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Ohio trains offer Polar Express fun

The volunteers at The Hocking Valley Scenic Railway in Nelsonville, Ohio, hope that everyone is staying safe by wearing a mask and practicing social distancing.

On Thanksgiving Weekend in November, Santa trains start the holiday season. Santa will board the train and talk with the children as the train proceeds to Logan and back. These trains sell out very quickly so reserve a spot early at www.hvsry.org and check the times and rates.

The last train of the season is the New Year’s Eve Special. It leaves the depot at 10:30 pm. The train is divided into two sections. One section for adults 21 and over where wine and cheese and other snacks are served. The second section is for families where pizza, soda, and water are served. At Midnight there is a fireworks display to ring in the New Year.

While riding the trains, everyone is asked to wear a mask and practice social distancing.

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The Dennison Railroad Depot Museum in Dennison, Ohio, will once again run the ever popular Polar Express train rides this December with the support of the Genesee and Wyoming Railroad on December 4-6 and December 11-13. Tickets are currently on sale. The Museum will be following all local and state health guidelines including those listed below to ensure a safe event for all passengers, volunteers, and staff.

This train ride, based upon the award winning book “The Polar Express” by Chris Van Allsburg, takes families on a magical Christmas journey aboard a train headed for the North Pole to pick up Santa. The experience includes delicious cookies and milk, games, Christmas characters, visits with Polar Express characters such as the Conductor and Polar Express Chef…and of course, the reading of the story. The hour and a half train ride will stop at its destination – The North Pole, festively decorated, where Santa will be waiting at his Workshop. On the way back from the North Pole, Santa Claus will visit with each child and present them a silver sleigh bell from his reindeers’ harness.

The Specific Schedule is as follows:

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The Polar Express Train Excursions Depart on:

* Friday, Dec. 4 at 6 p.m. and 8 p.m.

* Saturday, Dec. 5 at 2 p.m., 4 p.m., 6 p.m. and 8 p.m.

* Sunday, Dec. 6 at 2 p.m., 4 p.m., 6 p.m. and 8 p.m.

* Friday, Dec. 11 at 6 p.m. and 8 p.m.

* Saturday, Dec. 12 at 2 p.m., 4 p.m., 6 p.m. and 8 p.m.

* Sunday, Dec. 13 at 2 p.m., 4 p.m., 6 p.m. and 8 p.m.

Ticket prices for the Polar Express are as follows:

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Polar Express Tickets:

* Coach tickets are $52 each.

* Deluxe tickets are $62 each.

* First Class are $72 each.

* Children under 1 are free.

All tickets have a $3 per ticket processing fee.

Full car rentals are available.

Tickets can be purchased from the Dennison Railroad Depot Museum by calling 740.922.6776 during normal business hours which are Tuesday through Friday 9 to 5 p.m., Saturday 11 to 4 p.m. and Sunday 11 to 3 p.m. Tickets are also available online at dennisondepot.eventbrite.com.

SAFETY PROCEDURES

During these challenging times, safety is our top priority at the Dennison Railroad Depot Museum. We have worked very hard on a safety plan together with Polar Express operations across the country in order to make our environment as safe as possible. It is important to note, however, that although we will be following national best practices, we cannot guarantee a COVID-19 free environment. A summary of the main safety procedures are listed below. A complete Polar Express Safety Plan is available upon request. Guests can call 740.922.6776, visit dennisondepot.org or email polarexpress@dennsondept.org for questions and additional details on the safety protocols

A quick summary includes:

* All guests will be required to wear a mask on the property and during the train ride in alignment with Governor Dewine’s Mandate. (Ohio’s exceptions allowed, including children ten and under do not need to wear masks.)

*Social distancing will always be in place from line-up, boarding, seating during trip, deboarding and picking up any pre-ordered items.

* Groups will be seated together in their own “family bubble” with a barrier row between them and the next group to increase the amount of room for social distancing.

* Cleaning procedures will be greatly increased for the safety of everyone.

* The train rides are being sold at 50 percent capacity to ensure plenty of room to social distance.

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ABOUT THE DENNISON RAILROAD DEPOT MUSEUM

The Dennison Railroad Depot Museum sits halfway between Columbus and Pittsburgh, on what was once the National Defense Railway route. Over 1.3 million servicemen were served at our trackside canteen during WWI and WWII, earning Dennison the nickname Dreamsville, USA. That same homefront hospitality that greeted the soldiers during wartime, continues in Dennison, Ohio today. The Museum is housed in a fully restored 1873 Pennsylvania Railroad Depot that offers a Museum throughout the building and in an attached train of five railroad cars. The experience includes a children’s scavenger hunt, a Children’s Interactive Railroad Experience Car, Special Feature Exhibition Car, an extremely rare WWII Hospital car, a model train display and much more! When visiting the Polar Express, you don’t want to miss the Museum. Also in the Depot is Over the Rail Diner (advance reservations are strongly suggested by calling 740.673.4077) and the Museum’s Whistle Stop Railway Gift Shop (advance orders also strongly suggested.)

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