive train trip with Santa! A must for kids of all ages. Ride the rails while listening to the timeless book “The Polar Express” by Chris Van Allsburg, while drinking hot chocolate and eating cookies.

The Grand Canyon Railway is about 30 minutes west from Flagstaff. Come out and enjoy this scenic and magical ride that is sure to create memories to be cherished forever.

Verde Canyon Railway

Hop aboard the Verde Canyon Railway’s train to the North Pole and experience the magic of the season. Upon arriving to the depot in Clarkdale, you will be greeted by thousands of Christmas lights adorning the outside of the depot. Have a delicious holiday treat while walking around and enjoying the festive depot. Children are encouraged to put their letter to Santa in Santa’s mailbag prior to boarding.

Step aboard the train and you will be greeted by a festively decorated railcar and a friendly crew, happy to make all your Christmas wishes come true. Enjoy the 1 hour round trip to and from the North Pole made possible by Santa’s magic!


Arkansas and Missouri Railroad

This railroad runs three Christmas train, so you’ll have plenty of opportunities to experience this holiday tradition.

Check out the Arkansas and Missouri Railroad’s Christmas train. Enjoy music, books and of course meet with Santa! Afterwards, take a tour around the festive station with lots of activities for kids of all ages.

This railroad also offers the “Van Buren Holiday Express Pajama Train”, climb aboard this hour long trip. On board, expect to be served hot chocolate, cookies, and a visit from Santa.

The “Children’s Christmas Train” is a 40 minute train ride that of course includes a visit with Santa, a festively decorated train and friendly crew. All proceeds of this trip benefit the Children’s Safety Center, so come on out and support this great cause.


Napa Valley Wine Train Santa Train

Ride the rails with Santa through Napa Valley! Enjoy this 90 minute ride filled with games, music, hot cocoa and cookies. Kids even receive a teddy bear as an early Christmas gift! Families are also welcome to take a photo with Santa and his helpers. Fares start at $49 and are going fast, you don’t want to miss this scenic and memorable family outing.

Railtown 1897 (California State Railroad Museum)

Enjoy a festive ride with Santa on this hour long journey as you eat cookies, drink hot chocolate, and spend time with the characters from the Polar Express. Receive the first gift of Christmas from Santa, as each passenger receives their very own sleighbell.

Niles Canyon Railway

Enjoy this ride on a festive train decked out in thousands of lights. This train runs every Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday during the holidays. You can board the train from Niles or Sunol Depot so don’t miss out on this great family tradition.

Western Pacific Railroad Museum

Check out this festive Christmas train in the festive town of Portola. Board the train and get ready for tons of Christmas cheer! While aboard, enjoy special holiday treats such as cookies and hot chocolate. And of course, kids get to tell Santa their Christmas wishes! This train runs Fridays and Saturdays in December leading up to Christmas, and is $10 per carload of passengers, $5 per car load if a donation to the EPCAN food bank is made with 3 cans of non-perishable food. Come check out this widely anticipated event that’s fun for the whole family. Also, you can visit the museum to learn about the rich and storied history of the Western Pacific Railroad.

Caltrain Holiday Train

Enjoy the fun and excitement of the Caltrain holiday train! At its 9 station stops, thousands of people are delighted with the sight of the festive lights that adorn the train! This train collect gifts at stations for underserved children and every year collects more than 3,000 presents! When the train enters the station, onlookers are delighted with the sight of Frosty the Snowman, everyone’s favorite reindeer, Rudolph, and Santa’s helpers, the elves!

Willits & Fort Brag

Enjoy this 90 minute ride to give the entire family a magical Christmas experience. While on board, enjoy the amenities provided included hot chocolate, cookies, and a mug. And of course Santa will be making an appearance! This train runs during select dates in December and is a fantastic opportunity to spread Christmas joy with your family.

Fillmore Western Railway

All aboard the North Pole Express! Wearing pajamas is encouraged as this train takes passengers through a wonderful journey of caroling, hot chocolate, and much more. After the train ride, watch children’s eyes light up as they walk through the Christmas Village with Santa.

Orange Empire Railway Museum 

Ride the North Pole Express at the Orange Empire Railway Museum, which takes passengers to the North Pole to visit Santa’s workshop. Hop aboard the train with Santa’s elves as they guide passengers to the North Pole while singing Christmas songs and playing games. Upon arrival to Santa’s workshop, children will be greeted by Santa and Mrs. Clause.

West Sacramento River Train

Hop aboard this 14 mile trip and enjoy the sights and sounds of Christmas! This railroad is family owned and has other trains including dinner and wine tasting train rides.

California State Railroad Museum

The Polar Express at the California State Railroad Museum lets passengers relive the iconic story as you enjoy a trip to the North Pole! Relive the Polar Express experience by sipping hot cocoa, dancing waiters, and of course the hobo. Every passenger will receive the first gift of Christmas, a silver sleighbell, upon arrival to the North Pole.

