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

For 2015, Polar Express™ will be offered on nine dates over four weekends in late November and early December.

  • Saturday, November 14, 2015;
  • Friday, November 20; Saturday, November 21, 2015;
  • Friday, November 27, Saturday, November 28, and Sunday, November 29, 2015;
  • Friday, December 4 and Saturday, December 5, 2015.

Train times vary by date, but the basic times are 4:30, 6:00, and 7:30 PM. The train ride is approximately an hour in length.

Who needs a ticket?

Anyone 2 years of age or 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 do I board the train?

All Polar Express™ trips board at the Museum's Wabash Depot in downtown Monticello. The depot is located at 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 a round trip of approximately an hour in length.

Will I get to meet the conductor of the train?

Yes, the train's conductor 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 Hall, located across the parking lot from the Wabash Depot, 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 Monticello?

There are two hotels in Monticello:

  • The Best Western Monticello Gateway Inn is located at the Market Street / IL 105 exit (exit 166) on Interstate 72, 2.2 miles north of the Wabash Depot. Contact the Best Western via the chain’s website at, or by calling 217-762-9436.
  • The Foster Inn is a family-owned motel located 1.3 miles north of the Wabash Depot. The Foster Inn can be reached via their website at, or by calling 217-762-9835.

Do you keep a wait list for sold out trains?

Sorry, we do not keep a wait list.

What is the inclement weather policy?

If you are unable to attend because the Illinois State Police close the highways due to weather conditions, we will issue refunds. Otherwise, the trains will run.