Utica, NY, Dec 09, 2011 — The Polar Express train ride to see Santa Claus might have been even more memorable than usual - when it went off the rails on the way to the North Pole last night. More than 300 children and adults were on the train. The Utica Fire Department says there was one minor injury, but otherwise no one was hurt.
Molly Hartnett of Manlius was on board with her two grandchildren. She says they hadn't even had hot chocolate yet, when the incident occurred.
"We had pulled out of the station, probably riding about two minutes, very slowly. And bang, bang, bang, it felt like we were being hit or run over by things, and felt like we were in a dip or pothole or something."
Hartnett says the train quickly came to a stop, and it was announced that the train had gone off the tracks. Utica police say four cars derailed.
Hartnett says they waited for a long while, but everyone was in good spirits because Santa's elves were singing and telling jokes. And before they knew it, she says Santa himself was on board, taking his time to talk with each of the children.
"It was really exciting. I think the kids didn't understasnd what was going on, but they knew that something had happened to the train. And Santa told my grandson that Rudolph and the other reindeers had been playing reindeer games, and had gotten into a game of tag football and knocked the train off the tracks."
The passengers eventually boarded buses back to the Utica station. Utica police say an investigation is up the Railroad police. Adirondack Scenic Railroad officials say tonight's two scheduled Polar Express trips have been canceled, but they expect to have the tracks fixed in time for Saturday's 4:30 p.m. trip.