Santa finally arrives once the Polar Express reaches the North Pole with 340 passengers onboard. (Lisa Joy/Black Press)

Polar Express takes passengers on magical ride to North Pole

More than 10,000 passengers board Polar Express in Stettler this season

The magical Polar Express arrives in Stettler Dec. 16 to take 340 passengers from all over Canada to the North Pole.

So far this Christmas, almost 10,000 passengers have taken the Polar Express. This is the third year for Stettler’s Polar Express. Alberta Prairie Railway in Stettler has rights to re-enact Tom Hanks fantasy/adventure Christmas classic The Polar Express.

Longtime Stettler resident Norma Leslie rode the Polar Express.

“I haven’t been on the Polar Express before,” she said, adding she really wanted to experience the ride.

A family from Fort Saskatchewan took their parents from New Brunswick.

“We heard good things about it and the kids like the music,” said Carol Cooper who rode the train with her husband Ken and their two children, along with Carol’s mom and Ken’s parent’s.

While the Polar Express made the round trip to the North Pole, Artistic Director Rhonda Gillrie and other staff served up hot chocolate and cookies and read stories to the children.

READ MORE: Stettler’s Prairie Steam Tours takes passengers back in time to the Wild West

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A hobo on the Polar Express pretends to be Santa Claus - until he is discovered by Rhonda Gillrie not to be the ‘real’ Santa. The part of the hobo is played by Joe Gendre. (Lisa Joy/Black Press)

Onboard the Polar Express Head Chef and Artistic Director Rhonda Gillrie reads a story to children Dec. 16. (Lisa Joy/Black Press)

A family reunion aboard the Polar Express. Family from New Brunswick visit family in Alberta and everyone enjoys a Polar Express ride Dec. 16 in Stettler. From left, seated, Melissa with her daughter on her lap, second left is Melissa’s mom Lois Budrow from Fort Saskatchewan, Carol and Ken Cooper from New Brunswick. On Carol’s lap is Maria Cooper. Far right is Jeff Cooper. The Coopers are from Fort Saskatchewan. (Lisa Joy/Black Press)

Santa’s helper, elf Claire Satre. (Lisa Joy/Black Press)

Right: Stettler resident, since 1973, Norma Leslie rides the Polar Express for the first time. (Lisa Joy/Black Press)

Top: A crowd waits to board the Polar Express in Stettler on Dec. 16. Two trains left, one at 4:30 and another at 6:30. Both trips were sold out with 340 passengers onboard. (Lisa Joy/Black Press)

Polar Express chefs Kira Johnson and Bailey Strandquist. (Lisa Joy/Black Press)

Lindsay Deboer and Phoenix enjoy hot chocolate on the Polar Express Dec. 16. (Lisa Joy/Black Press)

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