This exciting steam train ride to the ‘North Pole’ starts on Friday 17 November and runs until Saturday 30 December. To read a preview experience of this train ride by Dorset View, see the end of this article.
Meanwhile families will find themselves on an adventure that will immerse them into the enchanting world of the much-loved film, THE POLAR EXPRESS™.
Members of the public have been auditioning for a role as a character on-board the train, with creative director, Gareth Walker, considering who best expressed them-elfs. These actors bring the magic of the movie alive, with dances and performances, and a cup of hot chocolate or two…
THE POLAR EXPRESS™ will leave Swanage Railway every two hours between 12.45pm and 6.45pm, and passengers are encouraged to dress in their cosiest Christmas pyjamas and winter warmers. During the one-hour train journey, guests will be ushered into one of seven carriages, each named after Santa’s reindeers: Rudolph, Blitzen, Comet, Prancer, Vixen, Dasher and Cupid.
From Swanage Railway Station, the steam train will head to the ‘North Pole’ on a direct route, passing Corfe Castle, which will be lit up – creating an illuminating experience to rival the Northern Lights. With the elves hard at work and St Nick checking his list for the final time, Yule not want to miss out on the final chance to meet the man in red himself before Christmas Day.
Much like the wind blowing the Hero Boy’s ticket out of the window in the film, online tickets are also flying away! To avoid disappointment and with peak-time tickets selling fast, it’s advisable to purchase a your places soon if you want to be part of the POLAR EXPRESS™ experience. Tickets in November start at £41 and run every Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, for those wanting to get stuck into the festivities early. Not only does purchasing a ticket help cast a bit of magic during Christmas, but it also helps to support the heritage railway this festive season. Tickets are on sale here: https://thepolarexpress.seetickets.com/timeslot/the-polar-express?outputStyle=Default&pageIndex=1&pageSize=30
For those who want to fully immerse themselves in the Christmas cheer, they are encouraged to take the trip on the new date on Sunday 24 December, to see the big man himself before he sets-sleigh across the globe.
There are a few parking options near the station, the closest being the Co-Op, 52 Kings Rd W, Swanage BH19 1HP, but there is a 2-hour limit to parking and a restricted number of spaces. The Main Beach long-stay car park, Information Centre, A351, Swanage BH19 1PWm is about a 6-minute walk from the station and there is a £1 charge for 24 hours. Train guests are encouraged to arrive 30 minutes ahead of their journey commencing.
Dorset View’s experience of The Polar Express train ride:
The Polar Express, a trip to the ‘North Pole’
By Louis Pulford
After being handed our golden tickets the Polar Express set off from Swanage Railway Platform the magical experience was instantly put into motion by the local actors recruited for the ride. The onboard service personnel welcomed us with bright smiles and greetings along each booth, capturing the attention of the passengers and handing out paper and pencils for us all to write our Christmas lists.
As the train got underway the activities began. Dancing and singing with passenger participation was paramount to the adventure to the ‘North Pole’, as the actors performed lines and sang songs from the THE POLAR EXPRESS™ movie, the atmosphere for a magical Christmas ride was captivating. As the ride progressed the passengers were rewarded with hot chocolate and cookies then recruited to sing along, ‘Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer’ and ‘The Twelve Days of Christmas’ went down like a storm, with all the passengers trying to memorise the gestures for the latter song on the go. It made for some hilarious mishaps and bellowing laughter, the actors, audience and ourselves couldn’t have been more roused and raring to go.
Just as things were firing up, the train started to slow, but this was only to bring more magic to the ride as elves started prancing past the windows, waving and enticing the passengers to what was to come next. A quick glance out of the window would leave any child speechless as the train had arrived at the ‘North Pole’, Santa’s sleigh, bright lights and elves scattering the scene. The Jolly Red Fellow made a surprise appearance in person and greeted each passenger as they asked him questions and he collected their Christmas lists, handing out a bell as a present for each person to jing-a-ling on the journey home!
As the Polar Express set off from the ‘North Pole’ back to Swanage, there was a lovely story time to settle the over-excited adults – the children needed a little settling down too – as the on board service personnel walked around with giant picture books for all to follow along, another captivating activity, which rounded the trip off nicely as we landed back in Dorset.
If you are a fan of THE POLAR EXPRESS™ movie, then you will be a fan of this magical train ride.
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