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THE POLAR EXPRESS™ - Train Ride
2022 details below. Stay tuned for how our 2023 Polar Express will look!
2022 Pricing: Presidential Class: $85 per person | First Class: $50 per person | Coach Class: $35 per person
The Polar Express™ runs on select dates every holiday season.
The Polar Express™ Train Ride was the largest annual event for 2022 at the Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad Co. & Museum. This theatrically-driven holiday train has become an annual tradition for thousands of families, drawing over 20,000 passengers in 2022!
The fun begins at Portland's Ocean Gateway Marine Terminal. The Conductor boards passengers onto the nine historic passenger coaches decked out for the holidays. Once on board, magical chefs serve hot chocolate and cookies. Christmas music fills the cars as the steam locomotive blows its whistle, the wheels start turning, and your roundtrip ride begins to the North Pole.
The Polar Express™ Train Ride is staffed by volunteers and is the largest annual fundraiser for the Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad Co. & Museum. Thank you for your support! Your ticket purchase contributes to the continuity of our entirely unique historic railroad.
Presidential Class details: Passengers riding “Presidential Class” receive our most deluxe level of service! These passengers enjoy premium individual cushioned seating, get a commemorative limited-edition ceramic mug to remember their train ride, and can take home a copy of the Polar Express book signed by Santa Claus, on loan from the North Pole Library. (1 copy per grouping of 4 [or fewer] guests).
First Class passengers get to ride in one of Maine Narrow Gauge’s restored turn-of-the-century train cars (with individual padded seating), as well as receive a limited-edition ceramic mug as a unique souvenir of their train ride to the North Pole.
All passengers get the experience of riding on a brilliantly decorated train powered by an authentic steam engine, as well as receive hot chocolate, a cookie, a brief visit from Santa, and for kids, the first gift of Christmas – a silver sleigh bell.
Are you interested in volunteering? Please contact Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad if you want to play a part of this very special magical event! Contact Volunteer@MaineNarrowGauge.org.
Be ready to board at least 20 minutes prior to the train's departure! The Polar Express™ Train Ride leaves exactly on time.
An entire train car may be rented for your party, depending on availability. However, no group discount is available at this time.
What dates and times does the Polar Express™ run in 2022?
We operate on select dates between Friday, November 25 and Friday, December 23. Departure times depend on the day, with most departures taking place in the mid-afternoon to evening.
How much is pricing?
Presidential Class: $85 per person | First Class: $50 per person | Coach Class: $35 per person
What are your COVID-19 protocols?
We are following all city, state, and federal guidelines for the safe operation of The Polar Express Train Ride™. For the latest info, please visit Maine.gov/covid19.
Do you offer matinee trips?
Yes, on select days. Matinee trips offer an opportunity for those with small children to enjoy an earlier departure. Please note that given the presence of sunlight, the North Pole and nighttime illumination will not be available. Matinee train rides are a great choice for families with young children who wish to experience the Polar Express™ Train Ride and have time for an early dinner and bedtime. Aside from it being daylight, all other aspects of this magical train ride remain the same.
Is There Will-Call?
There is no will-call for 2022. All passengers should receive an email with a link to view and download the tickets. Please bring your ticket, or a mobile device with your ticket on it, to the train ride.
What is at the terminal?
The terminal at Portland's Ocean Gateway is where you'll find a well-stocked gift shop, restrooms, and the gathering point before each train departure.
Are any food or beverages served on the train?
Each passenger receives a complimentary mug of hot, hot chocolate, plus a delicious cookie! First Class and Presidential Class passengers get a limited-edition commemorative ceramic mug with their ticket.
What happens on the train ride?
Before the train departs, passengers are served hot, hot chocolate and each given a cookie by magical Chefs. The steam engine pushes the cheerfully-decorated train from the station all the way to the North Pole!
Along the way, passengers hear a telling of the timeless Polar Express story by Chris Van Allsburg while passing beautiful illuminated displays.
Once the train arrives at the North Pole, Santa and his helpers board the train, greet every passengers, and give every child on the train the first gift of Christmas – a silver sleigh bell.
On the return trip, Santa's elves lead the train in carols and singalongs, creating cherished memories that will last a lifetime.
What is the difference between ticket classes?
