The Polar Express Train Ride

Located at: North Carolina Transportation Museum | 1 Samuel Spencer Drive – Spencer, N.C.
[ CLICK HERE FOR DIRECTIONS ]

Note:  Availability charts are updated weekly to help locate cars with seating, but are not in real time.  The “Purchase Tickets” buttons will go the ticket purchasing screens, which will show actual real-time availability at the time of purchase.   

To order by phone, please call 704-469-5231 (Monday-Saturday 9 a.m.-8 p.m. Eastern, Sunday 12 p.m.-8 p.m, Eastern.)

 

What’s the difference between Train A and Train B?

Train A has our only Parlor Class car.  Train A and Train B have Standard Coach, Deluxe Coach, and First Class table seating.  Trains run at different times, but the performance is the same on either train.  More details about service classes can be found below or by clicking here: www.nctransportationmuseum.org/polar-express-faq

The above images are representative examples showing the types of seating available. Each train car and its decorations will vary. The NC Transportation Museum can make no guarantee regarding any specific train car used for each level of service.

THE POLAR EXPRESS™ Train Ride

The Magic Returns for 2024
November 8-10, 15-17, 22-24, 29-30 and December 1, 6-8, 12-23

“Well, are you coming?” Inspired by the hit movie, this holiday favorite comes to life as you and your family take a magical trip on THE POLAR EXPRESS™ Train Ride!
 
Set to the sounds of the motion picture soundtrack, families are sure to enjoy their trip to the North Pole, complete with hot chocolate and cookies served on board the train. Passengers are entertained by a reading of Chris Van Allsburg’s classic, The Polar Express. Upon arrival at the North Pole, passengers deboard to watch Santa present the first gift of Christmas. Before exiting the train at Candy Cane Lane, all passengers who BELIEVE will receive their own sleigh bell.
 
 
Experience the joy of caroling and holiday entertainment that will surely become an annual family tradition. Children of all ages are encouraged to wear their pajamas for the ride and join in on the magic of Christmas!
 
Have a question? Contact us at the museum for general information at 704-636-2889 or info@nctransportationmuseum.org.

IMPORTANT INFORMATION REGARDING ADA AND WHEELCHAIR SEATING

Passengers who require ADA-compatible seating and wheelchair accessibility should review our FAQ page before purchasing tickets. Boarding and deboarding of trains requires climbing stairs and walking through rail cars to and from seating locations. Limited wheelchair-accessible seating and a wheelchair lift is available on Train A’s “Jingle” car (standard coach) and Train B’s “Dasher” car (deluxe coach) for loading at the initial boarding location and at the final destination only.  A wheelchair lift is not available at the North Pole scene, but passengers riding in the ADA car on each train can view and listen to the scene from inside the train. First Class, Parlor Class, and all other standard and deluxe coach cars are not wheelchair accessible due to the use of historic and antiquated rail passenger equipment, which is exempt from ADA regulations under US Code: Title 42: Section 12184. There is no lift available to load or unload any cars other than the “Jingle” car and the “Dasher” car as noted above.

When buying tickets, don’t forget to add from our selection of THE POLAR EXPRESS™ merchandise that will make your trip to the North Pole even more memorable.

Choose from a variety of pre-sale items which can be picked up upon arrival, including a copy of “The Polar Express” book signed by Santa Claus himself, the child’s conductor hat, the snow globe spinning light wand, the cuddly conductor bear, and the bell display ornament complete with a special hook to display your silver sleigh bell from Santa. Your children will want to take these special items along on their magical journey!

Child’s Conductor Hat
$16.00 plus tax and fees

All aboard THE POLAR EXPRESS™ Train Ride! Your favorite passenger can look just like the conductor in this classic holiday story with this POLAR EXPRESS conductor’s hat. Available in small (21-1/8” head circumference or US hat size 6-3/4) or large (22-5/8” head diameter or US hat size 7-1/4.)

