North Pole Express

2013 North Pole Express tickets are on sale NOW! Get your tickets early for this year's North Pole Express.

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Relive the once in a lifetime TrainFestival 2009 in your home. Purchase a DVD or Souvenir Program today.

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If you are looking for a leisurely train ride back in time, then check out our schedule of events and order your ticket today.

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Diesel Excursions

Throughout the year, the Steam Railroading Institute offers special excursions that use Diesel powered locomotives. This reduces the cost of the excursion making an all-day excursion more economical.
Check out our schedule page to book your trip today.

Steam Excursions

The Steam Railroading Institute is best known for All-Day Steam powered excursion all over Michigan. Excursions are offered throughout the year. The North Pole Express is a favorite of many.

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Tickets for all of our excursions are available online or by calling (989) 399-7589. Order yours today!

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View the Train Schedule

Updates to the Schedule will be posted here. Check back periodically as we expect additional events/excursions to expand the schedule.

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Steam Excursions

The Steam Railroading Institute is best known for their all-day steam excursions. Every year trips are scheduled and carry thousands of passenger around Michigan behind one of the largest operating steam locomotives in the United States. What are you waiting for? Hop aboard for a trip back in time when life was a little simpler!

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Diesel Excursions

Throughout the year diesel locomotive powered excursions are being offered. Take a look at our schedule to book the trip that is right for you.

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North Pole Express 2012


Nothing touches a child’s imagination like the magic of Christmas. Share the joy this holiday season by taking the family on a magical train ride to the North Pole. This exciting four-hour journey includes hot cocoa, visits with Santa, holiday rides, model railroad displays, live entertainment, holiday crafts and shopping in the Kris Kringle Mart. Passengers will enjoy the nostalgic ambiance of riding the American rail while viewing the winter scenery of Mid-Michigan. Passengers depart from the Steam Railroading Institute in Owosso, Michigan, and will be riding the rails in vintage passenger cars that will be pulled by one of Great Lakes Central’s historical diesel locomotives. General admission is $70 for adults and $40 for children (12 and under) and are non-refundable. Private coach and caboose rates also available.

Cocoa Class – Add an extra touch of sweetness to your trip to the North Pole by experiencing specially topped, unlimited cocoa served in your very own North Pole Express souvenir mug. This tasty option would not be complete without a homemade cookie like grandma used to make. “Cocoa Class” will enhance this unforgettable experience.  Cocoa Class is a separate coach – minors MSUT be accompanied by a ticketed Cocoa Class adult.  $85 for adults and $55 for children (12 and under). Space is limited, so be sure to tell your friends and family to book their seats today.

2012 Dates & Times are as Follows:

Departure Dates Departure Times
Saturday, November 24 10:00am & 4:00pm
Sunday, November 25 10:00am & 4:00pm
Saturday, December 1 10:00am & 4:00pm
Sunday, December 2 10:00am & 4:00pm
Saturday, December 8 10:00am & 4:00pm
Sunday, December 9 10:00am & 4:00pm
Saturday, December 15 10:00am & 4:00pm
Sunday, December 16 10:00am & 4:00pm

Some times and certain dates may already be sold out. Please check to see.

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Q: Do I receive tickets in the mail?

A: No. The email confirmation you receive at the time you purchase your tickets serves as your reservation until the day of your trip. Upon your arrival at SRI (we ask that you arrive an hour before your trip) you will pick up your tickets at our will call desk, located in our Visitor’s Center. These tickets are designed to be souvenirs, a memento of your trip.

Q: Will the Pere Marquette 1225 be pulling trains for 2011?

A: No. The 1225 is currently undergoing a federally mandated overhaul. She will be out of service for all of 2011 and we are unsure of when her overhaul will be completed. Please visit our website for updates on and how you can help preserve the 1225.

Q: What is the “Caboose” option?

