Over the past ten years, Christmas trains, sometimes known as Yuletide rail excursions, have become more popular. As a holiday custom, more and more families are opting to share this experience with one another. Many train rides are themed after the well-known children’s Christmas book The Polar Express, in keeping with the festive season. As of the last count, the Polar Express train service operated over the holidays in more than forty different US cities.
Why are these the most enjoyable train excursions for Christmas? Every one of these has something unique to offer that will contribute to creating lifelong memories for families. While some serve festive drinks, others serve meals. Some provide families with a reading of the beloved Polar Express tale, while the majority provide different combinations of cookies and chocolate. Some trains will conduct Christmas singalongs, while most will give out unique gifts from Santa.
These are some of the greatest train journeys to enjoy this Christmas season. Holiday trains are already underway in many American cities.
1. The North Pole Express, Grapevine, Texas
Grapevine is the self-proclaimed Christmas Capital of the wonderful state of Texas. The city provides families with the North Pole Express rail excursion throughout the holiday season. Visitors board an antique locomotive from the 1920s that has been beautifully adorned for the holidays. Those who travel by rail in November and December will have an amazing experience.
Families will engage in unique experiences with various Christmas characters while singing classic Christmas tunes. Each guest will receive a remembrance mug filled with Santa’s favorite cookie and chocolate snow milk. Youngsters will also get to have a special visit with Santa, which includes a picture opportunity and the first Christmas gift—a “We Believe in Christmas” bell.
2. Branson Scenic Railway Polar Express, Branson, Missouri
Throughout November and December, there are several opportunities to view and pick up Santa on the Branson, Missouri, Scenic Railway Polar Express train trip. During the journey, visitors are served milk and cookies and hear a narration of The Polar Express. Every guest will receive a bell, which is the first Christmas gift, as soon as Santa Claus comes.
It is recommended that adults and children alike travel in their pajamas, exactly like the kids did in the novel. The hour and fifteen minutes of the train travel is over. In order to engage with the passengers, there are additional special visitors on board the train. The train hobo and several carol singers will also be seen by all.
3. Strasburg Railroad Christmas Train, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania
The Strasburg Railroad has been providing train trips for Christmas for more than 60 years. America’s oldest functioning railroad is situated in Lancaster County and provides four distinct possibilities. The Christmas Tree Train, Santa’s Paradise Express, Santa Clause Limited, and the Night Before Christmas Train are the options available to guests.
Choose your train ride, and each will offer a unique Christmas experience for visitors. There will be Santa visits and photo opportunities for all. While others will enjoy the traditional reading of Clement Clarke Moore’s beloved poem, “The Night Before Christmas,” others will receive milk and cookies.In one particular train, you can even choose the Christmas tree you want to take home.
Guests can also have breakfast and dinner with Mrs. Claus for an additional fee. A classic Christmas supper or a full brunch are your options. Mrs. Claus will welcome your family and spend the meal with them. Breakfast is served from 8:30 a.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. On Friday, Saturday, and Sunday evenings, dinner is served at 6:00 p.m.
4. Grand Canyon Railway Polar Express, Flagstaff, Arizona
The Grand Canyon Railroad transforms into the Polar Express each winter. Parents and kids are taken from Williams, Arizona, and taken on an incredible train journey to the North Pole. Everyone is given cookies and hot chocolate while they hear the tale of The Polar Express. Santa makes his way back, giving each person a magical Christmas bell.
For those who wish to have the best possible Polar Express experience, there is still another choice. Visitors can journey in a first-class, private antique train car. A personal chef shows up at your car with chocolate and cookies, just like in the novel. They also take you to some carols for Christmas. Santa greets you in your personal train car upon his arrival and hands you the iconic Polar Express bell. The rest of the journey back from the North Pole is then spent with you to celebrate the start of the season.
For those who like to extend their vacation into an overnight stay, there is also the Polar Express package available. In addition to lodging at the Railway Hotel, guests can purchase Polar Express tickets and enjoy breakfast and dinner at Fred Harvey Restaurant.
5. 1880 Train: Holiday Express, Hill City, South Dakota
For a minimum of ten years, the Holiday Express train has been traveling towards the North Pole. Families can take the train from Hill City to the North Pole, which takes one hour to complete round-trip. Santa will return to Hill City by train, stopping along the way to chat with each youngster. Santa will be giving out unique Christmas bells to every child on board, and there will be cookies and cocoa for everyone to enjoy.
When it comes to their Holiday Express tickets, customers have a few options. The first class, the classic, and the spiky are available! After Christmas, there’s another option called Winter Express, which provides the same experience as the original but without Santa’s visit because he’ll be on vacation. Keepsake mugs, adult beverages, visits from Santa and Mrs. Clause, and even a devoted elf are among the differences.
6. Colorado Railroad Museum Golden Colorado and Polar Express
For every Colorado resident, taking the Polar Express Train Ride is an absolute must. November 10th marked the start of opening night, which will go until December 23rd. Although the entire trip takes about two hours, it is not your typical train ride. Within the Polar Express Pavilion, the passengers’ trip commences. There, guests can take in a cabaret-style preshow featuring holiday music and entertainment.
Following that, guests are led into the main entertainment area, where they will see a theatrical performance from The Polar Express book and a rendition of “Hot Chocolate.” While you take a cookie and sip hot cocoa, observe and listen. Everyone gathers trackside to await the Polar Express train’s arrival after it is complete. At the station, a real coal-fired steam train pulls up, and the conductor invites everyone to board. There, you may see elves perform songs and dances and interact with Santa as he delivers the silver bell, which is the first present of Christmas.
Both first-class and regular seats tickets are available for purchase. All of the benefits of a regular ticket are available to first-class travelers. A copy of the illustrated hardcover book The Polar Express, two unique extra presents, and four commemorative Polar Express cocoa mugs will be given to each guest.