North Pole Express is back for 2021, tickets on sale today

Rides begin on Nov. 20

Photo of Angela Mulka
Pictured is the flyer for the North Pole Express.

Pictured is the flyer for the North Pole Express.

Photo provided/Steam Railroading Institute

A favorite Michigan holiday tradition is back this year after canceling last year due to COVID-19 for the first time in 16 years.

The North Pole Express will be bringing joy to families this November and December. And, tickets are on sale today, according to the Steam Railroading Institute, the non-profit that organizes and operates the North Pole Express each year.

These holiday excursions have been a tradition for the organization since 2004 and continue to grow in popularity. The North Pole Express will once again be powered by the world-famous Pere Marquette 1225, a 1941 Berkshire type steam locomotive that is the pride and joy of the Steam Railroading Institute collection, thus providing passengers a ride back in time to the Christmas of yesteryear, according to a press release.

The Pere Marquette 1225 train is the train that Hollywood modeled the Polar Express after. Its blueprints were used as the prototype for the locomotive image as well as its sounds to bring the train in the animated film to life.

All North Pole Express excursions will operate on Saturdays and Sundays from Nov. 20 to Dec. 19. There will also be an additional day of excursions on Friday, Nov. 26. All trains will depart from the Steam Railroading Institute in Owosso for a four and a half hour, round trip excursion to the Village of Ashley’s Country Christmas.

Passengers will enjoy a one hour and fifteen-minute train ride each way to and from Ashley, choosing six different classes of service. From vintage coaches to historic cabooses, each offers a different type of comfortable accommodation and Christmas ambiance. An all new class of service will be provided this year as “Claus Club” will have passengers ride in vintage 1950s dining cars.

Upon arrival at the Village of Ashley’s Country Christmas, passengers will disembark for a two-hour Christmas party straight out of the past and will participate in the numerous activities the village has to offer. This includes live entertainment, having their picture taken in front of the 1225 and meeting Santa Claus himself, according to the release.

Tickets to board traditionally sell out early each year. Pricing starts at $65 per ticket with six options to choose from.

For more information and to purchase tickets, visit here.

Note: The Steam Railroading Institute plans to follow all local, state, and federal health orders for preventing the spread of COVID-19. Approved face coverings must be worn by all staff/volunteers and passengers, ages two and up, in the welcome center and on board the train except when actively eating or drinking.