On board passengers will have 6 vintage passenger cars to choose from.

The Katy Coach Car is the largest coach of the fleet and has comfortable seats where riders are able to face each other(great for groups). This coach is $45 for afternoon departures, and $50 for evening departures.

The Kris Kringle Coach car includes comfortable seats in a love seat configuration this car seats 64 passengers and is $45 for afternoon departures, and $50 for evening departures.

The Gingerbread coach car seats up to 52 passengers and is configured in a chair style. Tickets are $45 for afternoon departures and $50 for evening departures.

The Audubon Dining Car is available for passengers who would like to have a bite to eat while aboard the train. This car got its name from the artist John James Audubon, who inspired the bird paintings that are hand-painted throughout the car. Fares for this car are $260 for the afternoon departure, and $280 for the evening departure.

The French Quarter Lounge Car is inspired by New Orleans with the pink interior and furniture. This car includes a bar, and has a seating arrangement of either tables, settees, or lounge chairs. Pricing starts at $65 for afternoon departures, and $70 for evening departures.

The El Dorado Observation/Parlor Car provides a first class experience for passengers and is divided into two sections, the parlor and lounge. Passengers in this car step out onto the back porch. Fares start at $65 for afternoon departures and $70 for evening departures.


Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railway

Hop aboard this festive Christmas train pulled by a steam locomotive while riding in vintage narrow gauge rail cars. This railroad also offers a Christmas tree train where passengers are able to cut down small white firs up to 20′ tall, and bring them home for the holiday season. When you arrive at the canyon, hot beverages will be served and you can enjoy the breathtaking view of the Animas River.

Royal Gorge Route Railroad “Santa Express”

Hop aboard this festive holiday train as you ride the rails with Santa! Enjoy holiday treats such as hot cocoa and cookies as you sing Christmas carols with the elves, and watch the scene of the snow covered gorge rush past the window outside. Adults can even go to the bar and order cocktails. This is a magical event that is fun for the entire family, and will create memories that will be cherished forever.

Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad

Enjoy a ride aboard the Cumbres & Toltec Santa Train! This train ride is a charity event where passengers are encouraged to bring a non-perishable food item or a boxed toy so that everyone can have a present from Santa!

Passengers are invited to enjoy the beautiful winter snow covered mountainous landscape while enjoying hot cocoa and candy canes. Tickets for this trip are only $5, and it is sure to get you in the Christmas spirit!

Georgetown Loop Railroad

Hop aboard Santa’s North Pole Adventure for a festive train ride with Santa! Passengers on the train will receive goodies from Santa such as baked goods and presents. This train ride lasts about 55 minutes and passengers have the option of riding in the coach, presidential, or parlor cars.  you won’t want to miss this event as Georgetwn was voted one of  Colorado’s “best Christmas towns in the state”.

Colorado State Railroad Museum “Polar Express”

This festive ride reenacts the Christmas classic”The Polar Express”! While there, check out the museum to check out Colorado’s rich railroad history.


Naugutuck Railroad Museum-“Northern Lights Limited & Santa Express

Hop aboard the most traveled trains of the year and share the joy of Christmas with the Naugutuck Railroad! These trains run every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. The ride lasts for 1 hour and 20 minutes where passengers get to meet with Santa and his elves.

Passengers can choose either first class, which includes refreshments and a gift bag, coach class, which offers habd delivered gifts from Santa for each passenger and Christmas carols with his elves.

The Shore Line Trolley Museum -“Santa’s Trolley Winter Wonderland”

Travel back in time with Santa as you ride vintage trolleys in a Christmas experience that will create lifetime memories. Get into the holiday spirit as you board the festively decorated trolley and each cookies and hot chocolate with Santa. Afterwards head to the trolley museum where it is transformed into a festive holiday atmosphere with thousands of lights. The trolleys in the museum are are adorned with beautiful holiday lights that are sure to put a smile on everyone’s face. No reservations are needed for this trip as trolley’s leave every 30 minutes, and run select dates during December.

Essex Steam Train

Hop aboard the North Pole Express and enjoy a ride behind a classic steam locomotive! Every passenger on the train is presented with a reenactment of “The Night Before Christmas”, Pjs are also welcomed! Check out this great 90 minute ride and make memories that are sure to be cherished for a lifetime. This train includes first class and coach, and can be purchased as an individual or a group.


Wilmington & Western

Climb aboard the Wilmington & Western Railroad Santa Clause Express for a magical ride with Santa! You will treated to a train pulled by a steam locomotive that will take you through the beautiful Delaware landscapes. And don’t forget to say hi to the jolly elf that greets everyone on board! Bring your camera with you so you can get a picture with Santa. This trip is an 1 1/2 and is sure to get you in the holiday spirit.

