All Aboard! Tickets for The Polar Express Train Ride on Sale Soon

August 29, 2016

The Polar Express

Get ready to believe! Tickets for the California State Railroad Museum's annual holiday Polar Express train rides go on sale to members only on September 27–29, 2016 and to the general public on Saturday, October 1, 2016. (No tickets sales on September 30.) The Railroad Museum's sister organization, Railtown 1897 in Jamestown will also be holding Polar Express train rides again this holiday season. Members of the Californa State Railroad Museum and Railroad 1897 are eligible to participate in member advance ticket sales.

In order to reserve member tickets, your membership must be active or renewed by Monday, September 5, 2016. So if you're not a member, you can still consider becoming one (it's a great deal, actually). Tickets to this event always sell out right away, so being a member means you have a better chance of getting your preferred date and time.

Climb on board a train pulled by a historic streamlined diesel locomotive from the museum's collection and read along with Chris Van Allsburg's classic holiday story as you and your family make your round-trip journey to the North Pole. Meet Santa Claus, the Train Conductor, and the ghostly Hobo. Sing Christmas carols, drink hot-hot-hot chocolate, and eat cookies—served by dancing waiters, of course.

Each child attending receives a special gift of a silver sleighbell, and children (and adults, for that matter) are encouraged to wear their pajamas. This wildly popular holiday event usually sell out immediately, so if you want to go, order yours as soon as you can. Tickets are available online only.

The Polar ExpressThe Polar Express

Ride in the coach cars ($45–$50 per person), first-class El Dorado Observation Car ($65–$70 per person), or reserve a table for four in the first class Audubon Dining Car ($260–280). All tickets are subject to a service fee of $5 per ticket ($20 for dining car table reservation). Children under 2 years of age are free and must be seated on an adult's lap. Tickets must be picked up at will call on the day of your scheduled train ride. Tickets also include free admission to the museum. 

Polar Express train rides take place Friday, Saturday and Sunday, November 25–27 and Wednesdays through Sundays, November 30 and December 1–4, 7–11, and 13–18. Trains depart the Central Pacific Passenger Station in Old Town Sacramento at 3:30 matinee, 5, 6:30, and 8 pm. After the train ride, visit the Eagle Theater and have your children's pictures taken with Santa, visit the gift shop, and enjoy the sights and sounds of the season.

The Polar ExpressThe Polar Express

We've ridden on the Polar Express and it's a truly magical experience! It's an extremely well done event, and a unique holiday treat that the whole family can enjoy. It's definitely worth the trip to Sacramento this holiday season.

For more information visit or call (916) 445-8270. Tickets may only be ordered online.

The Polar Express at Railtown 1897

If you can't get tickets to the Polar Express in Sacramento, don't worry! Due to the popularity of the Sacramento event, the CSRM's sister organization Railtown 1897 State Historic Park now holds Polar Express train rides in the Gold Country town of Jamestown. Polar Express rides take place December 2–4, 9–11, and 16–18. Departure times will be at 4:30, 6, and 7:30 pm.

Ticket sales for the Railtown 1897 Polar Express go on sale to Railtown 1897 and CRSM members on October 11–12, 2016 and the general public on October 13, 2016. Tickets cost $50 per person or $180 per table of 4 for coach and $65 per person for first class seating. Children under 2 are free and must be seated on an adult's lap. A $5 per ticket service fee will apply at checkout. As with the California State Railroad Museum, you must be an active member of Railtown 1897 or the CSRM by September 5, 2016 to take advantage of member advance ticket sales, and tickets are only sold online.

Tickets include admission to Railtown 1897, where you can shop and enjoy live entertainment as you wait for your train. You'll also get to go into the roundhouse, where you can meet Santa and get your photo taken with him. For more information, visit, call the Polar Express Jamestown Hotline at (209) 984-3407 or email You can also follow their Facebook page for updates.

While it's further away than Sacramento (Jamestown, in Tuolumne County, is about a three-hour drive from the Bay Area), Railtown 1897 is a fantastic and fun destination for train lovers of all ages. You can read all about our visit to Railtown here. Make a fun family getaway weekend of it and visit nearby Columbia State Historic Park, which will be holding Miner's Christmas living history events on December 10, 11, 17, and 18, as well as other holiday events throughout December.