North Pole Express FAQs

How many full-car orders do you accept, in general before individual sales begin?

Will all of the weekend tickets be gone before individual ticket sales begin?

We sell a limited number of full cars (coach and first class) to passengers seeking to purchase tickets for employees, large families or groups. We do not completely sell out any specific departure or ticket class prior to individual tickets going on sale; in fact, we decline many full-car orders for popular departure weekends so that individual ticket sales are available.

Is seating assigned or general admission?

North Pole Express tickets are assigned by car, both Coach and First Class; you MUST purchase all tickets on one order to be sure that your party is assigned the same car.

What is the process for purchasing tickets?


Full-car purchases are available first, via telephone only, beginning on Tuesday, September 14; first class individual tickets are released and can be purchased online beginning Friday, September 17; coach class tickets are released and can be purchased online beginning Friday, September 17.

Tips for purchasing tickets:

If you are purchasing tickets for multiple families or a small group, ensure the availability of the entire group prior. All sales are final and no refunds will be issued. We encourage you to have multiple dates and times ready in case your first choice is not available. Please remember, to be assigned seats on the same train car, all tickets MUST be purchased on one order.

Tickets placed into your Shopify “Shopping Cart” are not considered to be reserved. Only when Payment has been accepted and a confirmation emailed are your tickets secured. Please understand that due to heavy sales volume on the ticket-release days, the Shopify site may experience a slower “refresh” process which, in turn, may cause seats to temporarily appear available at the same time they are actually being purchased by another customer.

Tickets will not be available for purchase in person at Essex Station. We have a limited staff working from the same computer systems as those purchasing online, and we do not set aside tickets for in-person or walk-up sales. Online customers can purchase tickets from home far faster than we could ever process orders in person.

All sales are final and tickets are non-refundable.

How will I receive my tickets?


Beginning Friday, November 5, tickets will be mailed to the address provided on your order. Please make sure to open the envelope once it arrives to review your tickets and any important updated event information. Tickets purchased within a short window of time between day of purchase and day of event will be held for pick-up at the onsite ticket window.

What do I need to know about arriving and parking?

Boarding will begin approximately 10 minutes before your excursion time. We suggest arriving at least 30 minutes prior to departure to allow for parking (1 Railroad Avenue, Essex, CT). Trains depart on time and cannot be held for late arrivals. Unfortunately, there are no refunds or exchanges. The Essex Steam Train & Riverboat is not responsible for travel delays caused by accidents, road closures, road constructions, weather, etc.

How does weather affect the schedule of Christmas trains?

Trains operate during all weather conditions, but we reserve the right to postpone or cancel any train ride in extreme situations. Otherwise, your ticket is considered valid for the date and time on the ticket. All postponements or cancelations will be posted on our Facebook page and website home page by 9:00 am on the day of the scheduled excursion.

Purchase North Pole Express Tickets (Starting Sept. 14)