Child’s Conductor Hat
$16.00 plus tax and fees
The Polar Express™ Book
$20.00 plus tax and fees

Reading 1986’s Caldecott Medal winner, THE POLAR EXPRESS™, by Chris Van Allsburg has become a beloved holiday tradition for generations of families. In 2004, this holiday classic came to life on screen when the animated feature film starring Tom Hanks was produced. This sturdy, oversized hardcover special edition features the inimitable artistry of Chris Van Allsburg, highlighted with a new jacket design and expanded interior layout. Includes an author’s note and downloadable audio read by Liam Neeson. This special pre-sale edition comes signed by Santa Claus himself!

The Polar Express Book
$20.00 plus tax and fees
Conductor Bear – New for 2024!
$35.00 plus tax and fees

This cute die-cut bear has PVC glasses, embroidered buttons, lapel charms, and a chain on the jacket and vest. 12” height X 10” width X 9” depth.

Conductor Bear – New for 2024!
$35.00 plus tax and fees
Snow Globe Spinning Light Wand – New for 2024!
$14.00 plus tax and fees

This spinning light wand has swirling foam balls that mimic a snow globe along with a center ticket that spins. 8.5” tall. AA batteries included.

Snow Globe Spinning Light Wand – New for 2024!
$14.00 plus tax and fees
Bell Display Ornament
$15.00 plus tax and fees

Display your bell from Santa! This ornament is made of metal with a velvet backing and includes a special hook in the center to easily attach your silver sleigh bell from your ride on THE POLAR EXPRESS™. The ornament is 3.5” diameter and features a ribbon and string to hang from the Christmas tree. (Bell not included.)

Bell Display Ornament
$15.00 plus tax and fees
Prices Starting At*:
 
In all seating classes, children under 2 do not require a ticket and ride free on the lap of a paying adult. Limit one child under age 2 per paying adult. Children under age 2 without a paid ticket cannot occupy a separate seat.
*Prices shown are base prices. Peak performance times may have higher pricing. Ticket handling fees and N.C. sales tax will be added to your order.

Peak Pricing (times and dates identified with ** on schedule below)

 

Class Descriptions
Standard Class (Train A and B)

Passengers receive hot cocoa (served in a quality paper cup), a cookie, a silver sleigh bell, and a golden ticket. Standard Class is coach seating in padded seats without a table. Each person aged 2 and up requires a seat.

Deluxe Class (Train A and B)

Passengers receive hot cocoa served in a keepsake tumbler, a treat bag, a cookie, a silver sleigh bell, and a golden ticket. Deluxe Class is coach seating in padded seats without a table. Each person aged 2 and up requires a seat.

First Class (Train A and B)

Passengers are seated at 2-top, 4-top and 6-top tables. Passengers receive hot cocoa served in a keepsake ceramic mug, a treat bag, a cookie, a silver sleigh bell, and a golden ticket. All seats at a table must be purchased regardless of if they are used, and no additional people can be seated at a table.  One lap-child under age two is allowed to ride on the lap per paying adult. When additional seating is required for anyone aged 2 and up, an additional table must be purchased.

Parlor Class (Train A)

Passengers are seated at 4-top tables. Passengers receive hot cocoa served in a keepsake ceramic mug, a treat bag, a cookie, a silver sleigh bell, a golden ticket, and a hard-bound copy of Chris Van Allsburg’s The Polar Express signed by Santa Claus (one per table). All seats at a table must be purchased regardless of if they are used, and no additional people can be seated at a table. One lap-child under age two is allowed to ride on the lap per paying adult. When additional seating is required for anyone aged 2 and up, an additional table must be purchased.

Train Descriptions

Two trains run simultaneously, departing at different times. Both trains offer the same quality of performances, with amenities being different in each seating class as noted in the Class Descriptions section above.

Train A Service Classes

Parlor (most exclusive class): Parlor car
First Class: Holly, Clarice and Comet cars
Deluxe: Donner, Blitzen, and Rudolph cars
Standard: Jingle car*

*Jingle is the only car on Train A that is able to accommodate wheelchairs or ADA needs.

Train B Service Classes

First Class: Cupid and Mistletoe car
Deluxe: Dasher and Sugarplum cars*
Standard: Vixen, Prancer, Dancer and Peppermint cars

*Dasher is the only car on Train B that is able to accommodate wheelchairs or ADA needs.

