Polar Express Returning to Oklahoma

Bill Wasinger

From the Daily Oklahoman. Posted for informational purposes only. Cut and pasted here without permission!~)

Bill in OKC

'The Polar Express' Train Ride returning to Oklahoma for 2019 holiday season

Here's some news that will be like Christmas in July for fans of a popular holiday story and experience.

Two years after leaving Oklahoma, “The Polar Express” Train Ride is chugging back into the Sooner State this holiday season. After previously boarding in Stillwater and Bristow, the immersive storybook journey is changing tracks to Oklahoma City, where it will be hosted at the Oklahoma Railway Museum, 3400 NE Grand Blvd.

The Christmas-theme train rides will depart the Oklahoma Railway Museum select dates Nov. 22-Dec. 31.

“The Polar Express” Train Ride coming to OKC is billed as an improved version of the event that previously ran in Stillwater and Bristow, with no connection to the previous operator. 

It is being produced by Rail Events Productions, in conjunction with the Oklahoma Railway Museum. The Colorado-based company also produces “The Polar Express” Train Ride events in Chicago, New Orleans, New Jersey and South Florida.

“Our event is officially licensed by Warner Bros. Consumer Products and an immersive experience led by a cast of professional actors. Tickets are on sale now and guests are encouraged to book early as we expect this popular experience will sell out quickly,” said Jamie Ryan, Marketing & Events Manager for Rail Events Incorporated, in an email to The Oklahoman.

Like the previous experience offered in Oklahoma, “The Polar Express” Train Ride offers a one-hour round-trip journey based on Chris Van Allsburg’s 1985 children's book and the 2004 computer-animated movie version. Passengers will have their golden tickets punched, be served hot chocolate by dancing chefs, meet Santa Claus, receive souvenir sleigh bells and hear the book read aloud.

Premier Rail Collection, owned and operated by Iowa Pacific Holdings, LLC, first brought “The Polar Express” Train Ride to Bristow in 2014. As previously reported, more than 35,000 people took the storybook journey in 2014 and about 46,200 people rode “The Polar Express” out of the Creek County town in 2015. 

Despite the success of the Bristow run, Watco Companies, who is the operator on the line, asked the Premier Rail Collection to relocate the Christmas rides after the holiday event made it difficult to manage freight traffic.

The seasonal ride moved to Stillwater in 2016 and experienced similar to success – followed by a similar decision by Watco Companies in 2017 to discontinue the Payne Country “Polar Express” experience to focus on its core freight business.

In 2017, Rail Events Inc., the company which licenses "The Polar Express" events, sued Iowa Pacific Holdings for unpaid royalties, according to the Trains News Wire.

Tickets are on sale for the 2019 Oklahoma City “The Polar Express” Train Ride at okcthepolarexpressride.com. 

Tickets are priced at $45 for adults and $35 for children ages 2-11 for value seats; $50 for adults and $40 for children for standard seats; and $60 for adults and $50 for children for peak passage. Additional ticketing service fees and local tax will apply.

For more information and updates, go to www.facebook.com/thepolarexpressokc.

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