The Catskill Mountain Railroad (CMRR), is a heritage railroad based in Kingston, New York, that began operations in 1982. CMRR leases the former New York Central Railroad Catskill Mountain branch from Kingston to Highmount, New York, where it connects with the Delaware & Ulster Railroad (DURR) tourist operation. The tracks were purchased by Ulster County in 1979 from the estate of Penn Central and subsequently leased to CMRR in 1991 for 25 years. The Catskill Mountain Railroad is a for-profit organization dedicated to preserving the railroad corridor for all-season recreational use. All shareholders are also volunteers on the railroad. We depend on ticket sales and volunteer efforts to operate and make continuous improvements. We thank you for your support, and look forward to seeing you on our trains!
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We can trace our roots back to the original Rondout & Oswego Railroad that began construction in 1868. The Ulster & Delaware Railroad took over in 1876 and pushed to complete the railroad to Oneonta by 1900. Trains carried vital freight and tourist traffic to and from the Catskills. Bluestone for the sidewalks of New York was quarried here and dairy products from area farms were rushed to the city by rail. As one of the first all-weather routes into the Catskills, the railroad enjoyed considerable success bringing vacationers to the grand hotels and boarding houses by the thousands.
Between 1908 and 1912, the railroad carried supplies for the construction of the Ashokan Reservoir, part of the system of reservoirs feeding New York City. When the reservoir was completed, nearly 13 miles of the Ulster & Delaware Railroad were relocated to an easement on property owned by New York City to compensate for the old route that was now under water.
The Ulster & Delaware Railroad was purchased by the New York Central Railroad in 1932, and it became their Catskill Mountain Branch. Following the cancellation of the last postal service contract, passenger service on the line ended in 1954. The New York Central and Pennsylvania Railroads merged in 1968 to form Penn Central, though service continued to decline on the branch. Operation of the route passed to Conrail, but there were no plans to retain the line after the last freight run on October 2, 1976.
Thanks to the original commitment from county government and the many tireless volunteers who believe in the future of the Ulster & Delaware Railroad Corridor, the Catskill Mountain Railroad continues to grow and expand to serve a greater number passengers year after year.
We took the Polar Express with our grandchildren and family on the day after Thanksgiving!! What a wonderful experience. It was magical. The train cars are beautiful, decorated for the holidays and spacious.
The whole experience was well run, well organized and good for anyone young and old!! Some families came in their pajamas!!
The staff on the train were friendly, personable and looked like they were having as much fun as the passengers! The young ladies dressed as cooks were from Kingston & Onteora High Schools. They were amazing!! They went around to all of the families and spoke to the children, took pictures and made sure everyone was having a great time!!
Santa was the best!! He looked great, talked to each family and posed for pictures. This will be a very special memory for years to come.
We plan to make this an annual tradition. Thank you to everyone at the Catskill Mountain Railroad for creating such a special experience!!
romara711 (from tripadvisor.com), Peekskill, NY
November 28, 2016
The crew / elves are entertaining all trip…
Fun time with the whole family
We went in early December, and booked the trip for the evening @ 7pm. Better at night so the kids can’t see out the windows especially if there is little or no snow. The crew/ elves are entertaining all trip and provide great chocolate cookies and hot chocolate. Santa comes on board too. Everyone gets a jingle bell (and if you still believe – it rings!)
bigdipper47 (from tripadviser.com), Bohemia, NY
January 17, 2017
…hands down one of the best Christmas rides we’ve ever taken.
The Polar Express was awesome!
We had an awesome time on the Catskill Mountain Railroad – we rode for the first time on The Polar Express and we were not disappointed! The staff and crew were amazing and this was hands down one of the best Christmas rides we’ve ever taken. The ride overall was a quick ride at slow speeds, so don’t expect an express – but the experience was top-notch overall.
The only downside that I can think of was the lack of bathrooms on the train itself – most rides we take have those as well, but this is well advertised when you order and board, so it is not a surprise.
We’ll look forward to riding this railroad again!
Rob H. (from tripadvisor.com), Keymar, Maryland
November 26, 2017
Children smiled from start to finish as did the adults!
This Polar Express ride was fantastic. The crew was very engaging and the children smiled from start to finish as did the adults! I found this trip to be way more festive than the one I took in Saratoga several years ago with my grandson. I recommend this very fun holiday activity for families with young children. I was pleasantly surprised.
The train itself is old and slow and the wait outside was a little chilly on a cold winter night, but I still give the whole experience a 5 star. One hint: sit on the opposite side from where you board the train. that’s the side you will see the “North Pole” from.
George626 (from tripadvisor.com), Las Vegas, Nevada
December 21, 2017
The best Santa train ride they had been on
For children, especially my grandchildren, this was the best Santa train ride they had been on and the have been on one every year since they could walk. The crew members entertained the children from start to finish.
vlcnyc (from tripadvisor.com), Staten Island, NY
November 26, 2017
…the kids loved it!
We went on the Polar Express. It was extremely well done and the kids loved it. The customer service was great later on as well after a golden ticket was accidentally destroyed in the washer.
…these trains are really neat…
This is a great attraction , I personally love old things and these trains are really neat. To be able to ride on them is even more incredible. This business draws a lot of Tourism and should be highly supported. The guys and gals that help keep things going there are very knowledgeable and friendly.
…everyone should experience this…
Awesome Experience !!! Truly everyone should experience this, I was here awhile ago (before InterNet); with my young daughter. We both, Loved not only going on bold Trains & original Train tracks. (Foundations & Bridges we’re all installed Only by hand & skilled labor). I definitely would come back, Yearly in the Fall ! Fresh air, inspiring scenery & A Feeling of …..”Going back in time” -. even, with The Train Whistling ?
Nothing like The Polar Express thru the eyes of a child or 2 Grandmas who just wanted to go… Well done !!!!
Long live the rails!
My 2 1/2 year old grand daughter & I loved our excursion on the Easter Bunny Express. She loved collecting the candy and seeing the bunny, friendly fox, & chicks! Long live the rails!
Will be back next year!
Drove up here for the Polar Express experience! All the kids in our family had an amazing time! The young men and women that were performing really did love what they were doing! Just an overall good time great for the family! Will be back next year! Bravo!
Good attitudes and friendly
You will enjoy. Santa, his helpers and all the “performers” are great. Good attitudes and friendly. Reading all of these reviews some good, some negative…. don’t listen to all of the “white noise”. Go book it and try it for yourself. Expect to have a good time if you use your imagination and join in the fun. There’s singing, dancing…. enough fun things to put a smile on your face, unless you’re a miserable Grinch! 🙂
The Polar Express ride was tons of fun for kids and adults
The Polar Express ride was tons of fun for kids and adults. It takes a bit less than two hours, and is non-stop with characters from the movie, not to mention the hot chocolate and cookies. The trip ends with everyone getting a bell from Santa’s sleigh.
My granddaughter can’t wait until next year!
Staff is on point, pay so much attention to the kids, engaging them with song and dance, etc!! This was a Christmas present to my family, My granddaughter can’t wait until next year!
Amazing experience, the train ride was a lot of fun and very educational!