Monticello Railway Museum Makes Polar Categorical Announcement –

The Polar Express train rides, a beloved holiday tradition, will be greatly missed during 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic


Families all over Central Illinois were waiting to hear whether this event would be happening in some form or fashion this year at the Monticello Railway Museum

It’s news that many families were expecting but still sad to see – the Monticello Railway Museum in Monticello, IL has officially canceled their 2020 Polar Express events, along with other annual holiday events like “lunch with Santa on the train”. Ask anyone who has gone to this event, and they will recount stories of logging on in the middle of the night in the beginning of June to secure their family’s tickets for this beloved holiday experience.

The Monticello Railway’s Polar Express is one of the area’s most popular wintertime attractions.

After many months of festivals canceling, museums closing and restrictions on various activities, it still doesn’t make it any easier to read news of another favorite on pause for the COVID-19 pandemic. On October 12, the Monticello Railway Museum posted the following announcement on their Facebook page:

We have updated our website now to reflect that all events, including the Polar Express trains, have been cancelled for 2020. We’re very sorry about this, but the COVID-19 crisis forced our hand.

They go on to mention that the only event they’ve been able to run during this year has been “Throttle Time”, which allows a participant to actually operate a locomotive in partnership with an engineer. They hope to expand this event in the months to come.

We don’t know what is in store for many of our favorite holiday traditions throughout Champaign-Urbana, but as the announcements of cancellations roll in, we know one thing for sure. Our area has seen nothing short of spectacular innovation on all kinds of levels during 2020 so far and we know that celebrating the winter holidays and favorite Christmas traditions, such as this one, will evolve and be presented in unique ways this year by the organizations we know and love in this community.

Know of something special happening this year to celebrate Christmas and New Year’s in Champaign-Urbana? Be sure to tell us about it by submitting it as an event here.

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