Catskill Mountain Railroad Celebrates 30 Years of Serving the Scenic Esopus Creek Route


About Us

Our Historic Route

Schedules and Fares

Fall Foliage Trains

Group Charters

News and Events


Nearby Attractions

How to Find Us

Contact Us

Press Photos

Find us on Facebook


Learn the facts about Rail With Trail and the true positive economic impact provided by our trains!

Learn more about our present and future activities at! Learn the facts about Rail with Trail, view our vision documents, and more. Show your support for Ulster County's only historic scenic railroad attrction!


The Polar Express™ comes to Kingston in 2014!

"Well, are you coming?" asks the Conductor.
"Where?" asks the Boy.
"Why, to the North Pole, of course. This is The Polar Express!"

KINGSTON, NY -- February 17, 2014 -- Hudson Valley children and their families will discover the magic of Christmas aboard The Polar Express™ later this year. The officially licensed train rides* inspired by the hit Warner Bros. film The Polar Express and book by Chris Van Allsburg, will be run by the Catskill Mountain Railroad from November 21 through to December 28, 2014.

Set to the sounds of the motion picture soundtrack, pajama-clad passengers will relive the magic of the story and see their favorite characters come to life as they are whisked away aboard The Polar Express on a magical round trip to the North Pole. During the journey, the conductor will punch tickets and chefs will serve hot chocolate, just like in the film. Passengers will also enjoy a sing along and a special reading of the Van Allsburg classic. At the North Pole, Santa will board the train to greet the children and will give a special sleigh bell to all those who believe.

The Catskill Mountain Railroad joins other rural heritage railways in the United States and Europe in hosting this iconic Christmas adventure. More than ten thousand visitors are expected to enjoy the attraction, which will create opportunities for local actors and actresses to play the roles of the singing and dancing chefs.

“We’re excited about the success of The Polar Express experience elsewhere,” says Ernie Hunt, president of the Catskill Mountain Railroad. “This will bring thousands of visitors to the heart of Kingston and Ulster County.” Noting that The Polar Express ride has delighted children and their parents and grandparents at locations across the US for years, Hunt said the story’s messages of hope and belief are ideal for the holiday season. David Schranck of Rail Events, Inc. stated, “We are very excited about the ridership potential of Kingston to be able to draw families during the holiday season. That plus the amenities Kingston has to offer and proximity to the New York Thruway make this a winning proposition for all parties.”

“This is amazing news not only for the railroad, but for Kingston and Ulster County as well,” said Donna Brooks, owner of Hudson Coffee Traders in Uptown Kingston. “This will bring thousands of visitors to Kingston during the busy holiday shopping season. Many will be discovering us for the first time, the shops and restaurants in the city and surrounding area will have opportunities to co-promote and create new customers.”

Hunt also noted the opportunity for city and county historic sites to benefit from the attraction. “The visitors who will be inclined to come and ride are likely to spend an entire day, and possibly even a weekend, Hunt said. “Turning the experience into a theme day or weekend for their families could pull visitors to such places as the Senate House Museum, the Maritime Museum, the Empire State Railway Museum, historic Stone Ridge and Woodstock, creating a wonderful ripple effect for the entire county.”

Railroad officials said that ticketing information will be made available in March and that formal promotion of the experience in the Metropolitan New York, New Jersey and Connecticut regions will begin in April. “We will work with other business owners and attraction operators throughout the county to guarantee that the visitors we attract are dispersed to other sites, creating a huge economic impact during the all-important holiday shopping season.”

The Catskill Mountain Railroad is a for-profit, locally owned business that has maintained the historic railroad right of way for 31 years. Its all-volunteer staff has repaired track, run excursions, and handled the marketing for the venue, which brings more than 14,000 visitors to the county each year.

*The official Polar Express train ride is licensed by Rail Events, Inc. on behalf of Warner Bros. Consumer Products, Inc. Since 2005, Rail Events, Inc. has held the exclusive license to operate Polar Express Train Rides in the US.

“All Aboard!” this Christmas season – for those who truly believe!

