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Tickets for 2024 go on sale on June 1.

Chris Van Allsburg's book The Polar Express comes to life when the train pulls out of the station with your family on board this winter.

Tickets cost $50 for Standard Service and $110 for Premier Service. See below for more information on the Premier Service.
Check the schedule below to see which trains operate which type of service.

All riders require a ticket regardless of age.

The train will transport you to the “North Pole” where Santa will be waiting. Experience the joy of watching the children's faces when the train arrives at the North Pole.

At the North Pole, Santa will board the train. There will be caroling, sing-alongs with professional musicians making this what will surely become an annual holiday tradition for the whole family.

Departure Location: Jon Duerr Forest Preserve,
35W003 Route 31, South Elgin, IL

    Regular Service

    Every Polar Express train includes the following:

    • A reading of the famous Polar Express book
    • Live performances of scenes from the Polar Express book and movie
    • A visit from Santa at the North Pole
    • Christmas carol sing-alongs
    • Hot chocolate and cookies
    • A ride along the beautiful Fox River in a restored trolley car

    Premier Service

    We are pleased to continue the Premier Service that debuted last year. In addition to all of the features offered in our standard service, the premier service includes some extra features:

    • The train seats 40 passengers in a beautifully restored 1925 trolley car with large windows, restored wood interior, and wide aisles to visit with Santa
    • Seats can face either direction, allowing groups of up to four to be seated facing each other
    • Souvenir Polar Express hot chocolate mug
    • More time with Santa at the North Pole for great pictures and family memories
    • Guests who purchase two or more tickets in a single transaction will receive a hard bound copy of The Polar Express signed by Santa Claus


    Trains will be operating on the following days in the afternoon and evening (exact  times will be announced soon):

    DateService Type
    Saturday, November 30, 2024
    Standard and Premier
    Sunday, December 1, 2024
    Standard only
    Friday, December 6, 2024
    Premier only
    Saturday, December 7, 2024
    Standard and Premier
    Sunday, December 8, 2024
    Standard only
    Friday, December 13, 2024
    Premier only
    Saturday, December 14, 2024
    Standard and premier
    Sunday, December 15, 2024
    Standard only
    Friday, December 20, 2024
    Premier only
    Saturday, December 21, 2024
    Standard and premier
    Sunday, December 22, 2024
    Standard only

    Polar Express, South Elgin General Information, Event Terms and Conditions


    Please review the event terms and conditions and general information below carefully and completely prior to ordering tickets (ordering links at bottom of page). A ticket purchase indicates acceptance of all museum terms and conditions.


    • ALL passengers (i.e. ALL infants, children, adults and seniors), regardless of age, size, or seating location (seat or lap) are required to purchase and display a valid ticket. If you anticipate a joyous arrival prior to your anticipated Polar Express trip, please be sure to plan your ticket purchase accordingly.

    Food and Food Allergies

    • Cookies and hot cocoa are typically served as a part of The Polar Express experience. Please assume that any and all provided food and drink items may have come into contact with potential allergens including, but not limited to chocolate, cocoa, coconuts, eggs, fish, milk, peanuts, shellfish, soy, tree nuts, gluten and wheat. Please see ingredient list (provided items subject to change without notice).
    Seating Arrangements
    1. Seating is provided for two adults or the equivalent per seat. Persons of size requiring additional space must purchase additional tickets as required at the time of initial ticket purchase.
    2. By virtue of the historic equipment utilized, no specific seats/ locations can be reserved, and community-style seating is practiced. To try to facilitate keeping relations as close together as possible, we reserve the right to fill empty/unused seating space, (including but not limited to half-occupied seats).
    3. NO specific location, seating arrangements or contiguous seating for ANY group or individual can be guaranteed.
    4. Please note that there is no on-board storage for strollers, wheelchairs or other large items.

    Groups/ Group Seating

    1. The museum will make reasonable attempts to accommodate groups of eight (8) or more when tickets are purchased under ONE name, and ONE transaction for the same train and ALL members of the group are present and available to board in the designated group boarding area at least 20 minutes prior to the scheduled departure time.
    2. Incomplete/ late groups and/ or late group members will be seated at the museum’s discretion.
    3. NO specific location, seating arrangements or contiguous seating for ANY group or individual can be guaranteed.

    Handicapped Accessibility

    • Unfortunately, due to the historic nature of the equipment, the Polar Express is NOT handicapped accessible. A ramp is provided at the Jon J. Duerr Forest Preserve for those that are ambulatory.


