North Pole Express

A Magical Christmastime Tradition

“All Aboard!”, calls the conductor, and your family's magical journey to the beautiful North Pole begins!

Through the dark night, the North Pole Express makes its way by starlight to the top of the world. On the way, you'll listen to a whimsical Christmas story, sing your favorite holiday carols, and watch out the windows for the bright lights of the North Pole to appear.

Celebrate the Season with Santa

Upon arrival at the brilliantly decorated home of the Toymaker himself, the elves, Santa, and Mrs. Claus will all board the train to visit your family and to take photos with every child. Be sure to whisper your wish for what you're hoping to find under your tree on Christmas morning!

Sweet Treats Onboard the Train

After your special visit with the Christmas couple, passengers ages two and up will be served chocolate drinks and a yummy treat - delivered by the North Pole Express chefs. You can dance with the elves, receive a lovely Christmas keepsake, and relax for the music-filled ride back to the Depot.

Tickets On Sale Dates

  • Group tickets (20+) go on sale July 10, 2023 at  9 a.m. Central.
  • Individual tickets go on sale July 24, 2023 at 9 a.m. Central.

Event Dates

  • November 17, 18, 19, 24, 25, 26
  • December 1, 2, 3, 8, 9*, 10, 15, 16, 17
    *6:30 p.m. – Private Event

Departure times:

  • 5:00 p.m.
  • 6:30 p.m.
  • 8:00 p.m.
    *All times Central

Event Details

The North Pole Express train ride lasts approximately 1½ hours including the train ride through the forest and time spent relaxing onboard the train while stationed at the North Pole. But your North Pole Express adventure will make lasting Christmas memories for you and your family for years to come! For even more festive fun, be sure to wear your pajamas for the ride!

  • Pick up your preordered tickets at the historic train depot (ALL tickets must be ordered in advance)
  • Enjoy festive Christmas décor and photo opportunities on the museum grounds
  • Food vendors on the grounds will offer warm drinks, dinner options and snacks. No food or drinks may be brought onboard the train.
  • Board the train at your assigned boarding area approximately 15 minutes prior to your departure time.
  • Travel by starlight and Christmas lights while listening to a magical holiday story. Sing along to Christmas carols performed live in one of the train cars and played throughout the train!
  • Arrive at the beautifully lit North Pole where the Christmas Couple will board the train to visit every single child on the train.
  • Take your own sweet photo with Santa and Mrs. Claus onboard the train.
  • Be served a delicious bakery treat and chocolate drink as the Clauses visit the rest of the children on the train and you await your return to the train Depot.

Ticket Information

Plan to arrive approximately 60 minutes prior to your scheduled train departure. Traffic is persistently unpredictable and difficult to navigate. Having some time to spare upon arrival will give you relaxed time to:

  • Pick up your tickets at the red and yellow Calera Depot next to the train
  • Use the restrooms at the Gift Shop, as there are no restrooms onboard the train
  • Visit the food vendors on the grounds
  • Take photos
  • Shop the Gift Shop
  • Get in position to board the train.

If you never received or have lost your ticket confirmation, please email us.

Ticket Prices

  • Ages 2+ in Coach Cars (Frisco, Long Island, Lower Eagle, Upper Dome, C&NW-B): $30
  • Ages 2+ in Entertainment Coach Car (C&NW-A): $40
  • Ages 2+ in First Class Cars (Silver Maple & Santa Fe): $50
  • Under age 2 seated in an adult’s lap (does not include onboard snacks): Free

Event Protection!

New this year, for an additional cost of 8% when placing an order for tickets, you can secure Event Protection for your tickets!

If you find you are unable to use your tickets covered by Event Protection, the purchaser may exercise one of the following options:

  1. Return any or all tickets purchased with the added Event Protection Policy for a refund up to 72 hours prior to your scheduled departure.
  2. Exchange tickets (of equal or lesser value) for an alternate date if seats are available.