You could also ride their holiday lights train that is powered by a “Doodlebug” type rail car that is decorated in thousands of festive lights!


The Royal Palm Railway Experience

The Royal Palm Railway’s Polar Express is sure to get anyone in the holiday season! This train ride will recreate the entire movie and is sure to give children  a great Christmas treat. On board, passengers can interact with Polar Express characters, and have your golden ticket punched by the conductor for a true Polar Express experience.

Florida Railroad Museum

Hop aboard the North Pole Express as you traverse towards the North Pole! Passengers can ride in either first class lounge or coach, excursion plus, excursion class, coach class, and caboose class, where passengers can ride on a caboose that can fit up to 16 people. While on board the train, enjoy light refreshments and sing Christmas songs with the carolers. This is a great holiday tradition to start with your family this year!

Gold Coast Railway Museum

Ride the Gold Coast Railway Museum’s “Polar Express” this year and enjoy a magical experience. Become immersed in a true Polar Express experience with dancing chefs who will bring you cocoa and a Christmas treat. Arriving at the North Pole, elves will climb aboard and welcome passengers. Also, each child will receive a silver sleighbell as the iconic first gift of Christmas. Don’t miss this great holiday experience that is sure to bring Christmas joy to the entire family.

Florida Gulf Coast Railroad

Climb aboard the North Pole Express and Santa Clause Special Trains!

The North Pole Express is a magical ride where passengers get to ride the rails with Santa’s elves while singing along with carolers and sipping hot chocolate.

Enjoy a train ride with Santa on the Santa Clause Special and sing with the carolers that come through each car! This event is sure to bring out the Christmas Spirit in everyone!


Blue Ridge Scenic Railroad

The BRSR “Santa Express” is a festive holiday train where you can ride the rails with Santa! As the train pulls into the station, Santa and Mrs. Clause will wave on the front of the train, greeting all the passengers.  During the 1 hour long ride, you will be immersed in the sights and sounds of “Twas the Night Before Christmas”. Children will receive a special gift and a candy cane so they will be able to remember the ride for years to come.

Historic SAM Shortline

The “Mistletoe Express” is a scenic ride that runs select dates in November and December. Enjoy the sights and sounds of the train and of course, good ol’ Saint Nick! Also, there is a ride that will take passengers to the Christmas tree lighting in Plains, while enjoying the holiday music and eating candy canes with Santa. While in Plains, you can check out the Jimmy Carter National Historic Site museum. Come on out for this great family outing!

Southeastern Railway Museum

The SRM Polar Express experience is a treat for all passengers young and old. This is a unique experience as can sit in a vintage rail car and  watch the Polar Express on a projector screen! After the movie, feel free to visit the museum which includes many historical railroad artifacts, that is sure to excite any rail enthusiast. On select days during the holiday season, you can also eat breakfast or lunch with Santa when he’s taking a break from his busy season!

Georgia State Railroad Museum

Join the GSRM in celebrating the magic of Christmas. Hop aboard one of their historic trains for a ride back in time! After the trip, hang out with Santa and do arts and crafts. For the railfans in the group, check out the railroad museum that includes the oldest roundhouse in the country. Also, enjoy ice cream and a food truck that is located at the museum for a tasty snack!


Hawaiian Railway Society

Aloha! Join the Hawaiian Railway Society in partaking in their Holiday Express. This is a nighttime train ride that is decorated in hundreds of beautiful lights, while enjoying  milk and cookies. Upon arrival back at the station , Santa will there to greet passengers. This ride is $20, but kids under 2 ride free.

Lahaina Kaanapali Railroad

This railroad is a small tourist railroad that connects the towns of Lahaina and Puukolii. The train is decorated with many Christmas lights and includes a Rudolph nose constructed out of red Christmas lights on the front. This train is known as the “Sugar Cane Train” and is a popular destination for both natives and tourists alike. While on the train enjoy Christmas cookies and hot chocolate, tickets cost $30.


Thunder Mountain Line

Climb aboard the Santa Express and spend time with Mr. and Mrs. Clause on your way to Santa’s Village. Enjoy the nicely decorated cars, Christmas music, and of course, a visit with Santa! Upon arrival to Santa’s Village, take a picture with Santa on his sleigh and eat milk and cookies. Before boarding the train for the trip back, walk through Santa’s magic forest and be sure to leave a carrot for his reindeer so they don’t get hungry as they travel the world on Christmas Eve. The ride is 1 1/2 hours long, and passengers have the option of  Executive class, which is $52 for adults and $47 for seniors.  The first class, which is $42 for adults, $39 for seniors, and $32 per child. And standard class which is $32 for adult, $29 for seniors, and $22 for children.


Illinois Railway Museum

Join the IRM on a magical 40 minute train ride through the winter landscapes with Santa! Enjoy refreshments, gifts, and a holiday light display. Among the display of Christmas lights is the largest Christmas tree in the county, which is sure to be a sight to see. Start a new Christmas tradition and give this great holiday train ride a try!

