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"11344 Edbrooke. Next stop, 11344 Edbrooke."
— The Conductor announcing the train's next stop over the intercom.

11344 Edbrooke Avenue (the number is referred to as "one hundred thirteen forty-four") is a small, old, run-down house which exists near a graveyard on the wrong side of the tracks in Grand Rapids, Michigan. It is where Billy the Lonely Boy lives.

Role in the film

The Polar Express stops in front of the house to pick up Billy. Know-It-All is slightly surprised by this as he thought Hero Boy was the last passenger. The Conductor steps outside and introduces the train in the same manner as he did to Hero Boy earlier. Billy turns it down, so the Conductor gets back on board and the train starts. Billy eventually changes his mind, but the train is already going too fast for him to catch up until Hero Boy, as suggested by Know-It-All, pulls the emergency brake and stops the train.

While at the North Pole, Hero Boy, Hero Girl, and Billy find a present with Billy's name and the same address on it.

The train stops at the house again on the return journey to drop off Billy. Before getting off, he is asked by Know-It-All where he is going before telling him they are at his house. He also thanks Hero Boy for stopping the train for him. After Billy gets home, he finds the present he saw earlier and goes outside to show that Santa has been to his house.

The Conductor also announces the address as the next stop at the end of the Polar Express song.

Behind the scenes

The address of Billy's house comes from that of Robert Zemeckis' childhood home, 11344 S Edbrooke Avenue, in the south of Chicago, Illinois. The house itself was inspired by a real-life house on the same street two doors down, 11352 S Edbrooke Avenue, which production designer Rick Carter chose after visiting Zemeckis' old neighborhood. The two top windows were made to give the house a sad-looking expression, which would change to a more happier expression near the end of the movie.[1]

Trivia

  • Billy's house, like Billy himself, does not appear in the book.
  • In real life, there is not a street called Edbrooke Avenue in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

References

  1. Cotta Vaz, Mark. Starkey, Steve. (November 4, 2004) The Art of the Polar Express, Chronicle Books. p. 19, 46, 140. ISBN 978-0811846592.
Locations
Grand Rapids, MI Grand Rapids, Michigan Hero Boy's house Herpolsheimer's 11344 Edbrooke Avenue
The Journey Forest Flat Top Tunnel Glacier Gulch Ice Lake Corkscrew Mountain North Pole Bridge
North Pole North Pole North Pole Square Surveillance room Wrapping hall Sorting room
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