Posts Tagged ‘Polar Express trains’

C&O 1309 Makes Another Successful Test Run

December 10, 2021

Former Chesapeake & Ohio 2-6-6-2 made a test run this week that officials said was trouble free and clears the way for the locomotive to pull Polar Express trains next week on the Western Maryland Scenic Railroad.

WMSR general manager Wesley Heinz told a newspaper published in Cumberland, Maryland, that some adjustments to the 1309 will be made before it begins revenue service between Cumberland and Frostburg.

Additional test runs are expected to be made next week as well.

Heinz said the tourist railroad has sold 22,000 Polar Express tickets this year with all tickets for the Dec. 17 through 19 excursions having been sold.

W.Va. Tourist Railroad Cancels Polar Express Trips

August 14, 2021

West Virginia tourist railroad Durbin & Greenbrier Valley Railroad has cancelled its Polar Express holiday trains for the second consecutive year.

D&GV president John Smith cited a surge of cases in the COVID-19 pandemic for the action.

“The Polar Express is very up close and personal with children and it would be a disaster to try and put 280 people on that train for an hour and a half with the coronavirus going out of control again,” he said. “We would be remiss if we were the cause of an increase of those getting infected, especially among young people.”

The Randolph County Commission said that in 2019 that since the Polar Express debut in 2011, it had attracted 80,000 visitors, including 16,000 in 2018.

CVSR Rebrands Christmas Trains as North Pole Adventure

August 5, 2021

The Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad this week announced it has rebranded its holiday season trains as the North Pole Adventure™.

In past year the trains operated under license as The Polar Express. This year’s trips are scheduled to operate between Nov. 5 and Dec. 18.

The CVSR has operated Christmas-themed train rides for the past 27 years, although most trips in 2020 were canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It was time for a change,” CVSR President and CEO Joe Mazur in a statement. “After several years of the same program, the cancellation last year, and listening to feedback from our community, we felt it was the right time to introduce North Pole Adventure.”

Like the Polar Express trips, the North Pole Adventure trips will feature a journey to the North Pole with passengers writing letters to Santa Claus to be hand-delivered the North Pole’s postmaster.

“In 2019, we accepted letters to Santa and received an overwhelming response from the community,” Mazur said. “The children enjoyed it and we knew they wanted the opportunity to deliver letters to Santa – now they can.”

Other activities aboard the train will include enjoying hot cocoa and cookies, singing Christmas carols, interacting with Santa’s elves and a visit from Santa.

Tickets for North Pole Adventure trips will go on sale to CVSR members on Sept. 8 at 9 a.m.

For those who want to become members for early access, membership requests must be submitted by Sept. 6 by 4 p.m.

Public ticket sales will begin on Oct. 5 at 9 a.m. For more information on North Pole Adventure, visit

CVSR Cancels Polar Express Runs to Pandemic

November 18, 2020

The Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad said today (Nov. 18) it would cancel its remaining Polar Express excursions this year due to increasing COVID-19 cases in Northeast Ohio.

The cancellation takes effect for all trips scheduled between Nov. 19 and Dec. 20.

Passengers who held tickets for the canceled trains will receive refunds although the railroad also is asking for donations to its annual fundraising campaign in order to offset the financial losses incurred from canceling Polar Express trains.

A CVSR news release noted that the Polar Express is the railroad’s largest fundraiser.

It also said those holding tickets could opt to receive CVSR gifts cars in lieu of a cash refund.

It is the second time this year the CVSR has suspended service due to the Pandemic.

In March the CVSR suspended operations in the early weeks of the pandemic and didn’t resume running until Oct. 1.

In a statement, CVSR President Joe Mazur said the Polar Express cancellations were prompted by a concern for the health and well being of CVSR passengers, personnel and the community.

Polar Express trips had begun on Nov. 6. In normal years, the CVSR shuts down for about a month once the Polar Express trips have ended.

It is unclear when it will resume operations or on what scale. In the past, the National Park Scenic resumed operating on weekends in mid to late January.


CVSR Polar Express Tickets to go on Sale to the Public on Wednesday Morning

October 12, 2020

The public sale of tickets for the 2020 Polar Express excursions on the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad go on sale at 9 a.m. on Wednesday.

The excursions, which are based on the children’s book of the same name by Chris Van Allsburg, will be operating on the CVSR for the 27th year.

Sellouts are the norm and this year’s ticket available will be limited due to COVID-19 pandemic safety measures restricting trains to 50 percent of capacity.

The 90-minute excursions will run Nov. 6 through Dec. 20 with departures from Akron at 7 p.m. and Independence at 7:30 p.m.

Polar Express trains will not operate on Nov. 11 (Veteran’s Day) or Nov. 25-26 (Thanksgiving holiday period).

Tickets are $47 per person for Monday through Thursday trains and $49 per person for trains running Friday through Sunday.

Children ages 1 and younger do not need a ticket but must be seated on a parent or guardian’s lap for the duration of the trip.

Passengers will take a journey to the “North Pole” in Peninsula where elves, holiday decorations and Santa Claus will be waiting.

Santa will board the train there and greet passengers and pose for photographs.

During the trip to the North Pole the Polar Express tale will be read aloud. There will also be Christmas caroling and families are encouraged to wear their pajamas aboard the train.

All passengers will receive a hot chocolate packet and a cookie. Children will receive a silver bell and a brief visit with Santa.

Tickets must be purchased in blocks of four in facing coach seats. Limited blocks of six tickets are available for table car seating.