CTA Holiday Train

Hop aboard the CTA Holiday train and join a Chicago Christmas tradition. There is also a Elves Workshop train due to popular demand.

Fox River Trolley Museum

Enjoy a Christmas train trip aboard a vintage trolley car, and watch the story of the Polar Express come to life. This train runs on select days during November and December, and tickets are $35 per person. Check their website for more information.

Amtrak’s Chicago “The Polar Express”

Enjoy this festive holiday train that runs from late November to the 1st of January, and immerse yourself in Christmas joy! While on board, enjoy light refreshments such as hot cocoa and cookies. Also, passengers will receive a silver sleighbell. Pajamas are welcome!


Polar Bear Express

Come enjoy a ride aboard the Polar Bear Express this holiday season! Enjoy a trip with Santa Clause in either the Candy Cane Coach, or the Polar Bear Parlor.

Fort Wayne Railroad Historical Society

At the museum, you can explore Santa’s workshop and have a cup of hot chocolate. Hop aboard the train that is pulled by a vintage diesel locomotive, and enjoy the sights and sounds of the railroad. Tickets are $7, and the ride is 20 minutes.

Whitewater Valley Railroad

Hop on board to the WVR’s service to the North Pole, where Santa will board with his elves, and give each child a gift.

Tickets are $35 per person and the trip lasts almost 2 hours.


Boone & Scenic Valley Railroad

Take a ride on the Boone & Scenic Railroad to the North Pole with Santa and enjoy light refreshments and sing a longs.

Midwest Central Railroad

Enjoy a ride inspired by the Polar Express! When the train arrives at the North Pole enjoy crafts where you can make a homemade ornament and receive a silver sleigh bell from Santa.


Midland Railway

The Polar Express at the Midland Railway runs on select dates in November and December. While on the train, enjoy refreshments and a special gift.

Abilene and Smoky Valley Railroad

This railroad offers Santa Trains and the Abilene Christmas Lights Trolley Tour. Enjoy the lights of Abilene on a trolley bus around the town.


Kentucky Rail Museum

Enjoy this 1.5 hour train ride with Santa. This train runs select dates in December leading up to Christmas. You can also rent your own private car on the train, which is especially good for groups.

Big South Fork Scenic Railway

Take a ride on the Big South Fork Scenic’s Polar Express! Ride the rails with Santa on your way to the North Pole.  Wearing pajamas is encouraged.

French Lick Scenic Railway

Come ride the Polar Express at the French Lick Scenic! Passengers can ride in either the coach class, first class, or dome class.

Lebanon Mason Monroe Railroad 

Enjoy a train ride with Santa through Scenic Kentucky with Santa himself! Santa and his elves will walk through the train to greet all the passengers and treat them to a true Christmas experience.

The Old Kentucky Dinner Train

This unique North Pole Express train comes with a 3 course meal with Santa and Mrs. Clause. This train is operated by RJ Corman Railroad Company.


New Orleans Polar Express

This trip is approximately 45 minutes and takes passengers on a round trip departing from New Orleans Union Passenger Terminal, and is operated by Amtrak, and sponsored by Rail Event Productions.

Louisiana Steam Train Association

Santa’s North Pole Express is pulled by Southern Pacific 475. The train will pick up Santa along the way at the Moonwalk.


Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad Co. and Museum

Be one of the 14,000 passengers that ride “The Polar Express” every year aboard this classic narrow gauge railroad. Enjoy the holiday decorations inside the trains and munch on cookies and drink hot cocoa.

Maine Eastern

The Maine Eastern’s Jingle Bell Express lets passengers travel from Rockland to the North Pole, and enjoy the beautiful scenery of Maine (especially in the snow).

Wiscasset, Waterville & Farmington Railway Museum

Enjoy train rides behind steam and diesel train rides at the Victtorian Christmas event. And best of all, these train rides are free!

Boothbay Railway Villiage

Enjoy this festive train ride that starts in the historic Freeport station, built in 1912. The rolling stock on this train are restored vintage passenger cars that are sure to bring that added charm to the holiday season.

Western Maryland Scenic Railroad

Join the WMSR on the Christmas City Express and enjoy the scenic foliage and mountains of western Maryland. This is a unique trip and guests can get a complete turkey dinner aboard the dining cars.

B&O Railroad Museum

Climb aboard the Magical Holiday Express with your favorite holiday characters. Afterwards, feel free to visit the museum and learn how the history of the mighty Baltimore and Ohio Railroad.

Walkersville Southern Railroad

This train ride includes visits with Santa, and a choice of first class and coach seating.


Cape Cod Central

Cape Cod Central is running the Train to Christmas Town. Enjoy light refreshments with Santa and his elves when they board at the North Pole. Sitting in the dining class will give passengers a special gift from the big man himself.

