November 10, 2004

A movie theater isn’t the only place to experience the Polar Express this holiday season. Grand Canyon Railway will run its own Polar Express Nov. 12 through Dec. 22.

Based on the popular children’s book by Chris Vall Allsburg, the train will depart 6:30 p.m. from the Williams Depot in downtown Williams. During the one-hour ride to and from the "North Pole" (aka 15 miles north of Williams), children clad in pajamas will sip hot cocoa and snack on cookies and listen to a special reading of the story. Upon arriving at the North Pole, Santa Claus will board and present each child with a gift.

The Polar Express train, now in its fourth year of operation, is already a holiday tradition for many East Valley families.

"Everything is so fastpaced, especially at Christmastime," says Chandler resident Shontel Edwards, whose family is planning a second trip on the Polar Express. "We don’t have the time to sit and relax as a family. This is something the kids are going to remember."

An estimated 40,000 people are expected to ride the train this year, says Charlie Zuercher, public relations manager for Grand Canyon Railway. Reservations are required. As of this writing, 3,000 tickets are left.

Overnight accommodations are available with the Polar Express Package. The $219 package covers a family of four and includes the train ride, an overnight stay at the Grand Canyon Railway Hotel, dinner and breakfast at the hotel restaurant and a $10 gift certificate for each adult.

Ride the Polar Express

What: One-hour train ride departing Williams for the "North Pole"

When: 6:30 p.m. Friday, Saturday, Nov. 19, 20 and Dec. 2-6, Dec. 9-13, and Dec. 16-22

Where: Williams Depot, downtown Williams

Cost: $20 adults, $8 children

Information: Reservation required. (800) 843-8724 or

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