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Ticket to Ride!

The Grand Canyon Railway Brings You to Santa's Workshop in Williams, Arizona.

The train station is decked out in holiday decor and there is a buzz in the chilly air as families wait in anticipation. Some of the groups standing about wear matching pajamas underneath their winter coats with tickets in hand. It might be odd that people would be wearing Christmas pajamas to board a train, but this is no ordinary train, this is the Polar Express! The North Pole is closer than you think and departures begin from Williams, Arizona.

All throughout the month of December, the Grand Canyon Railway offers train rides to Santa's workshop. The historic depot located very near route 66, also has a hotel on site and the Fred Harvey restaurant. During most of the year, the trains take tourists up to the Grand Canyon, but for the holidays the trains are transformed into the Polar Express. For those familiar with the book by Chris Van Allsburg written in 1985 and the subsequent film that inspired this 90-minute trip, the train and the pajamas all make sense. A boy is awakened in the middle of the night from his bed by a train right outside his home that takes him to the North Pole. The Grand Canyon Railway brings much of the spirit and experience of the tale into the ride too. As the train pulls away from the station the adventure begins! Holiday music is played and entertainment of all kinds entertains the passengers. Soon everyone is served hot cocoa and chocolate chip cookies.

As the train chugs along, outside their windows is plenty to see with different light displays and at the very end Santa's workshop and village. Naturally, Santa makes an appearance and hops on board greeting everyone. As you might expect from Santa, he stops to chat with every child in the car and diligently takes note of their Christmas wish list. Before he leaves he gifts each child a silver bell, just like the story, it is a parting gift to all those who truly believe. After all, who wouldn't believe it after an incredible journey all the way to the North Pole! Tickets can be bought online with or without a night's stay at the hotel. Trains depart for the round-trip 90-minute journey at 5:30pm and 7:30pm.

  • A train on display at the Grand Canyon Railway