Keolis North Pole Express Train Transports Children to Visit Santa Claus

Local officials joined more than 1,000 children and families for sing-alongs and readings of the holiday classic “The Polar Express”

BOSTON – December 2, 2023 – Keolis Commuter Services (Keolis), the MBTA’s commuter rail operating partner, hosted Greater Boston-area children for a festive North Pole Express train ride. Wearing pajamas and singing holiday songs, more than 1,000 children and their families embarked on a journey to the “North Pole” and back as part of a full afternoon of free holiday activities.

At South Station guests were greeted with music and holiday decorations, while children were treated to snacks, gifts and activities, prior to boarding the decorated train. On board, elected officials and community leaders read books and led holiday sing-alongs. The return portion of the trip featured a visit from Santa Claus and his elves. Tickets for this invitation-only event were provided to families served by local nonprofit organizations (see full list below).

“The North Pole Express shares the true meaning of the holiday season. This special event invites children to go on an adventure to the North Pole and fill their day with the holiday spirit on a train filled with treats, festive cheer, and holiday dreams. There is nothing more exciting for us than creating fun memories for the families and communities we serve,” said MBTA General Manager and CEO Phillip Eng. “I thank Keolis for hosting such a wonderful event every year and hope the families aboard the North Pole Express enjoy the readings. We wish everyone a joyful time with friends and family this holiday season and a safe, healthy, and happy New Year.”

“This event is a highlight of our year, it is so wonderful to be able to bring joy to so many families during the holiday season,” said Abdellah Chajai, CEO and General Manager of Keolis Commuter Services. “We’re very grateful for all of the participating organizations and community leaders, and our teams who worked hard to plan and deliver this special train ride to the North Pole.”

Each coach car featured elected officials and local celebrities as readers of Chris Van Allsburg’s classic “The Polar Express”, including:

  • Secretary Monica Tibbits-Nutt
  • Phil Eng, General Manager of the MBTA
  • Abdellah Chajai, CEO of Keolis Commuter Services 
  • Ryan Coholan, MBTA Chief Operating Officer
  • Michael Muller, MBTA Executive Director of Commuter Rail
  • Kevin Hayden, District Attorney
  • Thomas McGee, MBTA Board of Directors
  • Mary Skelton Roberts, MBTA Board of Directors
  • State Senator Liz Miranda
  • State Representative Russell Holmes
  • State Representative Dan Hunt
  • State Representative Christopher Worrell
  • Boston City Councilor Brian Worrell
  • Marilyn Forman, Co-Chair of Fairmount Indigo Transit Coalition

Keolis organized and sponsored the North Pole Express, working with many local nonprofit organizations to invite families with limited financial means to participate in this invitation-only event. Partnering organizations included: South Boston Neighborhood House, The Home for Little Wanderers, Boys & Girls Clubs of Boston, Big Sister Association of Greater Boston, Rosie's Place, Boys and Girls Club of Lynn, Horizons for Homeless Children, Family Independence Initiative, Boys & Girls Club of Dorchester, The Family Center - Community Connections of Brockton, Children’s Friend and Family Services – Salem and Lynn and Fairmount Indigo Transit Coalition.

Keolis Commuter Services operates and maintains the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority’s commuter rail system, the sixth largest commuter rail operation in North America. KCS is a subsidiary of Keolis North America (KNA), both headquartered in Boston, and employs approximately 2,500 people throughout the region. KCS and KNA are part of Keolis Group, an innovative global leader in transit services with more than a century of passenger transportation experience and operations in 13 countries.