It is still fall, but the Polar Express and Santa train excursions in every New England state are such a popular family tradition in the Christmas season that it is wise to secure reservations right now! The excursions –often on vintage trains — usually include Christmas decorations; music and sometime sing-alongs; visits from Santa, sometime accompanied by Mrs. Claus or Santa’s elves; hot chocolate and cookies; and a gift from Santa. Sometimes kids are encouraged to come in their pajamas, since the excursions are often modeled after the popular “Polar Express” children’s book. See the listings below, organized by state, and consider starting this fun tradition in your family.
Polar Express Train Ride 2019 at Blackstone Valley Train Depot, Woonsocket, RI, Nov 15-Dec 22
This trip is on a real train and it includes a reading of the Polar Express story, singing, treats, and face time with Santa. Held on weekends only. Tickets. 401-495-1213
North Pole Express 2019 at Essex Steam Train and Riverboat, Essex, CT, Nov 15-Dec 23
This 90-minute train ride is a nighttime journey to the North Pole with a live performance of “The Night Before Christmas,” and visits with Santa and Mrs. Claus.
Northern Lights Limited & Santa Express Trains 2019 at Thomaston Station, Thomaston, CT, Nov 29-Dec 22
The Santa Express and Northern Lights Limited offer day and evening excursions with gifts from Santa and his elves. Rides are 90 minutes. Tickets. 860-283-7245
Polar Express Train Rides 2019 at Ocean Gateway, Portland, ME, Nov 22-Dec 23
The fun begins at the train depot; decorations inside the train add to the festive time as guests listen to the Polar Express story on the way to the North Pole. 207-842-0800.
North Pole Express 2019 — Lyndonville VT at 1000 Broad Street, Lyndonville, VT, Dec 7-8
Heated coaches clack along the tracks to pick up the elves and Santa Claus. Enjoy hot cocoa and cookies and caroling all the way. Pajamas are encouraged. 802-626-1174
Bellows Falls Santa Express 2019 at Bellows Falls Union Station, Bellows Falls, VT, Nov 24
Embark on a magical train ride filled with holiday cheer aboard the historic Green Mountain Flyer, Bellows Falls to the North Pole (Chester) and back. 802-376-9534.
Jingle Bell Express 2019 at Burlington Union Station, Burlington, VT, Nov 30-Dec 1
Enjoy a one-hour train ride, caroling, treats and sights of Vermont. Ticket includes the train ride, a goodie bag for kids, treats, special guests, caroling, storytelling and more.
Rutland Santa Train 2019 at Downtown Rutland Amtrak station, Rutland, VT, Dec 7
This 45-minute ride on a beautifully decorated Santa Trains will take you through a magical Santa’s Village. Enjoy refreshments, stories, songs and more. Tickets.
the Hartford, Vermont Polar Express 2019 at 102 Railroad Row, White River Junction, VT, Dec 14-15
This train ride winds along a meandering river to the North Pole. Come enjoy The Polar Express story and a sing-along. Santa will greet each child with a Polar Express bell. Departure times and tickets
The Train to Christmas Town 2019 at Buzzards Bay Depot, Buzzards Bay, MA, Nov 29-Dec 23
Music begins as the train departs the station; elves will be leading sing-alongs of Christmas songs. At Christmas Town, Santa and his elves greet the kids with special gift.
Santa Express with the Hobo Railroad 2019 — Lincoln NH at Hobo Railroad, Lincoln, NH, Nov 29-Dec 22
The old-fashioned railway station and cars are decorated for Christmas; Santa Claus and the elves greet everyone onboard and hand out a special gift. Trip is 90 minutes.