You Can Take A Festive Holiday Ride Through The Tennessee Foothills On This Vintage Train

It sounds like a page out of “The Polar Express“: Rushing through darkened woods on a gaily decorated train, sharing smiles and laughs with other holiday revelers from your cozy seat.

If you find yourself in southern Tennessee, this holiday fantasy can happen for real when the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum hosts special holiday train rides for the whole family. (Or for a romantic, grownups-only date night.)

Using Chattanooga as its main hub, the museum’s celebrations include three different holiday excursions: The North Pole Limited, the Christmas Dinner Train and Nightcaps with St. Nick. Here’s a look at this charming locomotive on the tracks:

The North Pole Limited is the marquee family event, a 75-minute “trip to the North Pole,” as seen in this photo from the museum’s Instagram:

A special passenger boards the train at the North Pole — Santa, of course! — and visits the kids on the return to Chattanooga. According to the railroad museum’s website, guests should be prepared for occasional outbursts of singing and a special treasure from the big man himself.

If a visit from Santa isn’t a priority, the museum runs a festive Christmas Dinner Train on weekends through the holiday season. This ride is a full two hours and includes a four-course meal complete with soup, salad, a choice of entree and a rich dessert. Best of all, you get to enjoy your dinner in a restored dining car from 1924.

Instagram user @karen_boyd_in_tn snapped a quick pic of her table’s decorations on last year’s train:

The dinner train is open to adults and kids alike, but if you and your Christmas crush need a night off from the kids, the museum’s also got a train for that. “Nightcaps With St. Nick” is only for passengers age 21 and up.

Spirits will definitely be bright when the train attendants circulate through the vintage observation car with holiday-classic cocktails like eggnog Brandy Alexanders and peppermint-schnapps-spiked hot chocolate. Carolers and Santa pass through the car during the 75-minute journey as well.

I mean, you don’t even need alcohol to get a kick out of the car’s lovely surroundings, seen here in a post by @travelonadream:

For more information, including ticket prices and descriptions of the museum’s other holiday train routes, visit

What a wonderful Christmas tradition. All aboard!