By Sarah Naron

Messenger Reporter

PALESTINE – If you have yet to experience the magic and wonderful of the North Pole, fret not! The Texas State Railroad (TSRR)’s Palestine Depot is giving “kids from one to 92” plenty more opportunities to don their coziest Christmas PJ’s and hop aboard for a magical evening of fun for the whole family.

“Polar Express is going strong, and we are very proud of the ridership so far,” said Teresa A. Propeck, TSRR’s Vice President of Passenger Services. “We have already sold over 50,000 tickets and still have 16 days of train rides to go.”

According to Propeck, this year’s event kicked off with charity train rides for less fortunate children throughout the East Texas area held Tuesday, Nov. 7 and Thursday, Nov. 9. “For profit” rides began Saturday, Nov. 11 and will continue through Wednesday, Dec. 27.

“I can’t tell you how proud we are to be carrying on this East Texas tradition,” Propeck said of the railroad’s involvement with the event. “The smiles on the children’s faces is why we do this.”

Parents are encouraged to purchase a copy of the official “Polar Express™” book for their child upon making their reservations for the event. The book will be gift-wrapped and presented to the child as their first present of the season, and the child will have the opportunity to read along with the Coco Chefs aboard the train during the journey.

Three choices of seating are available for riders, with the most prestigious being the Presidential Car. With room to accommodate 24 passengers, the exclusive car also boasts cookies and hot chocolate in keepsake Polar Express mugs. First Class offers parties of four the opportunity to enjoy table-top seating, hot chocolate served in Polar Express mugs and cookies. Guests with coach seats will ride in Pullman-style seating and enjoy large viewing windows while also being served hot chocolate and cookies.

Ticket prices range from $20 to $100 and include the train ride, one hot chocolate, one sugar cookie and a golden ticket. Children seated in all classes will receive a silver sleigh bell.

Each round-trip train ride is approximately one hour long. Departure times vary by date.

For more information, including a schedule for the remainder of the season and a link to purchase tickets, please visit www.texasstaterailroad.net.

Sarah Naron may be reached via email at snaron@messenger-news.com.