Frequently Asked Questions:
1. Q: Do I receive tickets in the mail if I have a will call delivery?
A: No. The email confirmation you receive at the time you purchase your tickets serves as your reservation until the day of your trip. Upon your arrival at your departure location (we ask that you arrive an hour before your trip) you will pick up your tickets at our will call box office, which will either be located in our Visitor's Center if the trip is leaving from SRI or it will be directly in front of the train boarding area.
2. Q: Will the Pere Marquette 1225 or a Diesel be pulling the train for the each event?
A: The PM 1225 ("The Real Polar Express") will be pulling all North Pole Express trips. We will do everything in our power to ensure the PM 1225 is operational for your trip; however, sometimes there are situations that are beyond our control and therefore the Steam Railroading Institute must reserve the right to change out motive power or rolling stock at any time.
Any other trips: i.e. Back to the Bricks Cadillac, Fall Color Tours, Howell Melon Festival, Hamburg Family Fun Festival, Alma Highland Festival, Casino trips, etc. will always have a specific indication of what type of locomotive will be pulling the train.
3. Q: What is the "Caboose" option?
A: During the North Pole Express: The "Caboose" option allows up to 12 people to ride the North Pole Express in their own private caboose. The Steam Railroading Institute's restored cabooses are available for the flat rate of $1,500 per party. The caboose will have its own Conductor and is heated by the original coal stove and light from the period oil lamps. Guests may sit in the cupola (the upper section of the caboose) for a unique view of the train and passing scenery. Caboose guests will receive all of the same amenities received by Cocoa Class.
Other Train Trips: The "Caboose" option will typically include 10 individual seats being sold on our Pere Marquette Cabooses. The caboose will have its own Conductor and is heated by the original coal stove and light from the period oil lamps. Guests may sit in the cupola (the upper section of the caboose) for a unique view of the train and the passing scenery. Caboose guests will receive additional amenities including complimentary beverages (soda, water, coffee, possibly beer/wine if we are serving alcohol on the train as well) and light snacks.
4. Q: My husband is sick. Can we get a refund or reschedule?
A: We offer refund protection insurance that is available at the time of your purchase. It is $30 per order, as such, ALL Sales are final unless Refund Protection Insurance is purchased before sale is completed. (Refund Protection Insurance will allow for a full refund up to 72 hours before event.) Due to the nature of the North Pole Express and the large volume of orders and typically sold out trips, we cannot offer refunds or make considerations. Please feel free to check with friends, colleagues, or family members to see if they could use your tickets.
5. Q: When should I arrive for my train trip?
A: Train departure times are prompt, please arrive at least ONE HOUR ahead of trip departure time to get checked in and seated. The Steam Railroading Institute will open the Will Call Box Office table at least one hour ahead of trip departure time. Please remember to dress for the weather conditions, there may be walking outside from activity to activity. Purchaser may be required to present their online ticketing confirmation or emailed confirmation receipt.
6. Q: We received eight inches of snow, are the trains still running?
A: Yes, the trips will still be running and the eight inches of snow should enhance your trip. Please remember that tickets are non-refundable so please plan your trip accordingly. Unless there is a State of Emergency declared by local or state government forbidding us from operating, we will run your trip. We will do our best to contact you in the case of emergency. If your trip is unable to run due to an emergency, your tickets will be fully refunded or traded for the next years North Pole Express based on your preference.
7. Q: Where do we park once we arrive?
A: If you are departing from the Steam Railroading Institute, free parking is available in the lot in between the NCG Movie Theater and JC Penney’s directly across the river from us. We ask visitors to be considerate of designated business/residential lots around Downtown Owosso and keep them clear for their customers/residents. Handicap parking is conveniently located on the north side of our building.
Departure from destination locations will have a communication email sent out at least a week prior to the event to let you know where you will be able to pick up your tickets, where the parking is available, and any special circumstances related to that city. If you look just below the Event title, the location, and the date, on the ticket ordering section of our web site, you will find a link that says "Get Directions." That will lead you to our departure location and boarding place.
8. Q: Is there lodging available in the area?
A: Please see the Shiawassee County Lodging and Camping page by the Shiawassee County Convention and Visitor Bureau.
http://www.shiawassee.org/ Another suggestion for the destination trips we do is to check with those local Convention and Visitor Bureau's. They are a great wealth of local knowledge and can help lead you to treasures that you might not find through a computer as they tend to know their communities and the business owners as well.
9. Q: What are the seating arrangements and how are seat assignments handled for the North Pole Express?
A: Our seating arrangements are similar to airline and charter bus seating. Our coaches are historic 1940's/50's built passenger cars with a single center aisle and two seats on either side of the aisle. They are in groups of four in most of the cocoa, coach, and general seating tickets. (This address will show you pictures:
https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.1067818093236203.1073741930.122199547798067&type=3). For most of the trips throughout the year, we will take our traditional train set which currently has approximately 360 Coach Class seats and 20-30 Caboose seats. For the North Pole Express, there are approximately 70-110 seats available in each coach, and over 800 seats per train. Seating assignments for Cocoa Class and Coach Class are completed the day of check-in, and we will do the best we can to accommodate parties at that time, but we cannot guarantee large groups can sit together without prior notice. Economy Class has general seating and is a first come, first served basis. It is very difficult to seat large groups of people in general seating, so please make sure you come early and board with your entire party. The Steam Railroading Institute staff and volunteers try to the best of our ability to accommodate special requests but may not always be able to do so.
10. Q: What is the cost for children?
A: Our policy is 18 months and under may sit on parents lap and do not require a ticket. Everyone else is required to purchase a ticket. Our tickets are sold by seat.
The Museum cost is $5 for ages 4 and older, with group rates available upon reservation. (989)725-9464 opt 4
11. Q: Are you wheel chair accessible?
A: Please provide prior notification to the Steam Railroading Institute (SRI) staff of any special physical needs that are required by a patron visiting the SRI property or excursion equipment. The SRI property grounds and equipment are not fully handicap accessible due to the SRI historical preservation nature of its properties and equipment.
12. Q: What are your Museum’s normal hours of operation?
A: Memorial Day - Labor Day: Wednesday - Saturday 10:00 am - 4:00 pm,
Labor Day - Memorial Day: Friday - Saturday 10:00 am - 4:00 pm
(We close during (Starting the week before Thanksgiving) the North Pole Express until the end of February.)
13. Q: May I bring my own cooler with drinks and snacks on the train?
A: No coolers, for security reasons and space constraints we must ask that no coolers be brought on the train. We do not allow outside food or beverages to be brought on the train with the only exception being in the case of dietary or medical necessity, and those who would like something to eat or drink on board the train are welcome to visit the concession car on board. ABSOLUTELY NO OUTSIDE ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES MAY BE BROUGHT ON THE TRAIN, IF YOU DO THEY WILL BE CONFISCATED. Some of our trips will have a bar available during the trip, but during the North Pole Express trips we will not be serving alcohol.