BRYSON CITY, NC – In 1985, Chris Van Allsburg wrote The Polar Express, a story of a magical train ride on Christmas Eve. The train takes a young boy to the North Pole to receive a special gift from Santa Claus. “The Polar Express,” published by Houghton Mifflin Company, has become a contemporary holiday classic, with over 6 million copies sold worldwide. In 2004 Warner Bros. Entertainment, Inc. reunited the Academy Award-winning team of Tom Hanks and director Robert Zemeckis in an inspiring animated version. That same year GSMR began operating The Polar Express based on the storybook version. Over 40,000 passengers rode The Polar Express with the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad in 2008.
The one and half hour round-trip excursion comes to life as the train departs the Bryson City depot for a journey through the quiet wilderness for a special visit at the North Pole. Guests on board will enjoy warm cocoa and a treat while listening and reading along with the magical story. Children’s faces show the magic of the season when the train arrives at the “North Pole” to find Santa Claus waiting. Santa will board The Polar Express, greeting each child and presenting them with a special gift as in the story, their own silver sleigh bell. Christmas carols will be sung as they return back to the Bryson City Depot.
The Polar Express 2009 schedule is November 6, 8, 12, 13, 15, & 19 departs at 6:30pm. November 7, 14, 22, 24, 25, & 29 departs at 5:00pm & 6:30pm. November 20, 21, 27, & 28 departs at 5:00pm, 6:30pm, & 8:00pm. December 2, 6, 9, 13, 14, 15, 16, & 17 departs at 5:00pm & 6:30pm. December 3, 4, 10, & 11 departs at 11:00am, 5:00pm, 6:30pm, & 8:00pm. December 5, 12, & 19 departs at 2:00pm, 3:30pm, 5:00pm, 6:30pm, & 8:00pm. December 18, 20, 21, 22, & 23 departs 5:00pm, 6:30pm, & 8:00pm.