All aboard! Riders and volunteers enjoy Polar Express rail experience

By Adam Zirkelbach

The popular Christmas story and film, The Polar Express, has inspired a real life train ride to the north pole.

The Polar Express is about a young boy who loses hope in Christmas but after an unforgettable train ride and a night in the north pole, finds new hope and belief.

In Elkins, the Durbin & Greenbrier Valley Railroad partnered with Rail Events Inc. to bring the Polar Express train ride to West Virginia. Trips to the north pole begin as early as November 8th and run through December 16th.

In 2014, over 15,000 people rode the Polar Express train in Elkins. Families travel from far and wide because it is the only Polar Express ride in the Mid- Atlantic region according to West Virginia Public Broadcasting.

In an article written by Rachel Whetstone, November 23, 2016, she wrote that tickets, after only 3 weekends, were completely sold out and to start planning for net year.

But this is more than just an attraction that brings in money from all around, it is an opportunity for a community to get involved and spread holiday cheer.

Lexi Elliot, the Greek Life and Community Engagement Coordinator, encouraged organizations on campus to go volunteer at the event.

Kennedy Rankin, President of Zeta Eta Theta at Alderson Broaddus, took four of her sisters to volunteer for the Polar Express train ride.

Rankin said “we really enjoyed helping out with the Polar Express train ride. Not only did we have a great time dressing up and playing elf’s but the kids looked like they were having the night of their lives. That alone is what made the night worth it.”

They were not the only ones to take something away from this. After the train ride is over, the passengers leave with their own golden ticket, cocoa mug and silver bell.

For more information about ticket prices, dates and details visit

“Just remember, the true spirit of Christmas lies in your heart” – Santa Claus.

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