Monticello Railway Museum
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The Polar Express™ Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Friday, November 14; Saturday, November 15;
Friday, November 21; Saturday, November 22;
Friday, November 28; Saturday, November 29; Sunday, November 30;
Friday, December 5; and Saturday, December 6, 2014;
train times are 4:30, 6:00, and 7:30 PM (varying per day)

Polar Express™ is sold out for 2014. In spite of the addition of several extra trains with several thousand seats, strong demand for this popular event means that some of our valued guests will be disappointed that they didn't get tickets.

Tickets for Polar Express 2015 go on sale June 6 (the first Saturday in June) at 8:00 AM Central Time.

Who needs a ticket?

Anyone 2 and older will need a ticket. Those under 2 are required to sit on a lap.

Where are my tickets?

Your tickets will be ready for pickup at the depot in downtown Monticello at 4:00 PM the day of your train. Please arrive at least 30 minutes before your departure to ensure time to pick up tickets and board the train. All seats on the train are assigned.

Where is the depot?

200 E Livingston, Monticello, Il.

Why should my children dress in their pajamas?

In the story, all the children taking this magical train ride are awakened from their beds on Christmas Eve. Join the fun by bringing your children in their pajamas too. Adults are also welcome to join the PJ party fun.

If I haven't read the book or seen the movie will I still have a good time?

Yes, you can read along or just listen as we read the storybook on our train ride to the North Pole. If you have read the book or seen the movie you will feel like you've just stepped off the pages as we recreate the story with your child as a part of the cast.

How long is the train ride?

The train ride is 60 minutes per round trip.

Will I get to meet the conductor of the train?

Yes, he will call 'All Aboard' when the train is ready to leave the station and he will punch your train ticket during the trip.

Will my child get to meet Santa personally?

Yes. Santa will board the train at the North Pole and give a sleigh bell to each child during the return trip.

Will there be other things to do at the train station?

Yes, at the VFW you will find children's games and activities, food and drinks available for purchase at Mrs. Claus' Kitchen, and holiday gift ideas at Santa's Gift Shop.

Are there hotels in town?

There are two hotels in Monticello. The Best Western Gateway Inn is located on the frontage road on the way to the Museum. There is also a family owned motel called Fosters. It is located about a half a mile away on the road into downtown.

Foster Inn has a website –, and can be reached by phone at 217-762-9835. The Best Western can be accessed via the chain’s website at, or by calling 217-762-9436

Do you keep a wait list for sold out trains?

Sorry, we do not keep a wait list.

What is the inclement weather policy?

Our policy regarding refunds is that if the State Police close the highways, we will issue refunds. Otherwise, the trains will run.