The North Pole Express Train Ride!
We ventured down to Nelsonville, Ohio on Saturday evening Dec, 4th to ride on the Hocking Valley Scenic Railway. They were having one of their North Pole Express Train Rides. There are only 5 of the North Pole Express night train rides this season, but there are daytime Santa train rides too!
It was about an hour and half ride for us from the Columbus area, so Dave, the triplets and I left plenty early since it was snowing. We figured we would have time to go into Rocky’s and shop around and eat dinner before the train left at 7pm. We arrived around 5pm and found out we didn’t have as much spare time as we thought.
I wanted to get pictures while it was still light out, and then was also given a tour by Bob of the train before everyone got on. There were so many cars… I am thinking 10. Several of them were so similar that you wouldn’t have been able to tell them apart other than decorations were different colors. There was one up front that had a pot belly stove going, another one (that we sat in) that had higher back seats. The one the kids thought looked the coolest was the double decker train car. Bob was explaining a lot of the history to me. How most of these cars were used in Chicago.
We went over to Rocky’s, but evidently there were a lot of other people who had the same idea as us… so we went to eat at McDonald’s. We were told it would be a good idea to get back close to 6pm if we wanted to get a good seat on the train. The ride was sold out! There were 537 people on board. We did get back at 6pm and the kids had gotten their PJ’s and robes on.
Before the train started at 7pm, I went through a few of the other cars to get pictures. I asked parents before I took and pictures of their children. Here are a few of my favorites:
This little girl and her brother were seating close behind us. I just thought she looked SO cute and took several pictures of her. They were watching for the man who was handing out the bells.
Is he too cute or what?
The started serving the hot chocolate and cookies soon after we left. I felt bad for the hot chocolate man…. he needed a much bigger pitcher for it, or someone to bring him refills. He would only get a few rows filled and then would have to run a few train cars back to refill the pitcher.
We called the cookie man…the cookie elf. He had a cute hat on and followed behind the hot chocolate man. He also had some extras….so came back through a few times (oh darn…. we had to have more than 1 cookie!)
They passed out bells for all the kids….but us adults couldn’t hear them ring. I don’t get it? LOL
We had the Hobo come through and tell everyone not to tell the conductor where he was. He came back through double checking with the kids to make sure they hadn’t told. Mine thought that was hysterical, they were telling him that they did tell on him.
After we got back from our ride, we could go across the street. At the Nelsonville Commons Park they had an ice skating rink set up. They told us skate rental was free with our train ticket so the kids decided to go skating. (hint…grab their gloves out of the car before you head across the street). Here they are skating in their pajamas having a great time… was on the other hand loved standing by the fire can….warming up! lol
You can check their web site for times and dates. I do think the North Pole Express trains are sold out. But they do have Santa trains that go during the days still available. Santa comes on board and visits with the kids and give them a candy cane. Actually…. the advantage on the day trips would be that the kids could see outside during the train ride. It was dark when we went and you couldn’t see the scenery. I suggest taking a thermos of your own hot chocolate and some cookies…and the book and making it your own North Pole Express!
There is also a Winter Wine Express coming up on December 10th in the evening. Now I think that looks like a lot of fun for the adults!!
One thing I would suggest if you have little ones. Send someone on the train to get your seats and hold them for you. Keep the little ones off the train until closer to the departure time. After they have already been on the train for an hour, then the hour and half train ride gets to be a little too much for some of them. On the way back the natives were a bit restless. (But keep in mind this was at night and they couldn’t see the sites outside. During the day you might not have as much of that).
Disclosure: I was given the tickets for my family and myself to ride the North Pole Express. But the pictures, video and opinions are completely my own.
This post was originally posted on Dec 6, 2010. I wanted to bring it back so you all could enjoy.