Frequently Asked Questions

Where does the POLAR EXPRESS™ Caledonian Railway depart from?

All THE POLAR EXPRESS™ Scotland Train Rides depart from Brechin Station, Park Road, Brechin. DD9 7AF.

What 3 Words: Vows Lifeguard Miracle

https://w3w.co/vows.lifeguard.miracle

How long does the POLAR EXPRESS™ Caledonian Railway last?

The actual train ride lasts around an hour (approximately 30 minutes in each direction), however, we suggest you allow 2 hours for the whole experience.

What dates do the POLAR EXPRESS™ Caledonian Railway operate on?

The train ride operates on the 3 weekends leading up to Christmas. These dates are:

  • Saturday 4 December
  • Sunday 5 December
  • Saturday 11 December
  • Sunday 12 December
  • Saturday 18 December
  • Sunday 19 December
How much do POLAR EXPRESS™ Caledonian Railway train ride tickets cost?

Our tickets are priced depending on time and date of travel and class of travel. Please see the Book Tickets page for further information.

How can I buy Tickets for the POLAR EXPRESS™ Caledonian Railway?

All tickets are sold online via our website. Please visit: caledonianrailwaychristmas.com. You cannot book tickets via phone or in person.

Babies travelling

Babies are those children aged 2 and under at the time of the event. All babies have to travel on the knee of an adult as they will not be allocated a designated seat on THE POLAR EXPRESS™ Train Ride, however, depending on the size of your group there may be spare seats for your party. We will not allocate others to your compartment or table group.

How do I receive my tickets?

Once you have purchased your tickets you will receive an online booking confirmation.

Who operates the Caledonian Railway and where do the profits go?

Caledonian Railway Brechin Ltd is a registered charity that maintains and operates the heritage railway line between Brechin and Bridge of Dun using our steam and heritage diesel fleet. The railway is run entirely by volunteers and all profits are returned to the railway to support continued maintenance and improvement and our support for the local community.

Why are The Polar Express Train Ride Tickets more expensive than your previous Santa Specials?

The Polar Express event we are running this year is a completely different event from our normal Santa Specials. Run in conjunction with Warner Bros, it is a more theatrical and all-encompassing extravaganza with the railway at its centre. It is based around the 2004 Warner Bros. Polar Express film and has links back to many of the elements of the film including dancing chefs, the conductor and of course Santa at the North Pole. There will also be a number of other activities linked to the season and the film taking place during your visit.

 

As a result of the significantly increased content and cost of running The Polar Express event, we have increased our ticket price accordingly. This is in line with guidance pricing for the event and prices for other railways who have been running the event for a number of years. Our pricing for this event is now more closely matched to some of our other intensive railway events, such as our Murder Mystery or gin trains. We firmly believe this still represents value for money and will be a great day out. However, we also appreciate that many families who have supported the railway for many years have become accustomed to our Santa Specials. We hope that families will still come along and enjoy the event or join us in 2022 for some of our other events.

Will COVID19 derail Christmas?

We continue to monitor government guidelines on Covid19 controls. We shall update our website and social media streams closer to the event. Currently Scottish Government guidance requires all public transport users over the age of 11 to wear a face covering unless you are eating or drinking.

 

If you do have concerns about many people being inside the coaches, we do offer Premium tickets for our compartment stock where your party will have a single separate compartment to yourself.

 

We are not releasing all our tickets at the moment just in case we need to implement greater social distancing.

Cookie and Hot Chocolate allergy information

We want to make sure nobody at our event feels left out. Our standard Cookies and Hot Chocolate contain a number of potential allergens which may include Gluten, Milk, Soya and Eggs. When you make your booking you will be asked to advise of any allergens that affect your party and the number – we will make every effort to provide you with an alternative. However, unfortunately we may not be able to accommodate all possible allergies – we will discuss this with you if this is the case.

 

When you make your booking, please select any allergens that you may be affected by and advise how many members of the party that are affected.

 

While we will store and segragate these to ensure absolutely no cross-contamination, you are more than welcome to bring an alternative drink and cookie with you for any member of your party who has severe allergies if you would prefer. A number of our team are Coeliac, dairy intolerant etc so you can be assured we are aware of your concerns.

