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The holiday express 62b9a330

The Holiday Express

Since its publication in 1985, The Polar Express has become a classic Christmas story. The 2004 remake of the beloved book brought the story and characters to life, and gathering with the family to rewatch the movie has become a holiday tradition. Children and children at heart can now take this tradition a step further by living the magical train ride themselves. The Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad Co. & Museum (MNGRR) began hosting the Holiday Express in 2019 and plans to safely bring back the same fun and excitement this year.

What is the Holiday Express

The Holiday Express is ready to take families and friends on a magical train ride. The fun begins at Maine Narrow Gauge’s Outdoor Boarding Platform in Portland. From here, your train’s conductor will guide you onto one of the ten beautiful and historic train coaches that have been extravagantly decorated for the holidays. The coaches will be full of Christmas spirit and Christmas music as you make your journey to the “North Pole.” Keep a close eye on the windows because you just might catch a glimpse of Santa getting his sleigh and presents ready for Christmas night.

Dates, Tickets, and COVID Protocols

The Holiday Express will be embarking on its northern journey every weekend from now until Christmas, as well as the three days prior to Christmas Eve. Tickets are required and can be purchased online for only $30 or $45 for first-class seating. All parties aboard the train will be safely distanced at least six feet apart. In compliance with Maine’s mask mandate, all traveler’s to the “North Pole” must wear a face-covering throughout their journey.


Unfortunately, food and drink will not be served on the train this year. MNGRR understands that a Christmas train ride isn’t complete without a warm cup of cocoa, so they are inviting their guests to visit Navis Cafe across the street from the train station, where warm drinks, snacks, and meals can be enjoyed.

If your train ride is earlier in the day, enjoy their delicious brunch items such as the creative Lox of Love with cold-smoked salmon, red onion, fresh greens, capers, dill cream cheese. Or, keep to simple with their aptly named wicked simple bagel. They also have an array of hot and cold sandwiches, such as the Casco Bay Cubano and the lobastah roll. Little ones can order off the Little Skippers menu, and grown-ups can enjoy a pre-train ride beer or glass of wine.


Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad Co. & Museum is a nonprofit educational organization that started in 1992. The museum welcomes over 55,000 visitors annually, and its mission is to educate the public and preserve historic equipment related to Maine’s railroads, specifically Maine’s unique two-foot gauge railways.

Starting in the late 1800s, the state of Maine began building very unique railroads with rails that were only two feet apart. These were the smallest narrow gauge common carrier railroads in the United States, and they were used to transport people from Maine’s sprawling rural outskirts to larger cities. These railroads were an important part of the economic development of Central Maine.

-Written by Stacy Oswald