Edaville Railroad

The Edaville Railroad is running their “Edaville Express” trains with Santa, dancing elves, and light refreshments and help Mrs. Clause and the elves look for St. Nick. When the train pulls into Santa’s toy shop, Santa boards the train and meets with every passenger.

Jolly Jingle Express

The Jolly Jingle Express departs Woburn, MA and heads into Boston for a festive 70 minute journey. This train is operated by the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA)

Scituate North Pole Express

Enjoy this 60 minute train ride with Santa, his elves, Mrs. Clause and Rudolph! Enjoy Christmas carols and light refreshments as you make your way to the North Pole.


Huckleberry Railroad

Enjoy a ride on the Huckleberry Railroad’s holiday train, pulled by a classic steam engine. This ride is 40 minutes, and is $15 for adults, $14 for seniors, and $12 for children. Children 2 years and younger ride free.

Pere Marquette 1225, Steam Railroading Institute. Owosso, MI

The Steam Railroading Institute’s “North Pole Express, powered by Pere Marquette 1225, which is the locomotive that the locomotive in the film, “The Polar Express” was based on, will power the train through the snowy Michigan towns. Enjoy the sights and sounds of the holidays, enjoy hot cocoa and receive a bell just like in the movie.

Photo Credit: Kyle McFetters

Little River Railroad

Ride the Little River Railroad that  runs from Coldwater to Quincy, MI. This train is pulled by a 4-6-2 Pacific, and 0-4-0 type tank engine. This trip is 1 hour and 45 minutes, with a 30 minute layover in Quincy.

Southern Michigan Railroad Society

Hop aboard historic railcars that date back over 80 years old. This is a small event with a small town feel, so come out and start a new holiday tradition this year.


North Shore Scenic Railroad

Ride the Christmas City Express on a 30 minute ride to Lake Superior while enjoying hot chocolate and cookies.

Canadian Pacific Holiday Train

The CP Holiday Train rolls into Minnesota Dec. 5-14, 2018. Come join the fun and Christmas cheer that it brings to the communities it visits, and give a donation for those less fortunate.

Friend of the 261 North Pole Express

Climb aboard this festive Christmas train, for a ride behind Milwaukee Road 4-8-4 Northern type locomotive #261. Children are invited to write their letter to Santa on the train, and get the opportunity to visit with Santa upon arrival at the North Pole.


Grenada Railroad

Ride the Grenada Railroad’s “Train to Christmas Town” and spend some time with Santa and his helpers. This train includes different classes of service and gives passengers a true Christmas experience.


St. Louis Union Station Polar Express

The St. Louis Polar Express is coming to town this year! Relive all the classic moments of the book “The Polar Express” courtesy of Amtrak.

St. Louis Iron Mountain and Southern

This ride includes a visit with Santa and many fun holiday activities that are sure to entertain the entire family.

Branson Scenic Railway

The Branson Scenic Railway provides a unique holiday experience. Board at the depot built in 1906, and enjoy the caroling and fun, and of course, Santa! Coach and dining car seats are available.

Belton, Grandview & Kansas City Railroad

This Santa Train runs December 1st and 8th, 2018, and takes passengers on a 40 minute ride with Santa. At the station, the gift shop will be open to buy an early Christmas present.


Charlie Russel Chew Choo “North Pole Adventure Train”

This ride lasts 1.5 hours, and is a great festive experience in “Big Sky Country”. Enjoy songs and games on the train and meet with Santa and Mrs. Clause.


No Trains Scheduled


Nevada Northern Railway Museum

The Polar Express on the Nevada Northern brings the magic of the classic tale to life. Embark on this magical ride with Santa and his helpers on this memorable holiday experience.

Virginia & Truckee Railroad

Welcome aboard the historic Virginia & Truckee Railroad! The V&T RR Polar Express departs Carson City and makes its way to the North Pole and Santa’s Workshop.  This train runs on select dates in November and December. V&T also hosts the Candy Cane Express, which runs November 23-24, and Dec 1, 2, 8, 9, 15, 16. These trains depart from Virginia City depot for a 50 minute train ride through the scenic mountains of Nevada.

New Hampshire

Hobo Railroad (Winnipesaukee Scenic)

The Hobo Railroad in Lincoln, New Hampshire is running Santa Trains November 23, 24,&25 and  December 1, 2, 8, 9,15, 16 & 22. The cars for this train are decked out with holiday cheer and of course, Santa and his elves will be giving out gifts. Light refreshments are also served on this train such as a box of cookies and hot chocolate.

Conway Scenic Railroad

Join the Conway Scenic Railroad for their annual “Journey to the North Pole” and “Santa’s Holiday Express train rides. On the “Journey to the North Pole”, passengers will be treated to the sights of the beautiful white mountains as you eat Christmas treats and drink hot chocolate. Upon arrival to the North Pole, Santa’s elves will lead you to his print shop, where “The Night Before Christmas” will be read. Children will also receive a gift on the journey back to North Conway.

