6 Magical Christmas Train Rides in Ohio

Make some Christmas memories with a holiday train ride! Whether it’s a new holiday tradition or one you’ll continue this year, Christmas train rides are a great way to celebrate the season with your family and friends.

From the Polar Express (TM) to a Santa train ride, you’re sure for find some holiday fun near you! Plan ahead as many of these Christmas train rides fill up in advance.

1. The Santa Christmas Train Rides with Hocking Valley Scenic Railway

The Santa Train is a 40+ year annual event that you’ll want to make part of your Christmas traditions! Two trains depart the historic Nelsonville Depot, traveling round-trip to East Logan and back. Santa boards each train and visits with the children as the train makes its way through the Hocking River Valley. Your kids will love being able to hand-deliver their list to Santa! Each heated coach is decorated for the holiday season and Christmas music plays throughout the train.

Santa Train Rides begin November 28 and continue Friday – Sunday through December 20, 2020. More information found here.


2. The Polar Express (TM) at The Dennison Depot

Dress up in your jammies and hop aboard The Polar Express (TM) at the Dennison Depot.

Your adventure begins on board one of their decorated vintage coaches as Storytellers read the story aloud.   As the train heads north toward the North Pole, festive elves will entertain you with songs, games, and activities. As you travel to the North Pole enjoy a beverage and delicious cookies, specially made by Mrs. Claus just for you. When the train arrives at the North Pole, you will see Santa and his workshop out your train window (passengers do not get off the train.)   Your visit to the North Pole lasts long enough to pick up the most important person – Santa!  Once onboard, Santa will visit with children and gift them all with a special jingle bell taken from his reindeer’s harness.  When you hear the bell ring…you truly believe!

Tip:  Book your Polar Express (TM) Train Ride tickets for Fridays at 6, Saturdays at 2 or 6, Sundays at 2 or 6 and you’ll get to see the Elf Parade! Approximately 45 minutes before departure, the elves board the train and you can wave to them as they march by you!

You can even rent out an entire car for a very intimate Polar Express (TM) experience! When you rent a private car you have the additional opportunities to have Santa pass out gifts that you supply, minimal additional snacks, and the ability to seat your group as you like.

Book your 2020 Polar Express (TM) train rides for December 4 ,5, 6 and December 11,12, and 13. More information found here.


LM&M Railroad / Facebook

3. The North Pole Express from LM&M Railroad

LM&M has not announced plans for the Christmas season in 2020. They are up and running again as of the fall of 2020 (pun not intended but… funny!). Their Pumpkin Train ride tickets sold out quickly due to reduced capacity so be sure to check back often. We will update as soon as we have more information.


4. North Pole Express with Northwest Ohio Railroad Preservation

Hop aboard the North Pole Express in Findlay, Ohio. You’ll enjoy quarter scale Christmas train rides along the track that’s surrounded by festive lights and holiday decorations. Enjoy the lights on hundreds of trees and visit with Santa and Mrs. Claus on select nights. Don’t miss the toy trains that will be running inside the museum and train barn.

The North Pole Express runs Friday-Sunday from Nov. 27, 2020 through January 3, 2021. More information can be found here.


Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad

5. The Polar Express (TM) Train Ride with the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad

Everyone’s holiday favorite book and movie will come to life on The Polar Express (TM) Train Ride. Passengers will enjoy a read of the book as they travel to the North Pole. Elves will be waiting there for your arrival and you’ll pick up Santa while you’re there. On the way back home Santa will greet the passengers and is available for photos. Families are encourage to arrive in pajamas and join in on this magical Christmas train ride.

The Christmas trains will depart from both the Akron Northside Station and the Rockside Station. Tickets are online sale only and can be purchased in blocks of 4 or 6. The trains will run from Friday, November 6 through Sunday, December 20, 2020 (with no trips on Nov. 11, 25, 26). More information can be found here.


6. Letters to Santa at Ohio Railway Museum

Letters to Santa is a family friendly event for kids of all ages. And, let’s face it, a visit with Santa might just be the treat we all need this year! Take a train ride on Ohio Public Service #64, a beautiful 1925 Interurban car. Kids can write their very own letter to Santa Claus and mail it in the museum’s 1920 Railway Post Office Car. Get creative when you make your own Christmas crafts and ornaments in one of the museum’s train cars. As one of the oldest railroad museums in America, they have various trains on display – tour the cab of the Norfolk & Western #578 steam locomotive, Union Pacific #163 cab, and the CSX ‘Love Shack’ caboose.

2020 dates and details are coming soon. More information can be found here.


Here’s a quick run down of Christmas Train Rides in Ohio (in random order):

1. The Santa Christmas Train Rides with Hocking Valley Scenic Railway
2. The Polar Express (TM) at The Dennison Depot
3. The North Pole Express from LM&M Railroad
4. North Pole Express with Northwest Ohio Railroad Preservation
5. The Polar Express (TM) Train Ride with the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad
6. Letters to Santa at Ohio Railway Museum

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