Don’t Miss: Holiday Train Rides

Kids enjoying a ride in the The Polar Express, a two-hour, round-trip ride reminiscent of the beloved children’s tale.
Kids enjoying a ride in the The Polar Express, a two-hour, round-trip ride reminiscent of the beloved children’s tale.

Local rides offer a festive outing for the whole family

By Deborah Jeanne Sergeant

From model trains beneath the Christmas tree to the Polar Express, trains represent a nostalgic holiday motif. Local train rides offer a festive outing for the whole family.

At the Adirondack Scenic Railroad, Utica’s Union Station (www.adirondackrr.com), offers The Polar Express, a two-hour, round-trip ride reminiscent of the beloved children’s tale. It travels north to the Holland Patent Depot, decked out as the North Pole. All guests — children and adults — are encouraged to play along and wear their pajamas, just like in the story!

Hot chocolate chefs will serve each guest hot chocolate and cookies on the ride while they hear Liam Neeson’s reading of The Polar Express Train Ride, by Chris van Allsburg.

At Holland Patent, Santa boards the train to visit each guest and give each child a silver tone bell.

Guests in the first class Cocoa Car ride with Mrs. Claus who will serve guests from souvenir mugs at tables.

The trip is wheelchair accessible for standard-sized chairs that can fit through 26-inch openings. Restrooms on the train are not accessible, but each station’s restroom is accessible.

Departure times are 4:30 p.m. and 7 p.m. Departure Dates are Friday, Saturday and Sunday through Dec. 17; Thursdays Dec. 7 and 14; and Mon., Dec. 18 and Tues., Dec. 19.

Coach seating for adults is $35; for youth 2-12 is $31. First class seating for adults is $55; for youth 2-12 is $48. Children under the age of 2 ride for free and are seated on a parent’s lap. Reserve tickets early to ensure a seat.

Saratoga and North Creek Railway in Stony Creek (www.sncrr.com/train-to-christmas-town, 888-797-7245.) bases its holiday ride on the book The Train To Christmas Town. The 70-minune Train To Christmas Town ride recreates the story on board. A cast of characters will entertain the children with the story and music while serving hot cocoa and cookies. During the trip, Santa and his elves join the festivities to greet the children and present each with a gift. Check website for departure times and availability. Advanced tickets recommended. Tickets are $59 to $79 adults; $49 to $69 child 2 to 12; free for child in parent’s lap.

Cooperstown and Charlotte Valley Railroad in Milford (www.lrhs.com, 607-432-2429) offers the North Pole Express, a two-and-a-half-hour ride from its station at 136 East Main St. in Milford, along the Susquehanna River and back.

The train station and train are decorated for Christmas and will offer refreshments en route. The North Pole Express runs on Saturdays, Dec. 2, 9, and 16. Departure time is 6:30 p.m.

Reservations are required. Seating for adults is $20 for adults; seniors are $19 and children 3 to 12 are $17. Children younger than 3 are free.

The Santa Express Trains, also departing from the Milford station, bring along Santa and elves for the ride brimming with music, refreshments and good cheer. As a special surprise for children, parents may sneak a small gift with their child’s name on to an elf at the Reindeer Shack behind the Depot for Santa to give to their child on the ride.

The Santa Express runs Dec. 2, 3, 9, 10, 16 and 17, departing at 1 p.m.

Reservations are required. Seating for adults is $20 for adults; seniors are $19 and children 3 to 12 are $17. Children younger than 3 are free.

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