Polar Express Train Rides and Christmas Trains in New England 2023

Polar Express trains are coming to towns all over New England for Christmas 2023! Photo courtesy of the Cape Cod Central Railroad
Polar Express trains are coming to towns all over New England for Christmas 2023! Photo courtesy of the Cape Cod Central Railroad
10/20/23 - By Jennifer Coe

The Polar Express is coming, so all aboard for classic Christmas trains in New England! Seasonal trains are boarding and heading off on the track where kids drink hot chocolate (and eat cookies), sing songs, and see Mr. and Mrs. Santa. Holiday trains in Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and Connecticut are already selling tickets (and selling out!) for special seasonal rides. These Christmas trains are a great way to kick-off your holiday season. 

Bookmark our our events calendars in Boston and Connecticut to stay updated on family holiday events during the 2023 holiday season and keeping check our Holiday and Christmas Activities Guide to make the most of your holiday calendar.   


Polar Express Train Rides and Christmas Trains in Connecticut

Photo of Christmas trolley-Polar Express Train Rides and Christmas Trains 
Connecticut's Christmas trains are ready to roll for 2023! Photo courtesy of the Connecticut Trolley Museum

1. Trolley Museum Winterfest and Tunnel of Lights – East Windsor
November 20, 2023 - December 30, 2023

Start your family tradition at the Connecticut Trolley Museum. You can ride in a closed or open "electric sleigh," singing Christmas carols while cruising through the “Tunnel of Lights.” The Visitors Center is transformed into a Winter Wonderland for this annual event. Enjoy model trains, decorations, and holiday music. You may even get a visit with Santa Claus himself!

2. Essex Steam Train [SOLD OUT]— Essex
November 17, 2023 - December 23, 2023

The ever-popular Essex North Pole Express train ride is back for the 2023 holiday season! It's arguably one of the most popular Polar Express holiday train rides in the country and certainly in the Northeast, so we expect tickets to sell out fast. Tickets are for sale online only this year, with no phone or in-person sales. Partial and full car tickets are available starting Tuesday, September 12, 2023 at 9am.

Photo of family on Santa's lap - Polar Express Train Rides and Christmas Trains 
Apparently Santa's lap can accommodate a family of four. Photo courtesy of the Shore Line Trolley Museum

3. Shoreline Trolley Winter Wonderland — East Haven
November 24, 2023 - December 23, 2023

Visit the Shoreline Trolley Museum on weekends for some holiday cheer! Take a ride and visit with Santa. Cookies and cocoa are included, as well as plenty of photo-ops. To make the evening extra special, all children will receive a small gift from Santa. Evening rides become a festive wonderland with beautiful holiday lights. Reservations are required as this is one of the most affordable events.

Polar Express Train Rides and Christmas Trains in Massachusetts

Photo of young lady on Cape Cod Christmas Train. 
Hop on Cape Cod's Christmas train for a festive ride filled with good cheer! Photo courtesy of the Cape Cod Central Railroad

4. The Train to Christmas Town — Buzzards Bay, Massachusetts  
November 24, 2023 - December 21, 2023

Aboard Cape Cod Central Railroad at Christmastime, dancing chefs serve warm cocoa and a chocolate chip cookie to each passenger. After the train rolls into the North Pole, Santa boards with his elves and gives each child a shiny silver bell while the elves lead a merry sing-along. If you can score a seat in the Premium Class, you get extra-special views, and an additional keepsake to take home. 

Polar Express Train Rides and Christmas Trains in Rhode Island

Photo of a conductor and passengers from Polar Express Train Rides. 
The conductors are ready for those Polar Express train tickets. Photo courtesy of the Blackstone Valley Polar Express

5. The Polar Express Train Ride - Blackstone Valley — Woonsocket, Rhode Island
November 10, 2023 - December 18, 2023

The hugely popular Blackstone Valley Polar Express Train, complete with different style cars, is a 3-hour adventure. The ride is filled with Christmas carols, a reading of "The Polar Express," and (of course) hot chocolate and treats before the visit from Santa. Arrive early for outdoor photo opportunities with the elves. 

Polar Express Train Rides and Christmas Trains in New Hampshire

6. Santa Express Train — Lincoln, New Hampshire 
November 24, 2023 - December 23, 2023

Santa Express Trains depart Hobo Junction Station for 80-minute Christmas train rides. Passengers enjoy chocolate milk and cookies while children complete a letter to Santa. Then, Santa visits and gives every young child a special gift. Reservations are required and must be purchased online.

Photo of boy with Santa at Christmas Train Rides in New England. 
If you're lucky, you might get the first gift of the season! Photo courtesy of the Believe in Books Literacy Foundation

7. Journey to the North Pole — North Conway and Lincoln, New Hampshire
November 24, 2023 - December 23, 2023

During a 2-hour adventure through the White Mountains, kids enjoy treats and see Santa. They also  explore his workshop and meet his elves. Children with first-class or upper dome tickets may receive a special gift on the return trip back. Learn more and access tickets on the Believe in Books Literacy Foundation website, which is the sponsor of the fundraiser.

Polar Express and Christmas Trains in Maine

Photo of Holiday Express Christmas Train in Portland, Maine. 
Get that much closer to the North Pole with a Maine Christmas train ride! Photo courtesy the Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad Company and Museum 

8. Holiday Express — Portland, Maine
November 24, 2023 - December 23, 2023

The 10 historic coaches from the Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad, decked out for the holidays, are a Maine tradition. Passengers will listen to Christmas music and wave Santa off on his sleigh as they travel to and from the North Pole. First-class passengers will receive a souvenir mug and a grab bag. 



Updated 10-2023

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