    1. Trains are heated and pajamas are encouraged. Please be sure to dress for inclement weather so that you are comfortable with the brief walk from the parking lot to the train and waiting to board the train.
    2. Please note that there are no on-board restrooms. Camp-style lavatory facilities are provided in the Jon J. Duerr Forest Preserve shelter, adjacent to the Blackhawk station.

    Event Duration

    • The Polar Express event is approximately one hour in duration.

    Boarding Location: Jon Duerr Forest Preserve

    • ALL Polar Express trains board at Blackhawk Station in the Jon J. Duerr Forest Preserve, NOT the museum. The Jon J. Duerr Forest Preserve, 35W003 Route 31, South Elgin, IL is located approximately two (2) miles south of the Fox River Trolley Museum on the east side of IL Route 31. See Google Maps for individualized directions.

    Area Restaurants


    Inclement Weather, Refunds and Cancellations

    1. All ticket sales are non-refundable unless a train is canceled. Generally, trains are canceled only in the case of extreme inclement weather as deemed by the museum, and/or equipment failure.
    2. COVID 19 / PANDEMIC RELATED CANCELLATIONSAny train cancelled due to governing bodies requiring a shut down, will result in a full refund. If you or a member of your party is ill or required to quarantine, please let us know as soon as possible so we may allow others to attend the event, and if the museum is informed before the departure of your ticketed train, a full refund will be issued. If you do not advise the museum of your cancellation due to a Covid related matter, PRIOR to the trains departure, a refund will not be issued. 
    3. Patrons should plan on arriving at least 20 minutes before their scheduled departure time for Polar Express trains. Please factor the possibility of inclement weather into your travel plans.
    4. We are not able to hold trains for late arrivals. Trains operate as close to their published departure times as possible
    The Fox River Trolley Museum and Polar Express
    • The Fox River Trolley Museum operates the Polar Express under license from Warner Brothers and affiliates as a fund raising event, with funds used to maintain the museum and its collection of antique rail cars.

    Ticket Delivery

    1. Tickets for Polar Express trains will be distributed prior to boarding time, NOT mailed.
    2. To facilitate ticket distribution, please bring either a printed copy of your purchase confirmation or be prepared to show a digital version on your smart device.
    3. When purchasing tickets, the address entered MUST match the address on-file with your financial institution.
    4. Please be sure to provide a valid e-mail address when ordering online to insure that you receive your e-mail confirmation for your ticket purchase. You may also wish to set your junk or spam filter to accept email from and other email addresses.
    Ticketing System/ Reservations
    1. Our Internet-based reservation system reflects all of the trains and seats available in real-time. If the system indicates “0” seats available for a train, no additional seats for that train are available. Other values are as indicated, (i.e. 20 seats remaining for a train reflects 20 seats available for that specific train).
    2. We happily accept Discover, MasterCard, and Visa for ticket purchases. Please note, we do not accept American Express.

    Privacy Information

    1. Personal information is generally collected to support your access of museum products or services (i.e. purchase of tickets, charter requests, joining or renewing a membership, donations to the museum, etc.). To this end, we may collect personally identifiable information ("Personal Information") which may include your name, family member names, dates of birth, contact and credit or debit card information and other related information necessary to fulfill related functions.
    2. By providing personal information, you consent to our collection and use of it, as described in the museum’s privacy policy. We use your personal information to confirm your identity for eligibility for museum related products and services, process related payments and/ or donations and administer your participation in museum events and activities.
    3. The museum, its agents and/ or related third parties may take still and/or video images of children, adults, and/ or families at the museum, riding museum equipment or participating in museum-related activities or events for use in legitimate business purposes such as, but not limited to fund raising, and promoting the museum and/ or related activities or events online and/ or in-print.

    Polar Express Questions

    • If you have additional questions regarding the Polar Express at the Fox River Trolley Museum, please contact us at: or by phone at 847-380-6121

    Changes or Updates

    • The museum reserves the right to update policies, procedures, schedules, equipment, and other event related items without prior notice.
    THE POLAR EXPRESS and all related characters and elements © & TM Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. (s22)

    Contact Us

    General Information (847) 697-4676

    Event and Ticket questions (847) 380-6121


    365 S La Fox St, South Elgin, IL 60177           

    P.O. Box 315

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    The Fox River Trolley Museum is an IRS 501(c)(3) Illinois Not for Profit Corporation.
    Donations are tax deductible to the fullest extent of the law. 

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