Polar Express

by Christine Ward

In the early days of the Grand Canyon National Park, the Grand Canyon Railway passenger train from Williams, Arizona was the most popular form of transportation to get to South Rim. As automobiles became more popular in the 1920s, travel by rail began to wane. By 1968, when the Grand Canyon Railway train travelled from Williams to the Grand Canyon, there were only three passengers on board..

In 1989, new owners purchased this historic railway, and once again, travelling by passenger train to the South Rim became a regular, and very popular, way to travel the Grand Canyon.

In November and December, the Grand Canyon Railway offers an extra-special option for train lovers — the Grand Canyon Railway’s Polar Express. Hop aboard the train in Williams and delight in the re-creation of Chris Van Allsberg’s beloved Polar Express book and movie as you head seventeen miles north to the “North Pole.”

During the train ride, guests enjoy hot chocolate, and cookies, and listening to the story of the Polar Express. Be prepared to sing a few Christmas Carols during your journey.

Santa Claus boards the train upon your arrival at the “North Pole,”  and each and every child receives a special gift from him.

The Grand Canyon Railway’s Polar Express departs from Williams at 5:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. nightly. The total round trip time is about 90 minutes. Book early as this extremely popular experience sells out quickly.

The town of Williams and the train depot at the Grand Canyon Railway Hotel are worth spending a little extra time visiting. Plan to arrive early, the holiday decorations are amazing, and there is a gift shop as well as other activities for parents and kids to participate in before boarding the train.

For more information about the Polar Express, please visit https://www.thetrain.com/events/polar-express/