THE POLAR EXPRESS™ Train Ride

Your ticket to a holiday tradition
This event is currently sold out. Limited tickets may become available as we process refunds. Check back periodically for available tickets.

Relive the magical journey of THE POLAR EXPRESS™ Train Ride on an hour-long trip to the North Pole.

Enjoy hot chocolate and yummy cookies as you ride along with many of the story’s characters such as the Train Conductor, the Dancing Waiters, and a ghostly Hobo. Once you reach the North Pole, the jolly old elf — Santa himself — will come on board to give each passenger a silver sleigh bell, the “first gift of Christmas”.

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2018 POLAR EXPRESS™ Train Ride Schedule

Dates

Friday, Saturday and Sunday
November 23 – 25

Wednesdays through Sundays
November 28 – December 20

Departure Times

3:30 p.m.
5:00 p.m.
6:30 p.m.
8:00 p.m.

Car Descriptions

THE POLAR EXPRESS™ Train Ride in Sacramento consists of six separate cars pulled by vintage locomotives from the California State Railroad Museum’s collection. On board you will be seated in either Coach or First Class according to your ticket purchase. Guests in each car will experience the same excitement and wonder of
THE POLAR EXPRESS™ Train Ride.

Coach Cars

Katy Coach Car

The Katy Car is our largest coach which holds up to 76 passengers. The seats are comfortable loveseat style for groups of four facing each other, two on each side.

Pricing

  • $45 per person for the 3:30 p.m. departure
  • $50 for the evening departures

Kris Kringle Coach Car

The seats are comfortable loveseat style for groups of four facing each other, two on each side. The Kris Kringle Car holds up to 64 passengers.

Pricing

  • $45 per person for the 3:30 p.m. departure
  • $50 for the evening departures

Gingerbread Coach Car

The Gingerbread Car seats up to 52 passengers in chair-style seating with sets of two chairs in groups of four facing each other. 

Pricing

  • $45 per person for the 3:30 p.m. departure
  • $50 for the evening departures

First Class Cars

Audubon Dining Car

The Dining Car also known as the Audubon - thanks to hand-painted reproductions  of the artist/naturalist John James Audubon's bird illustrations - holds 44 passengers. Groups of four passengers are seated around a small table. Tickets are sold by tables of four. 

Pricing

  • $260 per table for the 3:30 p.m. departure
  • $280 per table for the evening departures

French Quarter Lounge Car

The French Quarter Car was inspired by the New Orleans French Quarter, with wrought iron details and a “Sunset Pink” painted ceiling studded with stars. Complete with its own serving bar, the French Quarter has large windows and a combination of tables, settees and lounge-style chairs. The French Quarter holds 35 passengers.

Pricing

  • $65 per person for the 3:30 p.m. departure
  • $70 for the evening departures

El Dorado Observation Car

The beautifully restored First Class Observation Car is called the El Dorado. This handsome 1920s lounge car offers large windows and comfortable seating. The car is divided into two sections: The Parlor and the Lounge. Passengers in both locations are free to move about the car and step out onto the observation platform.

The El Dorado Parlor

A private interior room decorated with stained glass interior windows and tufted leatherette seats. The Parlor has comfortable seating groups for two, four, or more and holds up to 18 passengers. 

Pricing

  • $65 per person for the 3:30 p.m. departure
  • $70 for the evening departures

The El Dorado Lounge

A section that seats up to 18 passengers on burgundy sofas and chairs facing each other. 

Pricing

  • $65 per person for the 3:30 p.m. departure
  • $70 for the evening departures

Ticket Information

TICKET PRICES

Matinee – 3:30 p.m.
  • Coach: $45 per person*
  • First Class: $65 per person or $260 per table of four*
Evening – 5:00 p.m., 6:30 p.m., & 8:00 p.m.
  • Coach: $50 per person*
  • First Class: $70 per person or $280 per table of four*

*An additional service fee of $6 per ticket or $24 per table will apply at purchase checkout.
Children under 2 years of age are free and must be seated on an adult’s lap.

