The area’s first cold snap of the season and threat of inclement weather didn’t keep folks away from the Texas State Railroad’s Palestine Depot last Saturday night to begin their Christmas season with a ride aboard The Polar Express™.
Dressed in their warmest pajamas and robes, children and adults alike waited anxiously to watch the historic railroad’s steam engine pull into the depot. The yellow depot was aglow with Christmas trees and lights, keeping those waiting warm against the night’s chill.
The Polar Express™ is based on the award-winning book by Chris Van Allsburg and tells the story of a young boy’s magical journey aboard the train bound for the North Pole.
According to Janet Gregg, marketing manager for the Texas State Railroad, The Polar Express™ is one of the park’s most popular events thanks to the book by Van Allsburg and the Warner Bros. film.
“It is by a mile, our most popular event. It’s our longest running event of the year and by far the most popular, biggest thing we do,” Gregg said.
In the first two weekends before Thanksgiving, ridership aboard The Polar Express™ was up over the same time last year, Gregg added. She encouraged those wanting to ride The Polar Express™ to make their reservations early.
“It’s definitely not a walk up and get a ticket thing,” Gregg said. “People need to book in advance.”
As the train approached the depot last Saturday night, children squealed almost as loud as the train’s whistle. Parents snapped pictures of their children with the train in the background as it came to a stop to let a new load of passengers begin their own magical journey bound for the North Pole and Santa Claus.
Quickly the train’s cars filled up with passengers, laughter ringing throughout.