This magical holiday event takes place at the N.C. Transportation Museum, 1 Samuel Spencer Drive, Spencer, N.C. The museum is located approximately halfway between Charlotte and Greensboro just off Interstate 85 in Rowan County, N.C.

**Peak performance time with peak pricing. Pricing will be adjusted when selecting this time.

**Peak performance time with peak pricing. Pricing will be adjusted when selecting this time.

2024 Show Dates/Times

**Peak performance time with peak pricing. Pricing will be adjusted when selecting this time.

**Peak performance time with peak pricing. Pricing will be adjusted when selecting this time.

For information about THE POLAR EXPRESS ™ Train Ride for School Groups,

please contact Meghan DeLapp calling 980-305-6298 or emailing meghan.delapp@dncr.nc.gov. School group daytime trains are planned for Monday, November 25, and Monday, December 9, 2024.

Please call or email Meghan DeLapp ONLY for those two school day events, NOT for THE POLAR EXPRESS ™ Train Ride on any other day or night. Delays may result by calling the wrong number. For all other ticketing for THE POLAR EXPRESS ™ Train Ride, please either book online or call 704-469-5231. You can also email info@nctransportationmuseum.org with questions.

Overnight Stay & Play Package

You can earn complimentary tickets by booking your overnight stay in a participating Rowan County Lodging property. Pay careful attention to the new process, as well as the terms and conditions prior to booking your lodging. Polar Express Package sales begin June 6, 2024 at 9 a.m. Each event weekend has a different deadline, please visit the Rowan County Tourism website for deadlines.

MEMBER PRESALE: Lifetime, Family Platinum, and Family Premium members of the N.C. Transportation Museum will be able to book tickets beginning June 4 at 9 a.m. All other N.C. Transportation Museum members will be able to book tickets beginning June 5 at 9 a.m. For those who are not members as of the May 1, 2024 deadline, tickets will be available beginning June 8 at 9 a.m. There will NOT be an option to select the special offer for members on 6/4 or 6/5 when booking your hotel. Please book your hotel using the booking widget below, then call the ticketing center at 704-469-5231. Once they verify your membership, they will add the special offer to your reservation and provide you with your code or gift certificate. Please have your hotel reservation information ready.

THE POLAR EXPRESS ™ Train Ride Packages will be available to members of the N.C. Transportation Museum on June 4 & 5, 2024 and to the public on June 6, 2024. Each event weekend has a different deadline, please see the chart below for deadlines.

 

EVENT DATES PROMOTION BOOKING DEADLINE
November 8-10, 2024 Wednesday, November 6 at 4 p.m.
November 15-17, 2024 Wednesday, November 13 at 4 p.m.
November 22-24, 2024 Wednesday, November 20 at 4 p.m.
November 29-30 and December 1, 2024 Monday, November 25 at 4 p.m.
December 6-8, 2024 Wednesday, December 4 at 4 p.m.
December 12-10, 2024 Wednesday, December 9 at 12 p.m.

 

Book your overnight stay in Rowan County during the date you are attending THE POLAR EXPRESS™ Train Ride at the N.C. Transportation Museum and receive:

1 Night Stay

1 free standard adult and 1 free standard child ticket (while supplies last) OR a $50 VISA e-gift card

2 Night Stay

2 free standard adult and 2 free standard child tickets (while supplies last) OR a $125 VISA e-gift card

**Free tickets are STANDARD CLASS tickets. They cannot be exchanged or utilized towards higher level tickets. VISA e-gift cards will be issued at hotel check-in. **

Questions regarding Overnight Stay & Play Package? Contact the Rowan County Tourism office at 1-800-332-2343, 704-638-3100, or visit their website. These packages are offered exclusively by Rowan County Tourism and all arrangements must be made per Rowan County Tourism procedures, terms, and conditions.

Enjoy the magic of THE POLAR EXPRESS™ Train Ride at N.C. Transportation Museum 1 Samuel Spencer Dr. Spencer, NC 28159