A: The “Caboose” option allows up to 12 people to ride the North Pole Express in their own private caboose. The Steam Railroading Institute’s restored Ann Arbor cabooses are available for the flat rate of $1,500 per party. The caboose will have its own Conductor and is heated by the original coal stove and light from the period oil lamps. Guests may sit in the cupola (the upper section of the caboose) for a unique view of the train and passing scenery. Caboose guests will have hot chocolate (heated on the coal stove). You must call to reserve a caboose! (989) 725-9464

Q: My husband is sick. Can we get a refund or reschedule?

A: No. We’re sorry. Due to the nature of the event and the large volume of orders we can not offer refunds or make considerations. We understand the emergencies arise in the most untimely manner but the show must go on. We would suggest checking with other friends, colleagues or family members to see if they could use your tickets. Rescheduling is available on a limited basis and requires a $15 service charge. Please contact us for availability and know that North Pole Express has been sold out for the past three seasons which can make rescheduling impossible.

Q: What does the “North Pole Express” include?

A: The “North Pole Express” is an immersive experience for the entire family. Passengers enter the story of the magical “North Pole Express” at the Steam Railroading Institute’s Visitor Center in Owosso. Once aboard the train the story continues to “Santa’s Village” in Chesaning’s “North Pole USA” with hot chocolate served by the Porters. The two hour visit at “Santa’s Village” includes visits with Santa while visiting the various vendors, riding the rides, live entertainment and enjoy the Christmas Cheer. When the locomotive blows a long horn, passenger will board the train for the hour long return trip to the Steam Railroading Institute’s Visitor Center.

Q: What is the “Santa’s Village?”

A: The Saginaw County Fairgrounds holds an annual winter carnival called “Santa’s Village at North Pole USA.” North Pole Express passengers travel to the fairgrounds, where they disembark for their special two-hour visit. “Santa’s Village” is housed in a heated large commercial building on the fairgrounds site that’s comfortable for coats and sweaters. The building is heated for a very comfortable temperature when wearing a coat or sweater. Host to several attractions, Santa Claus,live entertainment, Kris Kringle Mart and holiday rides including a Carousel. Visitors can have their pictures taken next to the Authentic “North Pole USA” or with Santa. Admission to “Santa’s Village” is included in your North Pole Express package.

Q: When should I arrive at the Steam Railroading Institute?

A: The Steam Railroading Institute is open to North Pole Express passengers approximately one hour prior to their scheduled departure. Steam Railroading Institute is closed to the general public from November 21 to allow the staff and volunteers time to prepare for the thousands of annual North Pole Express visitors. Riders will be required to present their online ticketing confirmation or Steam Railroading Institute receipt of confirmation.

Q: We received eight inches of snow are the trains still running?

A: Yes, the trains will still be running and the eight inches of snow should enhance your trip to the North Pole. Please remember that tickets are non-refundable to plan your trip accordingly.

Q: Where do we park once we arrive?

A: Free parking is available in various city lots throughout Downtown Owosso. We ask visitors to be considerate of designated business lots and keep them clear for their customers. Handicap parking is conveniently located on the north side of our building.

Q: Is there lodging available in the area?

A: Please see the Shiawassee County Lodging and Camping page by the Shiawassee County Convention and Visitor Bureau.

Q: Can I add my name to the mailing list for Steam Railroading Institute events?

A: It would be our pleasure. Simply visit our home page, where you will find an opportunity in the lower right corner to submit your email address. Or by calling or e-mailing us at with your name, mailing address, phone number, and e-mail address. Guests on this year’s North Pole Express trains will automatically be added to that mailing list.

Q: What are the seating arrangements and how are seat assignments handled for NPE?

A: Our seating arrangements are very similar to airline and/or bus like seating. Our coaches are historic 1940′s and 50′s built passenger cars with a single center aisle with two seats to each side (Please see interior photo). In total, there are over 75 seats to a car, and over 350 seats to a train. Seating assignments are completed the day of check-in, and we will do the best we can to accommodate parties at that time, but we cannot guarantee large groups can sit together without prior notice. The Steam Railroading Institute staff and volunteers try to the best of our ability to accommodate special requests but may not always be able to do so.