Polar Express & Santa Train 2023 | Whimsical Indiana Holiday Train Rides

Looking for holiday trains in Indy that remind you of the Polar Express for the 2023 holiday season? We’ve been trying all the holiday trains in Indiana for some time, and we’re not even done yet! If we missed your favorite, let us know in the comments at the end. There are also a lot of other Indiana train rides and train activities near Indianapolis.

Be sure to book your Christmas train tickets as soon as you can when tickets go on sale! These experiences are extremely popular and often sell out quickly.

2023 Christmas Train Rides in Indiana

Our favorite time of year is winter and Christmas time! We live for bundled-up walks in the snow, hot chocolate, making memories, and feeling all the holiday love in the air. One of our favorite things to do during Christmas in Indy is to take a special ride on a train. There are tons of trains running through Central Indiana, and if you’re lucky, you’ll get to ride a train with the big guy in the red suit!

Oh, and because we know how important the details are for our readers, we’ve included the important stuff below. For more info, be sure to click the link to be taken to information about our visit, the event website, and photos and videos!

Sullivan Express

Sullivan Hardware and Garden
6955 N Keystone Ave, Indianapolis

The Sullivan Express (small, trackless train) will take you and your family on a memorable trip to see Santa at the North Pole! Travel through the outdoor garden center at Sullivan’s Hardware store. It’s been set up to be the perfect winter wonderland.

Try these Polar Express or Santa-themed holiday train rides in Indiana.

When the train arrives, your family will be seated together in one car. The short train ride is open-air, so be sure to dress for the weather!  After leaving the station, the narrated train ride will travel through bear country, where you’ll encounter some friendly bears doing some rather unusual things. Upon your arrival at the North Pole, the kids can play in Santa’s workshop as your family takes turns visiting with Kris Kringle himself.

2023 tickets go on sale on November 1 at 4 pm. Seating is limited. The cost is $65-75 per train car, which fits approximately 4 adults and 2 children, or a similar combination depending on ages and sizes. Tickets should be purchased in advance.

If your child is more interested in the train ride than meeting Santa (or if the traditional ride is sold out), guests also have the option of taking the Santa’s Outpost excursion. This ride is the same as the traditional version, but instead of disembarking at the North Pole, guests remain in the cars and Santa comes out to deliver cookies and take selfies. As a bonus, this ride comes at a discount: just $40 per car.

Reindeer Express

Nickel Plate Express
825 Forest Park Drive, Noblesville

Hop aboard the Nickel Plate Express Christmas Reindeer Ride, departing from Forest Park in Noblesville, Indiana! Guests will take a cozy 75-minute ride in the caboose to see Santa’s North Pole, while enjoying a cookie, listening to a holiday story, and singing carols! Kids will also be able to visit and take photos with Santa. Beverages and snacks are available to purchase on the train. There will also be a brief stop at Santa’s Workshop to enjoy.

Standard tickets are sold in pairs for $105. Children under three may ride for free on a parent’s lap, and premium seating options are available for an additional cost.

Try these Polar Express or Santa-themed holiday train rides in Indiana.

The Polar Express Train Ride

Whitewater Valley Railroad
455 Market St., Connersville

Board the Polar Express at Grand Central Station in Connersville to pick up Santa Claus at the North Pole. Once on board, Santa will come and visit with each child on the train to give them the special first gift of Christmas. Hot chocolate and cookies are served on board by dancing chefs, and the sounds from the hit movie Polar Express will be heard. Your golden tickets will also be punched, for some added Christmas spirit, just like in the story.

2023 event dates will be November 10-12, 17-19, 24-26, and December 1-3, 8-10, 15, and 16.

The train ride is 1 1/2 – 2 hours long.

Tickets are on sale now online or by calling the Whitewater Valley Railroad Grand Central Station. Tickets are $45 per person, ages 2 and up.  You’ll also find information about the $10 Santa Claus Limited Train Rides.

Polar Express Train Ride

French Lick Scenic Railway
8594 W. State Road 56, French Lick

The 2023 French Lick Scenic Railway Polar Express is sold out. Tickets for 2024 will go on sale in early January 2024.

Take a magical journey on the Polar Express, departing from French Lick, Indiana, while experiencing sights and sounds from the classic book and film. Just like the movie, cocoa and cookies are served by dancing chefs and guests enjoy a read-aloud of Chris Van Allsburg’s tale. Later, Santa makes his rounds through the train, delivering the first gift of Christmas – a silver sleigh bell for each child.

The ride lasts approximately 80 minutes. Pricing varies by date and seating class, but tickets begin at $35 per person ages 2 and up.

Santa Train

The Indiana Railroad Company
Various Locations

The 2023 Santa Train runs from December 1-3! This volunteer-run event is a crowd favorite for those who have been coming for years. You will get to watch the decorated train roll into the station, after visiting with Santa’s helpers ahead of time. You will also have the opportunity to mail your letter to Santa through the North Pole’s Express Mailbox.

The stops on December 1 include Bargersville, Morgantown, and Helmsburg. On December 2, the train will be stopping in Solsberry, Bloomfield, Linton, Dugger, and Jasonville. Final stops on December 3 will mainly be in Illinois, with the final stop of the day in Sullivan, Indiana. This is a FREE event for all, but we highly recommend getting in line early!  It’s a crowd favorite!

Please note that at the stop in Bargersville only, guests will NOT board the train for Santa visits.

Christmas Train

Fort Wayne Railroad Historical Society
1469 West Main Street, Pleasant Lake

The Christmas Train in New Haven runs two consecutive weekends beginning December 8 and ending December 17. Guests can explore Santa’s railroad workshop before boarding the train and enjoying a 1.5 hour, carol-filled ride with Santa himself on board. Coffee and treats are available for sale on board.

This train ride starts at $35 per ticket for children 3-17 ticket and kids 3 and under ride for free. Tickets must be purchased in advance. Plan ahead- they do sell out!

Santa Train

Hoosier Valley Railroad Museum
507 Mulberry Street, North Judson

The Santa Trains are back this year, operating four times daily on November 25, and December 2, 9, 16, and 23.  Times are 9 am, 11 am, 1 pm, and 3 pm. Tickets are free for ages 2 and under, $20 for ages 3-15, and $25 for adults (ages 16 and up). Your ticket includes a 60-70 minute ride, a visit with Santa, and a gift bag for each child onboard.

Find all Indy Christmas events here.

We love the massive model train layout at Mr. Muffin’s Trains.

Don’t miss Jingle Rails at the Eiteljorg Museum.

8 thoughts on “Polar Express & Santa Train 2023 | Whimsical Indiana Holiday Train Rides”

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