Either a Return or Exchange request must be submitted to [email protected] no later than 72 hours in advance of original departure. Only when a request a been has been received, may any funds, minus the indicated 8% protection plan and processing fees, be refundable. No phone calls, please.

Note: The Event Protection policy must be added at the time of the order.

If Event Protection is not included in your original ticket order, all sales will be considered final and non-refundable for any reason.

Which Car Should We Ride?

Each passenger car on the North Pole Express offers a unique experience for your family. There’s no wrong answer!

  • Chicago & Northwestern Gallery Coach No. 59:
    Enjoy a front row seat in the C&NW-A to watch the train's LIVE entertainment tell a whimsical Christmas tale and perform Christmas songs for everyone on the train!
    For a live view from further back, relax on the C&NW-B. (Seats face each other in groups of four)
  • Silver Maple  No. 4741 and “Santa Fe”  No. 2823:
    These gorgeously decorated First Class cars offer upgraded perks, including:
    • The North Pole's finest hot chocolate (served with a souvenir mug)
    • Your choice of one of Mrs. Claus's yummy bakery treats
    • A quality keepsake ornament, and
    • A complimentary glowstick for each child. (Seats face each other in groups of four)
  • Frisco Coach No. 1062:
    The Frisco is the most historic car to travel on the North Pole Express. Built in 1910, the car's beautifully decorated interior provides a classical Christmas atmosphere from yesteryear. (Side-by-side pairs of seats all face a single direction)
  • Long Island Coach  No. 2972:
    Known as the "party car," this large, brightly decorated car offers extra leg room between facing seats -- perfect for the little ones to dance in with elves! (Seats face each other in groups of four to six)
  • Lower EAGLE & Upper DOME Coach No. 892:
    This unique car offers not only comfortable Lower Eagle seating, but also a smaller upper level covered by a glass planetarium dome! (Lower Eagle seats face each other in groups of four)
    When you purchase the Upper Dome seats (ONLY), you'll travel by starlight and get the first view of the North Pole Lights from above. (Upper Dome seats are in side-by-side pairs, all facing a single direction)

Get Tickets!


Important Ticket Information:

Train tickets are non-refundable except where Event Protection was added at time of purchase. However, our ticket team will attempt to apply any unused travel funds towards the cost of an available alternate upcoming train ride within the same calendar year. No guarantees of available alternate options can be made during the last quarter of the year, as the holiday events typically sell out early. All tickets and unused travel funds will expire after the last train of the calendar year season and cannot rollover into the new calendar year. No exceptions. Some exclusions may apply. Contact [email protected] for more information.

Visitor Tips

  • The train crew strives to keep all train departures precisely on schedule. Plan to arrive approximately 60 minutes prior to your scheduled departure to provide you with enough time to be in position for timely boarding.
  • There are no working restrooms on our vintage rail cars. Please ensure adequate time to use the restroom at the Gift Shop prior to boarding.
  • Outside food and drinks other than bottled water are only permissible in the open-air cars and are not allowed in any historic enclosed coach.
  • Passengers may select their preferred train car at boarding. Seats are unassigned onboard the train.
  • Infants under 24 months old may ride free of charge but must remain in an adult's lap. For your safety, strollers and infant car seat carriers are not permitted aboard the train.

ADA Accomodations

Secure seating accomodations are provided onboard the Long Island No. 2972. Reserve seating for this limited space is available at the time of ticket purchase.

  • Any passenger with limited mobility may board at the Calera Depot using of our Mobilift system, by Adaptive Engineering Inc.. To make use of this, please inform the ticket agent when picking up your tickets.
  • A person in your party must be in need of a wheelchair to purchase the wheelchair space ticket. This is only a secure space for a wheelchair, no seat is provided. More information about accessibility can found on our ADA Information page.

Stay on Track!

Our team has worked hard to ensure a safe and relaxing time for your family onboard our train. Please be sure to follow all verbal directions from your Conductor or Car Hosts and adhere to all posted safety and sanitation guidelines on the train and throughout the grounds.