The North Pole Express is set to return to Minnesota in 2021 after taking last year off due to the pandemic. Trains will depart St. Paul's Union Depot December 3-5 and 9-12 this year.

The train ride costs $25 for children 3-12, $35 for adults 13+ or up to $60 for a ticket in a first class cabin. Riders select the date and time they would like to depart, but many of the days/times are already sold out. Although tickets for kids up to two years old are free, those passengers will still need tickets.

Passengers in the "coach class" will get carhost service and entertainment, a visit from Santa, a ride to the North Pole and a holiday treat. The "first class" folks get exclusive seating, priority boarding, visit from Santa, ride to the North Pole and a holiday gift bag.

The train ride to the North Pole takes about an hour. After departing the North Pole, Santa will board the train and meet and greet all the kids on board. After the train ride, guests can check out the Union Depot European Market.

The event, which is run by volunteers, will feature a Milwaukee Road #261 steam engine on the first weekend and a "meticulously restored" Milwaukee Road #32A streamlined locomotive.

The North Pole Express website says that while masks will be recommended, they will not be required. As of now, no proof of vaccination is required to ride the North Pole Express.

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