Polar Express now taking reservations
August 24, 2015
By Chase Gunnoe – Special to The Inter-Mountain , Inter-Mountain
The Durbin & Greenbrier Valley Railroad has once again collaborated with Rail Events Inc. and Warner Brothers Consumer Products, Inc. to bring the officially licensed Polar Express Train Ride event to Elkins this holiday season.
Telling the story of a young boy who takes an extraordinary train ride to the North Pole on Christmas Eve, the Polar Express Train Ride is based on the Warner Bros. film and beloved children’s book by Chris Van Allsburg.
The entire train is set to the sounds of the motion picture soundtrack accompanied by an authentic on-train Christmas experience that features hot chocolate and a reading of Allsburg’s classic. Pajama-clad children and parents receive a “golden” ticket, punched by the conductor, and this is just the beginning of a magical 85-minute round-trip experience that is the highlight of the holidays.
Dancing chefs serve hot chocolate and keep kids entertained with song and dance. (Courtesy Durbin & Greenbrier Valley Railroad)
From the comfort of cozy, climate-controlled passenger cars, families experience the sights and sounds of the Polar Express Train Ride. The train departs historic downtown Elkins for an early evening train ride to the North Pole (compliments of City of Belington and Belington OnTrac) during which time dancing chefs sing and serve hot cocoa in a free souvenir Polar Express collector’s mug, do magic tricks and keep everyone entertained with shenanigans of all kinds.
At the North Pole, Santa boards the train and greets the children, offering to each a gift to those who truly believe a silver sleigh bell. The cast of Christmas characters is robust and organized by the Old Brick Playhouse in Elkins.
The 2015 Polar Express Train Ride holiday schedule begins Nov. 6 and ends Dec. 20. November’s schedule runs Thursday through Sunday, with the schedule expanding to include Wednesdays in December. This popular holiday Mountain Rail Adventure will depart the Elkins Depot twice daily, at 5 p.m. and 7:15 p.m. Weekend dates in the month of December are sold out. At press time, some Friday and Sunday dates were still available. These dates are expected to sell out quickly.
The historic Elkins depot and boarding area is located at 315 Railroad Avenue in downtown Elkins. The ticket office is open 1.5-hours prior to departure. It is best to reserve your seats online in advance and bring your eTicket with you either in hard copy or on your mobile devise. If you forget your ticket, the reservations staff can either print it for you or send it to your smartphone. Polar Express tickets are non-refundable 48 hours after booking. If notice of cancellation is made within 48 hours of booking, a 10 percent cancellation fee will be charged for any refund.
Make it a longer stay
The town of Elkins offers an array of lodging, attraction and dining options. During the Polar Express Train Ride downtown Elkins comes alive with activity. Local merchants, through co-ordination with Elkins Main Street, offers a Santa’s Workshop program that schedules children’s activities during times before train departures at local shops and theaters. A traditional holiday buffet at the RailYard Restaurant, just steps away from the Polar Express Train Ride and adjacent to the depot, is quite popular and schedules activities during the meal. The American Mountain Theater and Gandy Dancer Theatre offer popular Christmas holiday music shows.
Mid-week seats (Thursdays in November and Wednesdays/Thursdays in December) are still available through the Mountain Rail online reservation system at www.Mtn-Rail.com.
Online reservations are preferred since online reserving offers the user the option of choosing seats.
Multiple day mid-week packages that include a Thursday/Friday Polar Express Train Ride, lodging, the RailYard Restaurant holiday buffet and Friday/Saturday music shows can be reserved by calling 866-241-9910.
A few weekend package options are still available through Stonewall Resort, located in Roanoke, WV, 47 miles west of Elkins. Visit www.stonewallresort.com or call (304) 269-7400.
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