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The Great Smoky Mountains Railroad’s Seasonal Service to the North Pole

Bryson City, NC - In 1985, Chris Van Allsburg wrote The Polar Express™, a story of a magical train ride on Christmas Eve. The train takes a young boy to the North Pole to receive a special gift from Santa Claus. “The Polar Express,” published by Houghton Mifflin Company, has become a contemporary holiday classic, with over 6 million copies sold worldwide. In 2004 Warner Bros. Entertainment, Inc. reunited the Academy Award-winning team of Tom Hanks and director Robert Zemeckis in an inspiring animated version. That same year GSMR began operating The Polar Express™. Over 30,000 passengers rode The Polar Express™ with the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad in 2010.

The 1 ¼ hour round-trip excursion comes to life as the train departs the Bryson City depot for a journey through the quiet wilderness for a special visit at the North Pole. Set to the sounds of the motion picture soundtrack, guests on board will enjoy warm cocoa and a treat while listening and reading along with the magical story. Children’s faces show the magic of the season when the train arrives at the “North Pole” to find Santa Claus waiting. Santa will board The Polar Express™, greeting each child and presenting them with a special gift as in the story, their own silver sleigh bell. Christmas carols will be sung as they return back to the Bryson City Depot. The Polar Express™ begins November 4th and operates through December 24th.

Ticket prices begin at $39 for adults and $26 for children ages 2-12. Children under two years old ride complimentary. For more information and reservations please call 800-872-4681 or visit us online at Premium rates apply to Nov 25-27, Dec 17-23 and all Saturday trains.


Crown Class ticket prices are $49 for Adults, $36 for children 2-12 and $10 for less than two years. First Class seating upgrades are available. Each guest will receive a deluxe serving of warm cocoa in a souvenir Polar Express™ mug and other treats in addition to the standard offerings. Upgrade to First Class at $59 for adults and $41 for children ages 2-12. Children under two years old are $15.

Ride the Polar Express™ Christmas Eve Limited for an evening you will never forget! Each guest will receive a special Christmas souvenir. Adult ticket prices start at $51 and children 2-12 are $37. First Class seating upgrades are also available. Adult ticket prices are $72, children 2-12 are $50 and $20 for less than two years.

*All ticket fares subject to 4% Historic Preservation Fee

Smoky Mountain Trains Museum admission is included with all train excursion tickets. Without train excursion admission is $9 for Adults and $5 for Children.

Proud member of the American Heritage Railways family. Visit our sister railroads in southwest Colorado at the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad and in east Texas at the Texas State Railroad.

About The Polar Express Film:

The Academy Award-winning team of Tom Hanks and director Robert Zemeckis reunite for The Polar Express, an inspiring adventure based on the beloved children's book by Chris Van Allsburg.  When a doubting young boy takes an extraordinary train ride to the North Pole, he embarks on a journey of self-discovery that shows him that the wonder of life never fades for those who believe.  Sony Pictures Imageworks and visual effects supervisor Ken Ralston, Oscar winners for their innovative work, help bring the story vividly to the screen in full CG animation through Imageworks’ next-generation motion capture process that allows live-action performances to drive the emotions and movements of the digital characters.  The Polar Express will air on ABC and ABC Family’s 25 Days of Christmas in December 2009.  Warner Home Video will once again offer The Polar Express in standard-definition, Blu-ray and 3D DVD versions this holiday season.

About The Polar Express Book:

“The Polar Express” movie is based on Chris VanAllburg’s classic holiday picture book, which tells the story of a boy who takes a magical Christmas Eve train ride to the North Pole to receive a special gift from Santa.  First published by Houghtin Mifflin Company in 1985, The Polar Express became an instant holiday favorite and has sold more than 6 million copies worldwide.  In 1986 it won the prestigious Caldecott Medal for Illustration.  

Based on THE POLAR EXPRESS book and characters TM & © 1985 by Chris Van Allsburg.

Used by permission of Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.

TM & © Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.


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