Every year for the past 10 years, we've ridden the Polar Express train with our kids. The first time we took our son, he was 18 months old—and we've never looked back. This year when my second grader gave her speech about holiday traditions in her family, riding the Polar Express was at the top of the list of traditions.
We used to ride the Polar Express in Vermont, and we were so glad to discover last year that it ran in Oregon too. The Polar Express rolls out of the station bound for the “North Pole” from Hood River, Oregon every holiday season.
Climb aboard with your family to cozy-up and enjoy the festively-decorated vintage train cars. Dancing chefs deliver hot chocolate and a cookie to savor while music from the Polar Express movie plays en route to the North Pole…”Hot Hot, We Got It!” just like in the movie and the book.
Make sure to have your tickets handy, because your conductor will be by shortly to punch your child’s ticket.
Before arriving at the North Pole, the iconic book, The Polar Express, recording by Liam Neeson is played as the Chef turns the pages to share the beautiful illustrations in the original book. With the station far away, The Polar Express magically arrives at the outskirts of Santa’s North Pole village, where Santa Claus himself and his elves joyously welcome the train!
As you stay comfortably settled and warm in your seat, Santa and his helper elf board the train! During the return trip, Santa will greet your child with his signature holiday spirit and the first gift of Christmas: a bell cut from his sleigh. It is said that only children and those who still believe can actually hear the bell ring. Join in the singing as your Chef or Conductor lead Christmas caroling on the 30-minute return trip. If you're lucky, the Hobo will also make an appearance in your train car and continue the magic on the ride back to Hood River.
For those wanting the magic to last or to do a little Christmas shopping, visit the gift shop in the station for special Polar Express gifts and merchandise. Depending on the train package you choose, your ride may include a signature Polar Express exclusive hot cocoa mug. This year's design features the 10th anniversary logo for the Polar Express train ride. You can purchase the mugs and other great Polar Express souvenirs in the gift shop.
For more information on the Mount Hood Railroad and the Polar Express in Oregon: