For the fourth consecutive holiday season, California State Parks, Railtown 1897 State Historic Park (SHP) and the California State Railroad Museum Foundation are proud to present THE POLAR EXPRESS™ Train Ride this holiday season. New this year, the festive train rides start the weekend after Thanksgiving and run on the following dates: November 25-26, December 1-3, 8-10 and 15-17, 2017. Three festive train rides will be available each day the trains are running at 4:30 p.m., 6 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. While THE POLAR EXPRESS™ Train Ride is also offered in Old Sacramento by the California State Railroad Museum & Foundation, all train ride tickets in that location have already sold out.

Utilizing a festive locomotive decked out to reflect Christmas magic and headed to the North Pole, the staff and volunteers at Railtown 1897 SHP go to great lengths to re-create the holiday experience depicted in the classic children’s book of the same name by Chris Van Allsburg. The holiday experience includes keepsake souvenir tickets, hot cocoa, festive holiday cookies, Santa Claus sightings and even the coveted silver bells – the first gift of Christmas for those who still believe in Santa Claus. Additionally, guests who bring their cameras or smartphones can capture memorable holiday photos in the historic Roundhouse – complete with a steam engine in the background.

“As a real point of pride for Railtown, I’m excited to share the news that we were recognized by Rail Events with a prestigious Polar Bell award for Best Décor,” said Jackie Olavarria, Railtown Supervising Ranger. “We were chosen out of 50 Polar Express partners in the U.S. and Canada based on site visits, guest feedback and consumer reviews. The honor was presented recently during the Heritage Rail conference in Minneapolis.”

Ticket prices for THE POLAR EXPRESS™ Train Ride at Railtown 1897 SHP are as follows: $50 per person for coach seating, open-air car is $200 per table of four, and $70 per person for First Class seating that includes a commemorative THE POLAR EXPRESS™ mug (note an additional service fee of $6 per ticket or $24 per table will apply at purchase checkout). Children under two years of age are free and must be seated on an adult’s lap during the ride. THE POLAR EXPRESS™ Train Ride is a fundraiser for the California State Railroad Museum Foundation, which supports Railtown 1897 SHP. Advance tickets are available online only at Additionally, more information is available on THE POLAR EXPRESS™ Train Ride hotline at 209-984-3407.

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California State Parks Mission
To provide for the health, inspiration and education of the people of California by helping to preserve the state’s extraordinary biological diversity, protecting its most valued natural and cultural resources, and creating opportunities for high quality outdoor recreation.

Railtown 1897 SHP

Event Dates