The Polar Express comes to life at V&T Railroad |

The Polar Express comes to life at V&T Railroad

by Autumn Whitney
The Polar Express has been canceled for 2020.
CL Marshall Images

While the Virginia & Truckee Railroad’s popular Polar Express is sold out for the 10 days leading up to Christmas, there are still some seats available for those who are willing to travel late or a Thursday.

According to the railroad’s web site there are tickets available for 8 p.m. rides as late as Dec. 15.

Perhaps due to the early hour on a school day, on Saturday there were more than 80 tickets available for the 5 p.m. Dec. 1 run, and more than twice that for that day’s 8 p.m. ride.

Modeled after Chris Van Allsburg’s 1985 story of a boy who takes a magical train ride to the North Pole on Christmas Eve, the one-hour ride features hot chocolate, treats and a reading of “The Polar Express” set to the motion picture soundtrack.

“It’s a real-life train going to the North Pole. You see Santa and all the elves, they read the story and give you treats. It’s a really immersive holiday experience for kids and families — it’s unlike anything on the South Shore,” Weidinger PR’s Shannon Earley said.

Guests journey to the North Pole and get a glimpse of Santa Claus and his elves at work before the man himself boards the train and greets passengers, giving each child a silver sleigh bell — just like in the story.

“Reaching the North Pole, Santa getting on the train and working his way through — I suspect that’s the high point,” Polar Express conductor David Bell said.

“Chatting with the kids and their parents briefly, that’s the fun. Everyone’s there to have a good time. I can’t remember having a bad situation the whole time I’ve been on there. They are so excited.

“I have to admit, watching the kids get off the train and seeing Santa, seeing the smiles — you can’t top that,” Bell added.

The 6-mile journey is approximately one hour. They are available for purchase at or by calling 877-724-5007.

Coach tickets are priced at $46 for adults and $36 for children. VIP spots are available to adults for $82 and children for $72.

Trains leave the Carson City Eastgate Depot at 5, 6:30 and 8 p.m.