Local “celebrities” joined children and families on the train, leading sing-alongs and reading aloud the holiday classic “The Polar Express” on the two-hour trip north

BOSTON, MA – December 10, 2016 – Wearing pajamas and singing holiday songs, 800 local children and their families embarked on a magical journey to the North Pole and back again, via the famous North Pole Express, operated each year at this time by Keolis Commuter Services in partnership with the MBTA and Mass, Dept. of Transportation.

The adventure began this afternoon at South Station, where the children were greeted by Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh, and treated to free hot chocolate and cookies, courtesy of Au Bon Pain, prior to boarding the 10-car train to Weymouth Landing and back. On board the train, local VIPs read books and led holiday sing-alongs. The return portion of the trip featured a visit from Santa Claus and his elves. Tickets for this invitation-only event were provided to families served by a number of local nonprofit organizations. (See full list below).

Some coaches were also joined by members of the Back Bay Chorale, Cambridge Community Chorus and Redline a Capella groups. Each child also received a holiday gift bag, which included a coloring book, crayons and a Polar Express bell

“The North Pole Express is a wonderful holiday tradition in Boston, and all of us at Keolis are delighted and honored to be the official operator of this train,” David Scorey, General Manager of Keolis Commute Services. “Keolis operates more than 200,000 trains in Greater Boston each year, but the North Pole Express is without a doubt our favorite. We are grateful to have this opportunity to give back to the communities where we operate while supporting many outstanding organizations serving local youth. It’s part of our strong commitment to this community and to the Commonwealth.”

“It’s a pleasure to be part of this annual event because fun is all around the children – from the coaches decorated with colored lights and ornaments to the holiday caroling onboard and the moment when Santa, elves and characters like Frosty board the train,” said Brian Shortsleeve, Chief Administrator of the MBTA. “Every child should have the chance to feel the excitement of the season. The employees of MassDOT and MBTA are proud to support the Polar Express train which gives kids this opportunity.”

Local readers aboard the train included:

  • Angela Menino, wife of late former Mayor of Boston Thomas M. Menino
  • Senator Linda Dorcena Forry (D-Boston, 1st Suffolk)
  • Representative Russell Holmes, (D-Boston, 6th Suffolk)
  • Donna Holaday, Mayor of Newburyport
  • Laura Koenig, Boston Public Library, Head Librarian, Children’s Room
  • Brian Shortsleeve, Chief Administrator and Acting General Manager, MBTA
  • Kenneth Green, Chief of MBTA Police
  • David Scorey, General Manager, Keolis Commuter Services
  • Gerald Francis, President, Keolis North America
  • David Wade, Channel 4/WBZ TV personality

Keolis Commuter Services, which operates the MBTA Commuter Rail, organized and sponsored the Polar Express, working with many local nonprofit organizations throughout the year to identify families with limited financial means to participate in this invitation-only event.

Partnering organizations include: The Home for Little Wanderers, Boys and Girls Club of Lynn, South Boston Neighborhood House, Boys and Girls Club of Boston, Horizons for Homeless Children, Big Sister Association of Greater Boston, Children’s Friend and Family Services, Rosie’s Place, Boys and Girls Club of Dorchester, Family Independence Initiative, Mark Wahlberg Youth Foundation.