ELKINS, W.Va. -- Frigid temperatures and snow-covered terrain didn't prevent Chris Van Allsburg's classic tale from coming alive Wednesday night in Elkins.
The Polar Express train excursion brought out young and old, the festive spirits and Santa Claus believers.
Decked out in pajamas, participants boarded the Durbin and Greenbrier Valley Railroad's train en route to the "North Pole."
The train ride event is based on the holiday feature film from Warner Bros. and Allsburg's beloved children's book about a doubting young boy who takes an extraordinary train ride to the North Pole on Christmas Eve.
The Durbin and Greenbrier Valley Railroad partners with Rail Events Inc. to bring the officially licensed train ride event to Elkins. It's in its third year.
The 90-minute roundtrip excursion begins at the Elkins Depot and takes those aboard to Belington to pick up Santa. The special excursion began in 2011 and has welcomed thousands of visitors since its inception.
Fifty excursions have been scheduled this year, which began in early November. There are two trips per date -- one leaving the depot at 5 p.m. and the other at 7:15 p.m. The final trip will be Sunday.
Teresa and Jason Williams traveled from Virginia Beach with their daughters, Griffin, 8, and Clara, 4.
"We're big fans of 'The Polar Express,'" Teresa said. "We traveled six hours to be here. It's a lot of fun."
Just like the movie, the Williams family were in their pajamas.
"In the movie, the kids were wearing pajamas so we wanted to be just like those kids," Griffin said.
Before boarding the Polar Express, children can stay warm in the depot and stay occupied by writing cards to Santa or applying holiday-themed tattoos.
It's important to keep an eye out for the elves because they give out golden tickets prior to departure to those who believe.
Once aboard, passengers hear songs from the motion picture soundtrack, including "Believe" by Josh Groban. Passengers are seated at tables of four and are provided with a keepsake ceramic mug and sugar cookies.
The Conductor will make his way through the cabins to punch tickets.
"As you can see, the word 'believe' is written on the golden ticket. I always punch the top corner of the 'B,'" Conductor Lars said. "Each conductor does it differently but I have my own way."