Daily Progress, Jacksonville, TX

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November 10, 2013

Polar Express: The 'Magic Of Christmas'

• The delightful children's book comes to life on a Texas State Railroad jaunt!

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PALESTINE —

Neeson's classic voice almost hits the same, soothing notes as Danny Kaye in 1952 musical film Hans Christian Anderson. And remember, parents, becoming “the pajama people” is very important to the youngsters.

So adults and children both are encouraged to wear matching pajamas as they take the ride. A dome car will be part of Polar Express again this year. These double decker passenger rail cars offer a fantastic experience on the lower level.

Additionally, "special winter wonderland-themed decorations and larger windows are the highlights of the upper seating area, 16-feet above the rails.," according to a news release. By the way, the Texas State Railroad itself is considered a "Texas Treasure" in its own right — offering 25-mile steam train ride through East Texas piney woods and boarded at Victorian-style depots in Palestine and Rusk.

So the Polar Express is a very popular ride on a very popular railroad. The Texas State Railroad's Facebook following has literally doubled in the past year or so, according to reports. During the magical ride, passengers will ultimately arrive at the "North Pole," where Santa Claus and his dancing elves will be waiting. Boarding the train to distribute gifts, Santa and the Elves make their presence indicative of everything a child appreciates about Christmas.

To top the experience off, the train return home will be graced by magnificent Christmas caroling. This year's seventh annual ride runs Nov. 15 through Dec. 30. Tickets are currently on sale. Special school runs are scheduled for December 4, 5, 11 and 12 at 10 a.m. and 12 p.m.

"It is a very special, memorable train ride for families to enjoy together," Railroad Spokeswoman Janet Gregg explained in the news release. “Last year we sold nearly 44,000 tickets during the six weeks of Polar Express, and had visitors from 35 states and three countries,”

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