Have you ordered your tickets for the North Pole Express at the Essex Steam Train yet? If you haven’t, make sure to purchase them today. Seats on the North Pole Express go fast, and this is one holiday family activity in Connecticut that absolutely cannot be missed.

North Pole Express at Essex Steam Train
25 Plains Rd.
Essex, CT 06426
(860) 767-0103
Rides Depart November 18th – December 31st
Hours:Departure times vary depending on day
Admission: $28 Coach Class tickets, $40 Cabaret Class Tickets, $60 First Class Tickets
Kids under 2 yrs. ride free if seated on an adult’s lap.

My family and I took our first trip on the North Pole Express last year, and it was definitely a night that none of us will ever forget. We went with a large group of kids and parents from our neighborhood, which made the experience even more fun. I highly recommend trying to go with friends if you can, because the children absolutely love riding the train together!

The North Pole Express is basically an adaptation of the popular holiday book and movie, “The Polar Express.” Kids and parents board at the Essex Steam Train station, and are instantly transported into a scene from this classic story. Live performers narrate the “trip to the North Pole” during the ride, which lasts about an hour and fifteen minutes round trip.

107387628 Family Guide to the North Pole Express

Kids are encouraged to dress as if they were riding the actual train from the story, and most of them come wearing cozy pajamas and bathrobes. The train cars are heated, but kids will still want to have a coat with them before boarding.Wearing sneakers or boots is suggested to keep their little toes warm during the ride. For younger children, I would recommend packing a snack and a drink in your bag just in case they get restless during the trip.

After the train departs the station, it heads straight to the “North Pole,” where Santa and Mrs. Claus are picked up to spread Christmas cheer to all of the kids on the train. Hot chocolate and cookies are served, and each child also receives a special gift from Santa Claus.

Seeing Santa and Mrs. Claus is definitely a highlight for kids riding the North Pole Express, but the scenes along the tracks before Santa is picked up are great too. Make sure to tell little ones to keep an eye out for Santa’s sleigh and his eight reindeer!

I remember that at one point along the route last year, there was a man who lived in a house near the railroad tracks who stood outside in a Santa suit and waved to the train as it passed by. My son was four years old at the time, and his eyes were as wide as saucers when he saw him standing there! There is no greater gift for a parent than seeing excitement and wonder on your child’s face…and the North Pole Express delivers both!

The North Pole Express is a Christmas tradition that many Connecticut families take part in year after year. We can’t wait for our second trip to see good old St. Nick! Start a new tradition with your kids and get your tickets for the North Pole Express today!

Tip: Parents who want a little extra comfort for their trip on the North Pole Express should make sure to book tickets in either the Cabaret Class or First Class cars. They offer plush seats instead of wooden benches, and both of these sections offer cash “beverage” service…if you catch my drift!

*Note – Tickets are non-refundable and cannot be exchanged for alternate dates after being purchased. The trains also run even in the event of rain or snow.

Mary Fischer lives in Ellington, CT with her 5-year old son and husband of almost 8 years. She is the owner and author of a popular parenting blog, called The Mommyologist, where she features articles all about the changes in life that go along with being a parent.

  1. Paul G says:

    As a conductor at the Essex Steam Train I need to correct two errors in the article. 1. The event is not related to the book Polar Express – it is actually more connected to The Night Before Christmas. 2. There are NO wooden seats. The first class accommodations are upholstered individual seats. The coach seating is “bench-style” but are either vinylcovered or upholstered – no wood. Come ride and enjoy!

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