“Santa’s Holiday Express” is a 1 hour long trip with Santa’s elves. This train runs weekends through December 23.

New Jersey

Cape May Seashore Lines. Tuckahoe,NJ

Welcome aboard the CMSL “Santa Express”. This is a great train ride for the entire family. Enjoy a 30 mile round trip from Tuckahoe,NJ to Richland,NJ aboard PRSL RDCs and other historic rolling stock. Make sure the kids bring their letter to Santa as he will be walking through the train to spend time with each child. Upon arrival to Richland there will be a 30 minute layover to explore the small town. Patronize the local businesses and check out the model railroad club near by. Another option is to ride the Santa Express limited, which is half the trip with no layover, for those who wish to have a shorter ride. Also available is the “Santa Starlight Express” which operates at night. Photos courtesy of CMSL’s Facebook page.

Black River and Western. Flemington, NJ

The BR&W “North Pole Express” is sure to get the entire family into the holiday spirit! The train ride includes refreshments, Santa and his Elves, all while being pulled by a historic steam engine.

Photo Credit: Stephen Bradley

Morristown and Erie “The Polar Express

Hop aboard the Polar Express in Whippany, NJ and enjoy a magical journey through northern New Jersey, courtesy of the M&E. This train runs from November 16-December 29, 2018.

The New Jersey Museum of Transportation

Join a tradition 35 years strong and ride the “Christmas Express” with Santa Clause. This event sells out each year and is a hit with families during the holidays. This train runs November 23, 24, and 25, and December 1, 2, 8,9 ,15 &16.

Delaware River Railroad Excursions

Operated by the non-profit New York, Susquehanna & Western Technical and Historical Society, their Polar Express train ride is a tradition families share every year. Ride along the Delaware River while listening to the Polar Express soundtrack and enjoy refreshments. This trip runs November 23, 24, 25, and 30, and December 1, 2, 3,7,9 14,15,16.

New Mexico

No events known

New York

Catskill Mountain Railroad

Take a scenic ride through the Catskills and celebrate Christmas with the Catskill Mountain Railroad. Drink hot cocoa and enjoy delicious cookies as you glide through the mountains on the way to the North Pole. Passengers even receive a golden ticket to recreate the iconic tale.

Adirondack Scenic Railroad

The Adirondack Scenic’s Polar Express takes you on a 2 hour journey filled with Christmas joy. Enjoy a reading of the Polar Express as you enjoy baked goods and other refreshments. This train runs on select dates November 17th through December 22nd.

Saratoga and North Creek Railway

The “Train to Christmas Town” train begins its journey at Stony Creek Ranch Resort, and makes its way towards Christmas town. Enjoy the dancing elves and Christmas songs on this 1 hour, 10 minute journey.

The Cooperstown & Charlotte Valley Railroad

The Cooperstown & Charlotte Valley’s “Santa Express” train is a popular event for people of all ages. Board a festive train car, sing carols, and receive a gift from Santa. This train runs Saturdays and Sundays through December 17th.

Medina Railroad Museum

On this Polar Express ride, passengers enjoy light refreshments and a bell from Santa. This train runs on Saturdays and Sundays Nov. 25- Dec. 17.

Arcade and Attica Railroad

The Arcade and Attica railroad presents its yearly “North Pole Express” trains. Inside the station, check out the exhibits that display railroad history such as old lanterns and other mementos. This 2 hour, 20 minute journey lets riders meet Santa and his reindeer. Children can enjoy many fun activities, as well as food and drink.

Canadian Pacific Holiday Train

The CP holiday train rolls into a few stations in New York this year, and is a rolling light show! There are thousands of lights decorating the train from wheels to roof.  If you can’t get enough of holiday trains, be sure to check this out! The train runs November 26-27.

North Carolina

Great Smoky Mountains Railroad

Enjoy a ride on the GSMR and enjoy all the scenery that North Carolina has to offer. The Polar Express ride is sure to be a memorable experience for all this holiday season. On board, passengers will enjoy refreshments while listening to the iconic story by Chris Van Allsburg. This train runs November 9th through December 31, 2018.

NC Transportation Museum

This NCTM “Polar Express” runs from November 16 to December 22. Enjoy carolers and visit Santa at the North Pole. Arrive early and visit the museum with shows many historic artifacts of transportation’s past.

New Hope Valley Railway

The New Hope Valley Railway is offering their “Santa’s Reindeer Roundup Express” train this holiday season. Passengers are given the task of helping to find Santa’s reindeer along the train’s route. This train runs December 1,2,8,9 and 15.

Selma Santa Train

Run by the NCDOT, the Selma Santa Train will hit the rails December 15. Enjoy the festive atmosphere on board, and of course, meet with Santa.

