A train ride event, based on a popular movie about a magical train bound for the North Pole, is bringing thousands of visitors to Randolph County.
The rides hope to give kids an experience that will last the rest of their lives.
"All Aboard?" That question asked by Tom Hanks in the 2004 film "The Polar Express" takes a doubting young boy on an extraordinary train ride to the North Pole on Christmas Eve. The Durbin and Greenbrier Valley Railroad has brought the officially licensed train ride event back to Elkins for its second year.
"They felt it might work and it seems like it's been a perfect fit ever since it's growing, doubling every year it's very exciting," said John Smith, president Durbin and Greenbrier Valley Railroad.
The railroad joins 30 officially licensed "The Polar Express" train ride events nationwide this holiday season. Forty train departures leading up to Christmas depart from the railroad depot in Elkins.
Once on board, passengers dressed in pajamas will see the conductor punch their tickets.
Passengers will be served hot chocolate by dancing chefs. A reading of the Chris Van Allsburg novel will follow. Riders will also get to see the North Pole with Santa, who offers a gift for those who truly believe.
Those who rode the train said it was an unforgettable ride.
"It was pretty good," said Jared Flanagan of Weston.
"It was really fun they were singing and they gave us hot cocoa," said Sarah Casto of Richwood.
"The hot chocolate was yummy and the cookies, even the train ride it was awesome," said Joseph Casto of Richwood.
"This is our first year at The Polar Express. It's something that we can do every year as a family," said Liz Lamarca of South Hills in Pittsburgh Pa.
President John Smith said the rides get bigger each year, which helps the economy and the merchants near the railroad. Smith says the railroad will expand with more rides for The Polar Express.
"We're hauling 9,500 people. This year we've probably turned away half that many more people, so next year we'll expand try to do three or four thousand more, add to the schedule but keep the same quality routine inside."