"Though I've grown old, the bell still rings for me as it does for all who truly believe."
—Chris Van Allsburg,
The Polar Express™
Eight trains daily: Noon, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 & 7pm
The Polar Express runs through rain, hail, sleet and snow!
The Polar Express adventure begins in the Wing Building lobby at the bottom of King Street, (just South of Union Station), in Burlington, Vermont. Engineers welcome families into the south entrance of the Wing Building where they’ll await their train. Passengers are encouraged to wear pajamas. Each child is asked to donate a new or gently used children’s book to Santa’s sack. The Fletcher Free Library will be distributing the picture books in time for the holidays through the Library's Books for Children Gift Campaign. Recipients will be preschoolers in Head Start of Chittenden County programs, the King Street Area Youth Program, the Sara Holbrook Community Center, the VNA Family Room, and COTS.
Conductors greet passengers as they board the train from the Wing Building in Burlington for their ride to the 'North Pole' (Union Station). The ride is about 20 minutes. During the ride, hot cocoa and cookies are served by chefs, while conductors lead a Christmas carol sing along.
Upon reaching the 'North Pole', children leave the train, passing through a sea of elves, as they enter Union Station. The Polar Express story is read aloud, as artwork from the book follows the page turns on a big screen. Once the story is finished, the reader shakes his sleigh bell and we, too, hear “the most beautiful sound we have ever heard.”
The chime grows and grows until we realize it is coming from behind the crowd. Santa appears and invites children to join him on the upper level of Union Station. Santa gives each child a bell from his sleigh as passengers exit the building. Everyone should walk down Battery Street to return to their cars to avoid running into children who are passengers on the next train.
The entire trip takes approximately one hour and 15 minutes including the boarding time of 15 minutes. This is a handicap accessible event. Please email us to let us know upon which train you are riding for details on handicap parking information. Send an email note to Special Services. Children with food allergies should bring their own cocoa and cookies.
All proceeds from this event benefit VCTF.