North Dakota

No events scheduled


Ohio Railway Museum

Enjoy a train ride with Mrs. Clause, write letters to Santa, and makes holiday crafts. This event is help two weekends in December.

LM&M Railroad

LM&M’s North Pole Express runs on select dates between November 16 and December 29. This train operated from historic downtown Lebanon, through Southwestern Ohio. The station is located in the heart of downtown Lebanon, and gives passengers the opportunity to explore the charming small town.

Hocking Valley Scenic Railway

Join the Hocking Valley Scenic in their annual Santa Train. This is the longest running train as it has been around for three decades. Trains run through November 24 through December 16, and depart at 11am and 2pm. Aboard the train, you will be greeted by the fantastic scenery of the Hocking River Valley, while enjoying Christmas music.

Dennison Railroad Depot Museum

This train runs December 7-9 and 14-16, 2018. This Polar Express ride reenacts the timeless tale, and be entertained with songs and games.

Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad

The Cuyahoga Valley Scenic’s Polar Express runs November 10-December 21. Ride the train into the beautifully decorated North Pole village, where you will be greeted with caroling elves.


Oklahoma Railroad Museum

The museum’s Christmas train operates on Dec. 8, 15, &22, 2018. Take a ride with Santa and sing Christmas carols, after the ride enjoy cookies and hot chocolate.

Eastern Flyer Railroad

Enjoy the Eastern Flyer’s Polar Express ride and take a trip to the North Pole to see Santa.


Mount Hood Railroad 

The “Train to Christmas Town” runs on Nov. 24 and 25, Dec. 1, 2, 8, 9 & 16. Enjoy a festive train ride, set to the classic story”Train to Christmas Town” and get the whole family in the holiday spirit.

Oregon Rail Heritage Foundation

The Holiday Express runs on select dates Nov. 23-December 16. Board the train at Oaks Park, it is advised that you arrive at least 20 minutes ahead of your scheduled departure time.

Sumpter Valley Railroad

Located 22 miles southwest of Baker City, OR, the Sumpter Valley’s Christmas trains allow passengers to take a ride with Santa, and enjoy the historic and charming railroad.  This train runs December 8&9. They also run a Christmas Light train on Dec.8.

Oregon Coast Scenic Railroad

This railroad is all volunteer organization that operates over former Southern Pacific trackage. Their “Candy Cane Express” runs Nov. 24 & 25, and  Dec. 1,2,8,9,15,16,& 22.


Strasburg Railroad. Strasburg, Pa

Welcome to scenic Lancaster county! The Strasburg Railroad is a must for family memories that will last a lifetime. The Strasburg Railroad offers four Christmas trains, the “Santa’s Paradise Express” takes you from Strasburg, PA to Paradise, PA. Enjoy a visit from Santa while on the train as he visits with everyone young and old. Enjoy milk and cookies in anticipation of Christmas Eve with “The Night Before Christmas Train”. On this train Christmas stories are read to children by several readers within the train, great for the entire family to enjoy. For a truly unique experience, ride the “Christmas Tree Train”. This train takes you to Leaman Place Grove, where you can choose the family Christmas tree, usually a pre-cut Frasier or Douglas Fir, and take delivery of the tree back at the station by a historic steam engine. The “Christmas Feast” train gives riders the opportunity to have a Christmas dinner with all the trimmings while enjoying the Lancaster Countryside.

Photo Credit: Steve Barry

New Hope & Ivyland Railroad. New Hope, PA

Welcome aboard “Santa’s Steam Spectacular”. Enjoy a trip through Bucks County behind a historic steam locomotive. Take in the views as you drink cocoa and listen to Christmas Carols. While on the train, Santa and Mrs. Clause will be around to hear the children’s Christmas wishes. Ride in a historic rail car beautifully decorated for the holiday season.
Come ride “The North Pole Express” to enjoy all the Christmas season has to offer. This train is similar to “Santa’s Steam Spectacular” except that it is pulled by a diesel locomotive instead of steam. Start a new family tradition this year and hop aboard the New Hope & Ivyland.

Photo: NH&I website


The West Chester Railroad is a volunteer run organization that operates over the former PRR West Chester Branch. The “Santa’s Express” takes passengers from West Chester rail station, to Glen Mills on a 90 minute journey with Santa.

Everett Railroad 

The Santa Express train is one of Pennsylvania’s favorite holiday traditions.  This train operates on a former Conrail line after it was relocated from its former home in Everett, PA. Com join Santa as he visits Hollidaysburg, PA and enjoy a scenic ride through the Central Pennsylvania countryside.

Rhode Island

Black Stone Valley 

The Black Stone Valley Polar Express is operated by the Providence and Worcester Railroad, and runs weekends November 16- December 23rd. Passengers board at the Blackstone Valley Depot and are treated to a 90 minute excursion on a journey to see Santa.

