Polar Express returns Nov. 9

PAJAMAS ARE encouraged aboard “The Polar Express,” renew-ing its Christmas-themed travels starting Nov. 9 at Mount Hood Railroad.

One of the region’s most classic attractions has announced the return of a holiday tradition: Mount Hood Railroad brings back The Polar Express for two magical months. The Polar Express will transport riders to the North Pole and into the holiday spirit during the popular Hood River event.

The Polar Express begins its enchanting excursions Nov. 9, continuing through Dec. 29. The train departs the historic Mount Hood Railroad Depot in downtown Hood River.

To fill the season’s first excursion with the proper Christmas spirit, the Mount Hood Railroad has invited children from The Next Door to experience The Polar Express. Like every rider, they will enjoy a journey that channels the popular Christmas story with appearances from well-known characters and familiar activities throughout the ride.

As The Polar Express train makes its magical journey through the Hood River area, dubbed the “North Pole” during the winter months, riders will participate in a reading of the classic book by Chris Van Allsburg, meet Santa and enjoy a variety of holiday favorites, like caroling and hot cocoa. Riders are encouraged to wear pajamas.

“The Polar Express is a joy to recreate,” said Ron Kaufman, MHRR general manager. “Seeing the look on every child’s face as they board the train in anticipation is really what the holiday season is about. We look forward to this every year.”

The Polar Express tickets are available in Upper Dome, Lower Dome, Parlor Car and Coach seating classes. Upper Dome, Lower Dome and Parlor riders receive a commemorative The Polar Express mug and each child is also given a special bell, which according to the story, can only be heard by those who believe in Santa Claus and the spirit of Christmas.

Reservations are available by visiting mthoodrr.com and by calling 800-872-4661.

Hot ‘Hobo’s Stew’ for sale

Mount Hood Railroad’s Hobo’s Kitchen, which opens in early November, will offer Hobo’s Stew, Conductor Chili and other holiday-themed dishes aboard two vintage rail dining cars beginning Nov. 9 — the opening day of the railroad’s popular The Polar Express train rides.

All meals come with a beverage, bread and a cookie, all for $8 or less. Soft drinks, beer and wine will also be served.

Hobo’s Kitchen will be open throughout the Nov. 9 to Dec. 29 schedule and is open to the public. Passengers can enjoy a meal discount when they bring their boarding pass.

The restaurant’s hours will follow The Polar Express schedule. It is located near the Hood River Depot at 110 Railroad Ave. in downtown Hood River.

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