Ticket Sales

Member Advance Ticket Sales dates are September 25-27, 2018 starting at 9:00 a.m. and ending at midnight each day. Members of the California State Railroad Museum and Railtown 1897 State Historic Park are eligible to purchase a maximum of 8 tickets or 2 tables of four during Member Advance Ticket Sales.

On October 1, 2018 remaining tickets will go on sale to the general public with no ticket limit.

Ticket Sales Schedule

  • September 1-15 - Silver Spike, Gold Spike and Platinum Spike members.
  • September 25 – Bronze Spike, Trainmaster, Engineer, Yardmaster and Freight Agent members
  • September 26 – Conductor, Fireman, Telegrapher and Hostler members
  • September 27 – Caboose Club, Brakeman, Handcar Club and Switchman members
  • October 1 – General Public

Member Advance Ticket Sales Policies

  • Members are NOT guaranteed to get tickets during Member Advance Ticket Sales, merely the opportunity to try to purchase tickets in advance of the general public.
  • Member Advance Ticket Sales start dates are assigned by membership level.
  • New, renewing or upgrading memberships should be active and current by September 5, 2018 to participate in Member Advance Ticket Sales. Call the Membership Department if purchasing after the deadline to verify presale eligibility.
  • Members must have their active membership ID number when ordering tickets.
  • Tickets may only be purchased online through this website.
  • Members may only purchase up to 8 individual tickets or 2 tables of four – per membership ID number – during Member Advance Ticket Sales.
  • Advance sales begin at 9:00 a.m. and end at midnight each day, September 25-27, 2018.

Frequently Asked Questions

Tickets go on sale to the general public on October 1, 2018 at 9:00 a.m. Tickets can only be purchased online through this website.
Friday-Sunday, November 23-25;
Wednesdays-Sundays, November 28-30; December 1-2; 5-9; 12-16; 19-20
Departure times are 3:30 p.m., 5:00 p.m., 6:30 p.m. and 8:00 p.m.
Yes, we encourage you to join the California State Railroad Museum or Railtown 1897 State Historic Park to learn about upcoming events and exhibits. Members receive advance notification and advance purchase opportunities for events such as THE POLAR EXPRESS™ Train Ride as well as other great benefits (click here for more information on membership). However, all new memberships should be purchased, or existing memberships should be renewed and active, by September 5, 2018 in order to participate in 2018 Member Advance Ticket Sales. If purchasing after the deadline, contact the Membership Department to verify presale eligibility.

Please note - membership does NOT guarantee your purchase of tickets. Members have the opportunity to purchase up to 8 individual tickets or 2 tables of four per member household during Member Advance Ticket Sales. Available tickets are limited and sell out very quickly.
No. THE POLAR EXPRESS™ tickets are sold online only. THE POLAR EXPRESS™ Train Ride Hotline receives a high volume of calls on sales dates, and tickets will not be sold over the phone. Callers looking to purchase tickets will be directed to the website. If you have questions or are experiencing technical difficulties, contact the THE POLAR EXPRESS™ Train Ride Hotline at (916) 445-8270 for assistance.
Each ticket includes THE POLAR EXPRESS™ Train Ride; admission to the Central Pacific Passenger Station where you will pick up your tickets, shop, and enjoy entertainment while you wait to board the train; and admission to the Eagle Theater where you may meet Santa and purchase a commemorative photo taken by a professional photographer.
THE POLAR EXPRESS™ Train Ride will last approximately one hour. You will enter the Central Pacific Passenger Station and pick up your tickets. You are free to enjoy our holiday store, take photos, or write a letter to Santa himself! Approximately 45 minutes prior to your departure time, passengers may line up according to the boarding point listed on the ticket. Boarding will begin approximately 15 minutes prior to departure. Children under 2 years of age do not require a ticket and must be seated on an adult’s lap while on board the train. Strollers are not allowed on board the train. They will be deposited in Stroller Parking before boarding and watched over during your ride.

