The Polar Express Comes to Mississippi this Holiday Season
Published just 30 years ago, "The Polar Express" has already become a holiday tradition, and in Batesville, Mississippi, the mystical train ride is being re-created as a real-life rail excursion.
In a report from Wayne Risher of CommercialAppeal.com, Iowa Pacific Holdings—operators of the Grenada Railway—announced that the company will operate The Polar Express on selected dates from Nov. 20 through Dec. 27.
Iowa Pacific estimates 30,000 to 40,000 people will ride the Christmas-themed excursion train as it journeys between Southaven and Canton, Mississippi. The company is also looking to re-open a 90-mile stretch of track between Grenada and Canton, which was closed three years ago.
In addition to opening the old track before The Polar Express excursions begin, Batesville officials are hoping to complete upgrades to the parking and sidewalks near the open-air railroad depot and the Panola County Courthouse to accommodate the influx of tourists.
Panola Partnership Chief Executive Sonny Simmons told CommercialAppeal.com, “All the merchants are excited about it. They're going to stay open extra time to take advantage of those people who'll be coming from out of town. It will impact our restaurants and hotels, because people drive 150 miles or more to take the train.”
Sara K. Clarke of the Memphis Commercial Appeal shared an image on Twitter:
Tickets for The Polar Express train ride range from $20 to $85 a person, and passengers are invited to wear their pajamas to give the story recreation a truly authentic feeling. Passengers will also witness dancing elves serving hot chocolate and cookies, greet Santa Claus and his helpers along the way, as well as enjoy a read-along of the book that inspired both the 2004 film and the excursion that bears its name.
In addition, the concept will also provide 100 locals with temporary holiday jobs, helping infuse even more money into the economy.
For more information, visit www.grenadapolarexpressride.com.
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