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“The Polar Express”

Adirondack Scenic Railroad
Ranked #2 of 2 Tours in Utica
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: All aboard for the Adirondacks, travel through remote forests, past sparkling rivers, over bridges, tranquil ponds and streams, into the magnificent beauty of the six million acre Adirondack Park. Become a witness of nature's beauty and look out for the many animals and birds along the routes. Our train adventures offer many different scenic excursions departing from Utica's Union Station, Thendara Station near Old Forge, Saranac Lake Union Depot and Lake Placid Station. For more information on on departures or for contact information please check out our website.
Reviewed December 7, 2012

My daughter and son-in-law invited me to accompany on the Polar Express. We all had a great time – it was well done. We were fortunate to travel first class and to have Jim as our car man - what a nice man is and a great asset to the railway.

I would highly recommend spending the extra money on the upgrade to first class. We had tables and chairs rather than coach type seating, as we had to have somewhere to put our hot chocolate and cookies served by Mrs. Claus. The hot chocolate was served in a nice souvenir mug. (Coach does not get a souvenir mug and they get their hot choc and cookies in the station after the ride).

5  Thank Johneo_ca
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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103 - 107 of 142 reviews

Reviewed December 3, 2012

Definitely worth the ride. Not expensive. Take the layover so you can see the lake. Really worth the effort

This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 2, 2012

We rode the 7pm train on November 30. We rode several years now and this is always a fun time for our family. Union Station is beautiful and big and as the show begins with a crazy hobo and the elves you go right into the story.

The train by itself entertains the kids since it seems most have never rode a train and enjoy the sights and sound this old train ride offers. They played music from the movie and played a reading of the Polar Express so bring your book to follow along. The books also make for great autographs from elfs, Santa and even the hobo.

North Pole is OK - could use a little more but seems enough to convince the little skeptics. The elfs play some games, hobo sang with us and talked with the conductors. Watch out as hobo tries to wake up the kids up before the north pole.

We know that some think the trip is long (2 hours) and a train full of kids is a little too much but I think the time is just right as the kids (and adults) get sleepy towards the end (just like the story.)

My tips for the train:

Bring food - munchies, cookies, hot chocolate - they allow it and unless you are in their first class car you won't get their hot chocolate and cookies until you are back at the station at the end of your trip.

Wear Pajamas, bring a blanket and relax.

Sit on the side of the train that is facing the station for the best views of the North Pole. Although all the kids stand up and head to that side anyway.

Tie your gift (bell) that you will receive to your ticket through the punched hole. This helps with not losing the bell since they fall so easily and you see people looking under seats for them.

Bring your letter to Santa and the kids can give it to him.

God bless and always remember the reason for the season.

13  Thank adirondacks14
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 29, 2012

As a railfan who travels just to take rides like this I have to say I was somewhat disappointed. The territory they go through just isn't that interesting. Some nice vistas since I was there when the leaves were changing colors, but only a few. The first part is just traveling through suburbia. Once they get into the Adirondack State Park it's a bit more scenic, but just doesn't compare to other rides I've taken. The coaches are sealed window, although there is one box car with open portals so you can feel the outside and get better photos.

I just did a simple trip where they go up into the park, turn and come back. There are some other options available, including getting off partway for a restaurant while the train continues and picks you up for the return trip.

Kids may like the excitement of being on a train: there were plenty of them on my trip. Towards the end they seemed to tire out.

The staff was certainly friendly and accomodating. I believe many are volunteers. They have a car selling snacks and train themed stuff for the kids. I think it wonderful that they are trying to make a train attraction work, but I just didn't find it a great ride.

Utica Union Station is a great building, well restored, but you can see that on your own.

Thank ral338
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 25, 2012

It's been a couple years since I rode the Adirondack RR but the trip was worth it just to experience the Utica RR station....which is beautiful. Nice ride to Thendara but the scenery doesn't really pick up until beyond Forestport. Don't expect wide open vistas of the Adirondacks. Plenty of trees on either side of the tracks and then some very nice views of the Moose River as you near Thendara. School buses meet you in Thendara for a short drive to Old Forge and approximately 4 hrs to do as you please.

2  Thank kayofcny
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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