All tickets must be purchased online. Further information and links to the ticket sale pages are available at

Indiana Holiday Train Rides Canceled

September 10, 2020

An Indiana tourist railroad has canceled it holiday season train rides due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The French Lick Scenic Railway canceled its Polar Express Train Ride but plans to reinstate the event next year.

In a Facebook page message, the railroad said it canceled the trips after reviewing safety requirements.

Those would have resulted in an experience quite different from what has been offered in the past, including limited personal interactions with the conductor and not being able to have Santa pose for photographs with passengers.

“This is just not the show we feel you deserve – the one that many of you have come to know and love,” the railroad said.

Those who purchased tickets for this year’s trips will be notified by email and mail with information on the railroad’s plans.

Polar Express Tickets Go on Sale Oct. 2

September 27, 2019

The public ticket sale for the Polar Express trains of the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad will begin at 10 a.m. on Oct. 2.

The annual Christmas-themed trains will operate between Nov. 8 and Dec. 21 and are among the railroad’s most popular trains.

Trains will depart from Rockside Road station in Independence and Northside station in Akron each evening for a journey to the North Pole, a.k.a., Peninsula.

CVSR said that his year the ticket platform at its website has been upgraded to a new configuration.

Tickets are only being sold online and buyers are asked to have multiple dates in mind in case their first choice is sold out

Early ticket sales are available to those who are CVSR members at the Brakeman level or above.

Memberships will be processed until Oct.1 at 3 p.m.

CVSR Seeking Polar Express Volunteers

September 18, 2019

The Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad is seeking volunteers for its Polar Express trains that will operate between Nov. 8 and Dec. 21.

Volunteers must complete a volunteer agreement and undergo training.

Training sessions will be held at the Fitzwater Maintenance Yard, 7600 Canal Road, at 7 p.m. on Oct. 1, 2, 3, 7, 8, 9, 16, 17, 21, 23.

Training sessions will also be held at 7 p.m. on Nov. 5, 6 and 11, and at 10:30 a.m. on Nov. 16 and 30.

Polar Express volunteers help create a festive atmosphere on the train through personal interaction, song and techniques to engage visitors on their mythical trip to the North Pole.

The CVSR also said that it has year around volunteer opportunities for trainmen, concessionaire / server positions, office support positions, operations positions of conductor, engineer and brakeman, and maintenance support positions.

Qualifications and trains are required for operating positions and maintenance support jobs.

Upcoming orientation sessions for volunteers will be conducted at Fitzwater at 6:30 p.m. on Oct. 16.

The volunteer agreement can be found online at

Information is available by calling 800-468-4070, extension 226.

Norton Group Thinks CVSR is a Grinch

August 28, 2018

The Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad has taken a page from the Amtrak playbook or so it must seem to some members of the Norton City School’s Foundation.

As recounted in Bob Dyer’s column last Sunday in the Akron Beacon Journal, the group will not be selling Polar Express tickets this year as a fundraising effort to raise money for college scholarships awarded to graduating seniors.

For several years, the CVSR has offered early Polar Express ticket sales to non-profit organizations such as the Norton group at a slight discount from what the same seat would cost when sold to the public.

The groups were allowed to purchase all of the tickets in a passenger car. The Norton group, though, took it a step further by re-selling those tickets for $5 per ticket above the price it paid.

The Norton group’s gripe is that the price of the tickets has sharply risen over the years.

The newspaper reported that in 2011, a car cost $2,850, or about $36 per seat. Five years later, that price had grown to $3,600, or $45 per seat, an increase of 26.3 percent.

Last year it was $3,760, or $47 per seat but this year the CVSR charged $4,560, or $57 per seat.

CVSR President Joe Mazur acknowledged to the Beacon Journal that he was hesitant to approve the increased fares for non-profit groups for fear of a backlash. But he said the Norton group was the only one that complained.

Mazur also noted that the condition of sale prohibits re-selling the tickets, something he said hasn’t been strictly enforced. The railroad is aware that multiple groups have resold their tickets.

As Mazur sees it, non-profit groups already benefit by having access to Polar Express tickets before the public and CVSR members do.

“We don’t have enough tickets left over after charters and [CVSR] members [buy tickets] for the general public,” he said. “So what we were trying to do is mainly get more tickets available for the general public.”

Mazur said charter groups should pay more because they are getting preferential treatment in ticket availability.

For many years most Polar Express trips have sold out shortly after tickets went on sale to the public.

More than 40,000 ride the Polar Express trains during the month that it operates during the Christmas season.

The Norton group has purchased three cars on a Polar Express train in recent years. Last year it raised $1,200 for scholarships.

Linda Kloetzer of the Norton group said her organization decided it didn’t want to charge people more than $60 per ticket. That would cost a family of four at least $240 for a two-hour train ride.

The Polar Express is oriented toward children and features Santa Claus, elves, a reading from the book of the same name, and cookies and hot chocolate. The children also receive a silver bell as a gift and view a holiday lights display at the “north pole,” a.k.a. the Peninsula CVSR station.

Dyer’s column did not say how the Norton group will be raising money for scholarships this year. But Mazur could identify with the need for fundraising to meet expenses.

“We’re a 501(c)3,” he said. “We’re the nonprofit. We’re the one trying to raise money so we can keep a historic train running. This year I’m going to spend a million dollars just in renovations for the cars.”

ITM to Operate Polar Express Trains

October 2, 2017

The Indiana Transportation Museum has announced that it will operate Polar Bear Express trips this year from Kokomo, Indiana.

No dates were specified in the announcement, which noted that the excursions are part of a cooperative arrangement that ITM has reached with the cities of Kokomo and Logansport.

The announcement said ticket sales will begin on Oct. 7 and further information will be announced on the museum’s website. As of today, no information had been posted on the site.