Based on THE POLAR EXPRESS book and characters TM & © 1985 by Chris Van Allsburg. Used by permission of Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
TM & © Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. (s14)


Notes to Editors:

The Polar Express Film
The Academy Award winning team of Tom Hanks and director Robert Zemeckis reunite for The Polar Express, an inspiring adventure based on the beloved children's book by Chris Van Allsburg. When a doubting young boy takes an extraordinary train ride to the North Pole, he embarks on a journey of self-discovery that shows him that the wonder of life never fades for those who believe. Sony Pictures Imageworks and visual effects supervisor Ken Ralston, Oscar winners for their innovative work, help bring the story vividly to the screen in full CG animation through Imageworks’ next-generation motion capture process that allows live-action performances to drive the emotions and movements of the digital characters. Warner Home Video will once again offer The Polar Express in standard-definition, Blu-ray and 3D DVD versions this holiday season.

The Polar Express Book
‘The Polar Express’ film is based on Chris Van Allburg’s classic Christmas picture book, which tells the story of a boy who takes a magical Christmas Eve train ride to the North Pole to receive a special gift from Santa. First published by Houghtin Mifflin Company in 1985, The Polar Express became an instant family favorite and has sold more than 6 million copies worldwide. In 1986 it won the prestigious Caldecott Medal for Illustration.

About Warner Bros. Consumer Products
Warner Bros. Consumer Products, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company, is one of the leading licensing and retail merchandising organizations in the world.

Images issued alongside this press release are for illustration purposes.
The Polar Express trains are powered by vintage diesel locomotives.

Catskill Mountain Railroad News

October 2013: Volunteers complete repairs to Campground Curve, enabling our work trains to return to Phoenicia since the floods of Hurricane Irene in 2011. This was done entirely with the CMRR's resources, as the Ulster County Executive has refused to disburse $2.3 million to repair the railroad with FEMA funding for Hurricane Irene.

2012 CMRR Annual Progress Report

We are pleased to make our 2012 Progress Report available as an Acrobat PDF file (you'll need the free Acrobat Reader software). Learn all about our accomplishments from the past year, and our immediate goals for the future. Thank you for your continued support!

Catskill Mountain Railroad News

October 2013: Our Kingston City Limited arrives at Route 209 in the Town of Hurley. This is the first revenue train here since 1976.

Progress Updates and Social Media

We post regular updates of Catskill Mountain Railroad volunteers hard at work on various projects to operate, maintain, and restore the Catskill Mountain Railroad to full operation from Kingston to Highmount, New York. Follow this link to the NERail Photo Archive to see new photos posted every week. You can also find us on Facebook.

Catskill Mountain Railroad News

December 2012: First passenger train to cross the Esopus Creek since 1954,
and the first regularly scheduled train west of Kingston since 1976.

Annual Progress Reports Archive

Recent Highlights

The all-volunteer Catskill Mountain Railroad has been busy working to expand their operating territory. In May 2010, the railroad took delivery of an additional locomotive to handle heavier trains. Our Esopus Scenic Train ride continues to grow in popularity, creating the need for the new-to-us locomotive! To accommodate growing demand, we added a second coach to our Esopus Scenic Train in October 2010.

In Augst 2011, the Catskill Mountain Railroad the devastating effects of flood waters caused by Hurricane Irene throughout the region. As a result, both Phoenicia and Cold Brook became temporaily isolated from our Esopus Scenic Train ride. Thanks to our dedicated volunteers, we were able to resume an abbreviated Scenic Train ride from our Mount Tremper station.

Our volunteer crews have completed repairs to Bridge C9 in December 2012 which allows further extensions westward from Kingston. In October 2013, our Kingston City Limited trains reached the crossing at Route 209 in Hurley for the first time since 1976. Later that month, crew completed primary repairs to Campground Curve allowing our work train to return to Phoenicia since the flood evacuation due to Hurricane Irene in 2011.

Esopus Scenic Train, Mt. Tremper, New York - September 4, 2011

Esopus Scenic Train, Mt. Tremper, New York - September 4, 2011


:: About :: History :: Schedules and Fares :: Fall Foliage :: Groups :: Freight :: News :: Volunteer :: Nearby :: Directions :: Contact :: Press ::
©2014 Catskill Mountain Railroad Co. • P.O. Box 1415 • Kingston, NY 12401 • All Rights Reserved • Privacy PolicyFAQ