Once on board the train, you will travel to the North Pole while we read the story of The Polar Express. Dancing waiters will fly through the cars as each ticketed passenger is served hot chocolate and a treat. As the train passes the North Pole, you will catch a glimpse of Santa and his elves while the train readies for the return trip. As you head back to Old Sacramento, Santa will come aboard and walk through each car to give out the “first gift of Christmas” — the silver sleigh bell — to each passenger. We will all join in and sing Christmas carols as we pull into the station in Old Sacramento. Once you depart the train, walk across the walkway to the Eagle Theatre, where Santa will be available to spend more time and visit with your child and you may purchase a commemorative photo with Santa.
First Class tickets are limited in number and usually sell out first. Passengers with First Class El Dorado Observation Car, Audubon Dining Car, or French Quarter Car tickets will board before the Coach passengers. The ticket will indicate whether you are seated in the Parlor or Lounge section of the El Dorado Observation Car. In the Audubon Dining Car, your tickets will entitle you to one table for your party of four. Each ticketed passenger will receive hot chocolate served in a commemorative mug. First Class Stewards are assigned to each section of the cars.
All tickets will be held at Will Call inside the Central Pacific Passenger Station at the corner of Front and J Streets. They will be available after 3:30 p.m. only on the day of your train ride. (Passengers riding the 3:30 p.m. train will be able to pick up tickets after 2:30 p.m. Only 3:30 p.m. train ride tickets will be available at 2:30 p.m.). When you place your order, you will receive a confirmation number. Please note the exact date and time of your tickets when you place the order. You must purchase tickets for a particular car, however, exact seating is not assigned, but rather on a first-come, first-served basis. Approximately 1 week before your train ride, you will receive an additional email reminding you of where to park and where to go for your tickets.
Requests for full refunds will be accepted up to 48 hours after your purchase. After 48 hours, requests for refunds received up to two weeks prior to the train ride will be charged a cancellation fee of $10 per ticket or $40 per table of four. Refunds are not available within 2 weeks of the departure date.

Ticket exchanges are based on availability. Any available exchanges are subject to the $10 per ticket or $40 per table exchange fee (this includes exchanges between cars). Contact THE POLAR EXPRESS™ Train Ride – Sacramento Hotline at (916) 445-8270 to submit refund or exchange requests.
No. However, a limited number of tickets will occasionally become available through cancellations. Tickets will be placed for sale on our website as they become available, and we recommend checking the website periodically for tickets.
If you currently have tickets, you may contact THE POLAR EXPRESS™ Hotline at (916) 445-8270, and we will keep your request for additional tickets on file. You will be notified if additional tickets become available through cancellations.
You will pick up your tickets for THE POLAR EXPRESS™ Train Ride at the Central Pacific Passenger Station in Old Sacramento, located southwest of the entrance of the California State Railroad Museum on the corner of Front and J Streets. Departure times for your ride on THE POLAR EXPRESS™ Train Ride are exact. Missed train rides cannot be taken later. We suggest you arrive 1 hour prior to your departure time to pick up your tickets allowing for parking and walking to the Central Pacific Passenger Station. Boarding lines will open 45 minutes prior to departure and the boarding process will begin about 15 minutes prior to your departure.
Of course that’s part of the fun! We encourage the whole family to dress in your warmest pajamas and bring your book for the Conductor to sign if you wish. Do be sure to dress warmly enough to walk comfortably to and from your car, and make sure that everyone in your party is wearing appropriate footwear. You will be traversing streets with packed granite soil and wooden boardwalks to reach the event’s starting point in the Central Pacific Passenger Station in Old Sacramento. The Passenger Station is covered but not heated and open to the elements. The train cars are nice and warm for your trip.
Strollers and baby carriers are not allowed aboard THE POLAR EXPRESS™ Train Ride, due to narrow aisles aboard the train and the need for crews to freely move about during the trip. You may keep your stroller with you while inside the Passenger Station. Stroller parking will be available just prior to boarding of your train. A convenient location is designated for this purpose, and strollers will be guarded while your train is journeying to the North Pole!
There are no restrooms aboard the train. The ride is one-hour long. Restrooms are available in the Central Pacific Passenger Station.
THE POLAR EXPRESS™ Train Ride in Sacramento is not fully accessible to persons with disabilities, due to historic, narrow doorway widths and steep stepwells within the train cars. However, our train crews are always pleased to lend assistance when boarding and alighting from the train (provided wheelchairs or other oversize assistive devices are not required during the trip). If you need any assistance preboarding the train, please let us know at the ticket window and a station agent will preboard your family member who needs assistance, plus one other person from the party to accompany them. The remaining members of the party will line up with the rest of the passengers for regular boarding.

