BY Veronica Reiner
The popular Polar Express train ride in St. Jacob’s is once again up and running for the holiday season.
The themed experience runs Fridays and Saturdays every weekend of December until the 23rd. The train’s hour-long route travels from the St. Jacobs village to Elmira and back and takes place at 5 p.m., 6:30 p.m. and 8 p.m. Adult tickets are $59.99 and children’s are $49.99, both of which sell out quickly. To get great seats, those interested should purchase their tickets a week or two in advance.
The Polar Express theme is ideal for families with children who want to get into the Christmas spirit. It also appeals to fans of the book and animated film.
On a recent Saturday, the St. Jacob’s train station had large crowds, consisting of nearly all families with small children. The buildings in the area with their country rustic charm added to the overall atmosphere. On the ride, hot chocolate and treats are served to passengers. There is also a read through of the classic children’s book, The Polar Express, written by Chris Van Allsburg. Guests are entertained by various characters, including chefs, conductors and Santa himself.
“The conductor noticed the magic in my five-year-old daughter’s eyes, levelled with her and asked her to shake the snow globe for him,” said passenger Sherri McManus, a resident of Milton. “Santa was also very friendly and attentive.”
For guests who wanted a souvenir to take home, there was a gift shop with themed items such as snow globes, stuffed polar bears, conductor’s hats and stockings.
“The chefs were very good at reading what each guest was looking for,” said McManus. “The kid behind us did not seem very interested so they kept walking. Mine was very impressed so they took the time to show her pictures in the book and dance in front of her.”
The actors playing these roles consist entirely of volunteers who the Waterloo Central Railway depends on in order for the event to run successfully.
The railway does plenty of other themed train experiences. Upcoming events include Santa’s Train, Jazz Night Train and a Valentine’s train. The themes are seasonal depending on the nearest holiday. For example, there are Easter Bunny and St. Patrick’s Day themed experiences taking place in the springtime.
Anyone interested in getting into the Christmas spirit should check out the Polar Express in St. Jacob’s at 50 Isabella St.