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Two weeks before the Polar Express takes its first ride from Carson City to the completely reimagined North Pole aboard the Virginia & Truckee Railroad, 88 percent of tickets have already been sold. 
  
The seven-week schedule, from Nov. 19 to Dec. 22, features 12 rides per weekend. Now in its fifth season, the all-ages holiday train will depart Carson City for a series of one-hour round-trip journeys to the magical North Pole. The ride is filled with stories, adventure and characters that come to life in what has rapidly become an annual family tradition for residents and visitors alike. A record numbers of pajama-clad kids — true to the story — are expected again.
 
Because of the demand, more trips and passenger cars were added this season. Last year more than 14,000 passengers rode the train. As of today, 86 percent of the coach seats have sold out VIP/Parlor Car seats 99 percent sold.
 
For the first week, select coach seats are still available. Rides begin Thursday, Nov. 19 with evening runs at 5 p.m., 6:30 p.m., and 8 p.m. every Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday with special final runs Monday, Dec. 21 and Tuesday, Dec. 22.
 
Set to the sounds of the motion picture soundtrack, passengers will relive the magic of the story as they are whisked away on the Polar Express. The ride is full of holiday cheer with hot chocolate and treats served to passengers as they prepare for a reading of the classic children’s book, “The Polar Express,” by Chris Van Allsburg. Santa and his helpers greet passengers at the North Pole and then board the train, where each child is given the first gift of Christmas – a silver sleigh bell. The holiday characters aboard each car lead passengers in singing Christmas carols on the ride back to Carson City.  
 
VIP tickets cost $82 for adults and $72 for children 2-12 – free for children younger than 2 who sit on a lap. Coach tickets cost $46 for adults and $36 for children – free for children younger than 2 who sit on a lap.
 
The V&T’s engine and holiday decorated passenger cars leave the Carson City Eastgate Depot (seven miles east of downtown Carson City) and travel nearly two miles before stopping at Santa's mythical North Pole retreat. The depot features visits with Santa Claus where riders can take photos and shop for holiday souvenirs. Any ticket purchase comes with hot chocolate, cookies, entertainment, a reading of “The Polar Express” and a keepsake silver bell.
 
Arrival at the station 30 minutes prior to departure is recommended. To purchase tickets, call 877-724-5007 or 775-291-0208 or visit www.vtrailway.com. Information also is available at www.polarexpressride.com.

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