South Carolina

Rockton, Rion & Western(South Carolina Railroad Museum)

Enjoy a ride on the South Carolina Railroad Museum’s Christmas train for a festive journey with Santa. You will ride on a historic train car that is decked out in all the holiday decor imaginable. Enjoy classic Christmas books while spending time with St. Nick. This train runs Dec. 1, 8, and 15.

South Dakota

1880 Train

The history of 1880 train goes back to the days of the first introduction of the iron horse. The Black Hills of South Dakota have become a valuable source of gold and other natural resources. The 1880 train runs their Holiday Express through these historic hills on a 1 hour round trip departing from Hill City. You have a chance to take advantage of this great event from Nov. 23- December 23.


Tennessee Valley Raillroad

Enjoy a trip aboard the North Pole Limited and be a part of their most popular event. Passengers will be treated to Christmas music, refreshments, and classic Christmas tales. Visit their website for more information on available tickets and classes of travel.

Three Rivers Rambler

Visit Knoxville , TN are take a ride on the “Christmas Lantern Express”. Enjoy the scenery along the Tennessee River and the beautiful farmland, feel free to ask train personnel about the history that rolls by outside your window. This train runs in December on select dates until Christmas, visit their site for more information.


Texas State Railroad

The Texas State Railroad’s Polar Express provides passengers the opportunity to visit the North Pole with Santa. The train will depart from Palestine Depot, and will feature a round trip experience. Passengers will receive light refreshments and enjoy a reading of the Polar Express. This experience is available from Nov. 17- Dec.27.

Grapevine North Pole Express

The Grapevine Vintage Railroad’s North Pole Express is a widely popular annual events that takes passengers to Santa’s Workshop. Board the train at the historic Cotton Belt depot for a ride with elves and Mrs. Clause. Visit their website for more information regarding prices.

Austin Steam Train Association

The North Pole Flyer is a 2 hour excursion that includes visits from Santa and Mrs. Claus. Enjoy the holiday decorations throughout the train while eating Christmas cookies and hot cocoa.


Heber Valley Railroad

The North Pole Express is a 90 minute ride through all the beautiful scenery Utah has to offer. Enjoy  refreshments and different classes of travel, including first class. Check their website for more information on fares and schedules.


Lyndon Freight House Christmas Train

This train ride run by the Vermont Railway departs Lyndon Freight House for a festive and enjoyable Christmas experience.

Green Mountain Flyer

Hop aboard the Green Mountain Flyer on the way to the North Pole. Visit with Santa and enjoy the beautiful Vermont countryside.


Virginia Railway Express

The VRE Christmas train runs on December 8, 2018. It gives passengers the opportunity to visit with Santa and share in the joy of the holidays. Check out their website for more information.


Northwest Railway Museum

Join Santa as he greets passengers on the Northwest Railway Museum’s Santa Train. These train run from Dec. 1-Dec.16.  Check their website for more information and to buy tickets.

Mount Rainier Railroad

Enjoy a steam powered Polar Express excursion along Mount Rainier National Park. This railroad is located 70 mils south of Seattle in Elbe, Washington. For more information, check out their website for prices and directions.

Chehalis-Centralia Railroad & Museum

The Chehalis-Centralia Railroad Museum is offering Polar Express and Santa Steam Train. The Polar Express is an hour long and consists of refreshments and a reading of the Polar Express. Pick up Santa at the North Pole and meet with him on the way back to Chenalis.

Santa Steam Train is a 30 minute ride where Santa meets with everyone on the train. Also, don’t forget to get a picture with Santa!

West Virginia

Durbin and Greenbriar Valley Railway

The Durbin and Greenbriar is running their Polar Express trains Nov. 7-10, 14-17, 20-24, 29-30, and Dec. 1, ,4 -6,  8, 11-13, 15.


East Troy Railroad

Ride the Christmas train to Santa’s workshop where you can take a picture with Santa, eat cookies, and drink hot chocolate. This train runs Nov.24-25, and Dec. 1,2,8,9,15,16, and 22. Check the website for further information and prices.

Wisconsin Great Northern Railroad

This unique experience lets you spend time with Santa while enjoying delicious pizza. Have a pizza party on the “Santa Pizza Train” and enjoy the scenic landscapes on this 2 hour journey. Check their website for more information and ticket prices.

Mid Continent Railway Museum

The Mid-Continent Railway Museum is running their Santa Express Nov. 24-25 and Dec.1-2, 2018. This 55 minute ride includes visits from Santa, and of course, pictures! Children will receive a small gift from Santa’s jolly elves, along with a choir to serenade passengers with Christmas classics. Visit their website for more information.

National Railroad Museum

The National Railroad Museum’s Polar Express is a fun trip to the North Pole to visit Santa. Stop by early and explore the museum for a truly immersive railroad experience.


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