Character information
Home Between Flat Top Tunnel and Glacier Gulch
Background information
Performed by Tom Hanks
Appeared in The Film
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— Steamer commenting on the size of the herd.
The caribou are animals who appear in the 2004 film, The Polar Express. They are all played by Tom Hanks.

Role in the Film

While Smokey and Steamer are fixing the locomotive's headlight, they notice some lights in the distance and call out to Hero Girl, who was driving the locomotive, to stop. She and Hero Boy, who was with her in the engine room, get the message, but they have trouble agreeing on which lever is the brake. Hero Boy eventually pulls the one Hero Girl initially claimed was the brake, which stops the train just in time to avoid crashing into a large caribou crossing.

Steamer estimates that the herd consists of a hundred thousand to a million caribou and will therefore take a long time to clear the track. The Conductor, Hero Girl, and Hero Boy head to the front of the train to try to help when Hero Boy slips and grabs onto Smokey's beard to break his fall. This causes Smokey to scream in pain, which the caribou are able to understand, so the Conductor continues pulling his beard to communicate with them and they manage to get the caribou to clear the track, allowing the train to continue.


  • The caribou are part of many characters who appear in the film, but not in the book.
  • The sounds the caribou make in the film are actually the sounds of elk.
  • Caribou are of the same species as reindeer, Rangifer tarandus, the animals of Santa's sleigh.


Children: Hero Boy (Chris) Hero Girl (Holly) Know-It-All Billy the Lonely Boy Sister Sarah Gus the Toothless Boy Boy on Train Red Head Girl Little Boy Young Boy Steven
Adults: Conductor Hobo Smokey and Steamer Santa Claus Pastry Chefs Waiters Hero Boy's Parents Cook
Elves: Elves Acrobatic Elves Elf General Elf Lieutenant Elf Singer
Animals: Caribou Santa Claus' Reindeer
Toys: Ebenezer Scrooge Puppet Jack-in-the-Boxes Puppets