Presidential Class is our brand-new, most deluxe level of service on a newly-restored train car. These passengers enjoy reserved premium cushioned individual seating, each get a limited-edition commemorative ceramic mug, and every grouping of 4 (or fewer) receives a copy of the Polar Express book by Chris Van Allsburg, signed by Santa Claus, on loan from the North Pole Library.
First Class tickets give each rider a ride on a turn-of-the-century restored train car (with reserved individual padded seating) and a commemorative limited-edition ceramic mug.
Coach Class tickets give each rider a general admission ride on the festive train.
All passengers receive a cup of "hot, hot chocolate" and a cookie treat. Kids get to take home a sweet-sounding silver sleigh bell.
How is seating different between the service levels?
Coach Class is primarily long wooden benches that run the length of each Coach Class train car. Note that the benches run along the walls of each coach and face inward toward the car's interior.
First Class is a mix of old-fashioned 1x1 "railroad-style" individual padded chairs or padded armchairs. These seats are parallel to the windows.
Presidential Class is entirely contemporary padded armchairs, parallel to the windows.
Is parking provided?
Maine Narrow Gauge does not provide parking, but free street parking and a number of lots are available in a short walking distance. Visit PortlandMaine.gov for parking information.
Does the train operate in all weather?
Yes, the Polar Express™ operates rain, snow, or shine. Please be sure to dress for the weather on your trip.
What if my plans change or I become ill before the train ride?
Unfortunately, all tickets are non-exchangeable, non-transferrable, and non-refundable. This includes if the train is operational but the guest for any reason chooses not to ride.
What if I miss my scheduled departure?
The Polar Express operates on a very tight schedule. All trains leave exactly on time. No latecomers can be admitted, and no refunds, exchanges, or vouchers can be given for guests who miss their scheduled departure. Please plan to arrive 30 minutes before your departure time.
Can the train accommodate wheelchairs?
Yes, our train is equipped with a wheelchair lift and 4 ADA-accessible seats per train.
Does Santa come on the train?
Yes! The train stops briefly at the North Pole, where Santa and his helpers board the train. Santa will make his way through all the train cars and greet each guest. Please be advised that due to the number of riders who Santa wants to meet, he will be unable to stop and pose for individual photos.
Does my lap child require a seat?
Children age 2 and under who sit on a lap do not require a ticket. However, if the child requires a seat of their own to sit in, a ticket is required.
How long does the trip last?
The Polar Express trip lasts for approximately 50 minutes.
What does the cost of the ticket cover?
The Polar Express train ride is the biggest annual fundraiser for Maine Narrow Gauge. Tickets help ensure that our non-profit organization can continue preserving and operating Maine's historic two-foot narrow gauge railroad equipment for the enjoyment and education of the public.
What kind of cookies are served on the Polar Express?
During your train ride, you will enjoy all butter "finger" shortbread cookies provided by Walkers Shortbread. Walkers Shortbread cookies are baked in Scotland and have a delicious crunchy yet crumbly texture achieved through a 125-year-old family recipe, using only four of the finest natural ingredients. Find out more at us.walkersshortbread.com.
Use code PEXME to save 20% off your next purchase from the Walkers online store! Offer expires 12/31/22. Not valid on Sale Items.
What are the cookie ingredients?
Wheat flour (wheat flour, calcium carbonate, iron, niacin, thiamin), butter (milk) (32%), sugar, salt.
What are the hot chocolate ingredients?
Water; Hot Chocolate Powder: Sugar, Non-Dairy Creamer [Refined Coconut Oil, Corn Syrup Solids, Sodium Caseinate (a milk derivative), Mono and Diglycerides, Dipotassium Phosphate, Sugar, Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate, Soy Lecithin, Annatto and Turmeric (Colors), Artificial Flavor], Cocoa Powder processed with alkali, Corn Syrup Solids, Nonfat Dry Milk, Cellulose Gum, Salt, Xanthan Gum, Natural and Artificial Flavor, Sodium Citrate. ALLERGENS: Milk, Soy
How can I participate on the Polar Express as a volunteer?
Volunteers make the Polar Express train ride happen! Please email Volunteer@MaineNarrowGauge.org if you'd like to be part of this very special event.
I have a question about ticketing. Who can I contact?
All questions related to ticketing can be directed to eTix. Please call toll-free at 1-800-514-3849. Hours: Monday-Saturday 9am to 8pm EST. Sundays: 12pm to 8pm EST.
You can also visit the eTix Support Center at support.eTix.com or visit this link for a helpful Customer Support Form.