The California State Railroad Museum and related event activities are fully accessible to persons with disabilities, except as noted above. If you require special accommodation, please notify us in advance of your visit by emailing us at [email protected] or by calling THE POLAR EXPRESS™ Train Ride – Sacramento Hotline at (916) 445-8270.
Food will not be available at the actual event site — except for the hot chocolate and small treat aboard the train during the ride. If you wish to come early or stay later after the ride, there are a variety of restaurants throughout the Old Sacramento Historic District, catering to every kind of clientele. Visit www.oldsacramento.com for more details.
Winter wind, rain or other adverse conditions are possible. Please check weather conditions prior to your visit, and dress accordingly. THE POLAR EXPRESS™ Train Ride will operate as scheduled, regardless of weather. Although under cover, the Central Pacific Passenger Station is an open-sided building and not heated.
By Auto: Exit Interstate 5 in Downtown Sacramento at “J” Street, and follow the overhead signs to Old Sacramento (J Street to 5th, left onto 5th, left onto “I”, straight ahead to Old Sacramento). Remember: If you have reserved a weekday departure, please allow sufficient time to reach Old Sacramento regardless of rush hour travel conditions. By Amtrak: the Sacramento train depot is just two blocks from Old Sacramento and the Museum. Amtrak’s Capitols offer frequent service from the Bay Area; San Joaquins from Fresno/Modesto. For routes, fares, and reservations call 1-800-USA-RAIL or visit www.amtrak.com
On-street metered parking throughout Old Sacramento is time-limited to 90 minutes or less. Therefore, we recommend parking in one of the City of Sacramento’s Downtown/Old Sacramento public parking lots. The nearest and most reasonably priced one is located on “I” Street between 2nd and 3rd Streets, underneath Interstate 5 in Old Sacramento. An online map of City Parking Garages in the Downtown/Old Sacramento area may be accessed here.
Old Sacramento, the California State Railroad Museum, and all of the City of Sacramento are served by Sacramento Regional Transit busses and Light Rail lines. Light Rail trains travel to and from the Sacramento train depot, just two blocks from Old Sacramento and the Railroad Museum. For details, call Regional Transit at (916) 321-2877 or visit www.sacrt.com.
Check out nearby hotels that are within walking distance of Old Sacramento. Additionally, the Sacramento Convention & Visitors Bureau can recommend a number of hotels and attractions in the area, or the Bureau will be happy to mail you a complete Sacramento Visitors Guide upon request. The Bureau provides callers with information between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. PT Monday-Friday at (916) 264-7777, or visit www.visitsacramento.com anytime.
THE POLAR EXPRESS™ Train Ride event will feature a variety of themed merchandise. Cash, checks, and credit cards will be accepted. An extensive selection of railroad-related merchandise is also available from the California State Railroad Museum Store, along with souvenirs, books, videos, posters and gifts. The Museum Store will operate its regular hours of 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. during the event. THE POLAR EXPRESS™ Train Ride in Sacramento also features a store in the Central Pacific Passenger Station, which is open from 2:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. on each day of THE POLAR EXPRESS™ Train Ride. To order before or after your visit, call (916) 324-4950 or visit the Museum Store online.

Have Questions?

For additional information, contact:

Phone: 916-445-8270

Accommodations

There are numerous hotels within walking distance of Old Sacramento and the California State Railroad Museum.

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