Getting to the POLAR EXPRESS™ Caledonian Railway using Public Transport

Joining instructions, including how to get to us and parking, will be provided prior to the event for all ticket holders. You can also find information on our location at www.caledonianrailway.com or via our facebook page.

Is there event parking?

We have event parking in addition to on-street and local council car parking. Joining instructions will be provided prior to the event with detailed instructions.

Do we have to wear PJs?

Of course…you don’t but we feel that it adds to the story when as many people as possible wear PJs and a dressing gown. This will help to enhance the experience for our younger visitors and help those not so young relive their youth a little! Although we have heating on the train, please make sure to wrap up warmly underneath as it can be very cold in December when you are getting on and off the train. Do not worry if you choose not to wear PJ’s, we will still let you travel to the North Pole.

Is THE POLAR EXPRESS™ Caledonian Railway hauled by a steam locomotive?

Our services will have a steam locomotive on one end and a heritage diesel locomotive on the other. However, because of the ever-increasing age of our locomotives, and despite our best efforts, sometimes locomotives fail and we may have to substitute our booked locomotive for an alternative to ensure the experience goes ahead.

What’s the difference between Premium and Standard seats?

Premium

Our Premium seats are located in our Premium carriages and are arranged by compartments holding parties of up to 8. As well as additional comfort, Premium ticket holders also receive a ‘unique for this year’ Souvenir Polar Express™ Ceramic Mug and Bag to take home – these are not available to buy in the shop.

 

In Premium, groups of up to eight people will usually be seated in one compartment. We will never seat more than one group in one compartment. Groups over eight in Premium will have multiple compartments and you can agree amongst yourselves how you would like to split the groups!

 

Standard

Standard seats in our Standard carriages are arranged in fours around tables:

 

If your group has more than four people, you can book to allow seats to be selected opposite each other across the aisle. You can select seats to ensure that no member of your party is seated on their own. We will not put members of another party at your table.

Are there toilets on the train?

Due to the heritage nature of our rolling stock and current legislation we don’t have toilets on our trains. We have full toilet facilities at each station, including baby changing and disabled. The trip in each direction between stations takes approximately 30 minutes.

Is there any heating on the train?

Our trains are fully heated using steam from the locomotive for that heritage feel.

How early should I get there?

Joining instructions will be sent to you with further details prior to the event. However, you should aim to arrive a minimum of 30 minutes prior to your scheduled departure time. The trains will depart promptly so please do not be late or you will miss your train!

Are pushchairs allowed on the train?

You are able to take pushchairs and car seats on THE POLAR EXPRESS™ Train Ride. You will be required to take them to the train and notify one of our helpful Elves who will ensure they are loaded on the train. Unfortunately unless you book a compartment and there is extra space, we are unlikely to be able to allow car seats at your seat.

Are dogs allowed on the train?

We are a very dog friendly railway and your four-legged friends are allowed on the train as long as they are not allowed on the seats and that any mess caused is cleaned up by you.

Is the railway suitable for guests with disabilities?

Whilst we are a heritage railway and many of our vehicles were built before such concerns were suitably addressed, we aim to try and accommodate those with disabilities as best as far as possible.

 

We have a wheelchair accessible saloon where you and your party can be seated – please ensure you book this option when buying your tickets.

 

Alternatively, if you are able to move around a little out of your wheelchair and board the train with support from your party or others, you can sit in the coach and store your wheelchair in the brakevan. Please discuss this prior to your visit.

 

We have an accessibility document for your trip to the railway. If you have any further questions you can contact us prior to booking so we can make sure that the event is suitable for you.

Are there disabled toilets available?

Yes, we have toilets available for our disabled guests at both stations. Should you wish to use the toilets please ask one of our volunteers who will be happy to guide you to them.

 

Please note there are no disabled facilities on the train – this is something we are actively working on to modify our heritage coaches, but this is a major engineering exercise.

 

We have an accessibility document for your trip to the railway. If you have any further questions you can contact us prior to booking so we can make sure that the event is suitable for you.

Further information

Please read through the FAQs — we have tried to provide answers for all the regular enquiries we receive. If you need to contact us please do so via our Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/TheCaledonianRailway/)

 

We aim to respond to all messages as quickly as possible, however, please remember we are a volunteer organisation and most of our members have day jobs, so please bear with us.