This morning we bundled our pajama-clad boys into the car and headed up to Squamish to ride Canada’s only Polar Express, organized by the West Coast Railway Association.  Our boys are nutty about trains.  They were beside themselves with excitement; today was their first ride on a “real” full-sized train.  Absolute perfection to hear our boys tell the tale.

The event was wonderfully organized.  Oodles of volunteers were on hand to help with parking, offer directions, and wish everyone good morning and a Merry Christmas.  They couldn’t have been more welcoming; a fantastic first impression.  Upon arrival we headed over to the station and received our golden tickets.  Everyone cozied into the waiting lobby while the first class and caboose ticket holders boarded first.

At 9:45am we boarded the train.  The cozy red seats of the train carriage made you feel as though you had stepped right into the Polar Express movie.  At 10am on the button, the train whistle blew, “all board” was shouted across the platform and we were off.  Throughout the duration of our hour long train ride we listened to a recorded reading of the Polar Express by the wonderful Liam Neeson, sang Christmas carols, ate chocolate chip cookies and, of course, drank hot chocolate.

Adding to the magical experience were the volunteers: numerous conductors, chefs in white coats and hats and even the hobo made an appearance.  Mother Nature had been generous overnight and the sky was clear and crisp and the mountains lightly dusted in snow.  It was a beautiful train ride.

When we returned to the station we headed over to the spectacular roundhouse.  Just to see the Royal Hudson up close and personal is an experience unto itself.  The  West Coast Railway volunteers had transformed the roundhouse into Santa’s Workshop.  Santa & Mrs. Claus, a miniature train ride, crafts, food, gifts and more awaited discovery.  The roundhouse is enormous in size and despite a large crowd we never felt crowded.

Now that the new Port Mann bridge is open, the road to Squamish has been drastically improved and the snow hasn’t landed on the roads yet, it is a surprisingly quick and easy drive up from the Fraser Valley.  You will want to take your little ones to this event!  Thank you to the West Coast Railway Association for a great morning.  Tomorrow, Sunday, is their last day of the season.  If you haven’t got your tickets yet, hurry as there are still a few left.