|Born||Sometime between 1900 and 1910|
|Primary wardrobe||White shirt with black tie, blue jacket and a conductor hat.|
|Occupation||Polar Express conductor|
|Likes||Being on time|
|Dislikes||Not Being on Time|
|Songs||The Polar Express, Hot Chocolate|
|Performed by||Tom Hanks (film)|
Jim Hanks (video game)
|Appeared in||The Book and the Film|
The Conductor is the conductor of the Polar Express. He is determined to get to the North Pole on time and usually finds Hero Boy at the heart of every problem.
He was both portrayed in motion capture and voiced by Tom Hanks who also voiced Woody from the Toy Story franchise and portrays Viktor Navorski from The Terminal.
Role in the Book
After the Polar Express stops in front of Hero Boy's house, the Conductor steps out and looks at his window, prompting him to come outside. The Conductor tells him that the train is here to take him to the North Pole, so Hero Boy holds out his hand and the Conductor pulls him on board.
Later, the children see lights in the distance, which the Conductor says is the North Pole. The children see no elves when they get there. The Conductor explains that they are gathering at the center of the city where Santa Claus give the first gift of Christmas to one of the children. After the train stops at the Square, the Conductor leads the children outside and through the crowd of elves. He also helps Hero Boy onto Santa's sleigh when he gets chosen to receive the first gift.
When Hero Boy gets dropped off, the Conductor wishes him a Merry Christmas, but Hero Boy could not hear him from his house, so the Conductor cups his hands around his mouth and shouts it just as the train leaves.
Throughout the entire book, the Conductor only appears in the second illustration in which he is looking out the passenger car at Hero Boy. The illustration is mainly a view of the entire train, so the Conductor himself is barely visible.
Role in the Film
The Conductor plays a much larger role in the film than in the book, mostly due to its much longer story.
On the Polar Express
The Conductor is first seen stepping out of the train after Hero Boy runs outside, calling out, "All aboard!" Hero Boy walks over to him, who explains that the train is here to take him to the North Pole due to his recent signs of disbelief in the Christmas spirit. Hero Boy turns it down, but decides just as the train is leaving to jump on.
Later, the Conductor punches the children's tickets. He first goes to Hero Boy, who looked confused, so he suggests checking his pocket. When he finds only a hole, the Conductor suggests the other pocket, where he finds a shiny golden ticket, much to his surprise, and hands it to the Conductor, who punches a "B" on one end and an "E" on the other. He punches "LE" for Know-It-All, who calls the Conductor a show off with his ticket-punching skills.
The train soon stops at 11344 Edbrooke Avenue to pick up Billy. The Conductor invites him to get on the train in the same manner as he did with Hero Boy. Billy turns it down, but changes his mind and runs after the train just as it leaves. However, it is moving too fast, so Hero Boy stops the train by pulling the emergency brake. An angry Conductor storms in and berates Hero Boy for pulling the brake, thinking he was either messing around or trying to cause delays, until Hero Girl steps in to explain the situation. The Conductor sees Billy taking a seat in the observation car and lets Hero Boy off with a reminder of the train's tight schedule. The Conductor must have punched Billy's ticket at some point during the journey, most likely when he and Hero Girl were bringing him hot chocolate, but such a scene is not shown in the film. The word "ON" is seen on the ticket before the Conductor punches it again for the return journey.
When the train is moving again, the Conductor asks over the intercom if any of the children want refreshments. Everyone raises their hands in excitement, so a group of waiters and chefs come in and serve them hot chocolate while singing "Hot Chocolate" with the Conductor. After they leave, the Conductor assists Hero Girl to the observation car to give Billy the hot chocolate she saved for him, since she would be violating railroad safety regulations had she crossed moving cars without a grown up, according to Know-It-All.
Later, the Conductor realizes he forgot to punch Hero Girl's ticket, but Hero Girl cannot find it due to Hero Boy losing it while trying to give it back to her, so he takes her to the back to the train, onto the roof and to the cab of the locomotive. Hero Boy, with the help of the Hobo, gets to the cab too and applies the train's brakes when Smokey and Steamer, who were at the front of the locomotive fixing its headlamp, call out to stop the train. Once again, the Conductor gets mad at Hero Boy until Hero Girl shows him the herd of caribou crossing the track. While the three go to the front of the train, Hero Boy slips and uses Smokey's beard to break his fall, making Smokey scream in pain, which the caribou are able to understand. The Conductor continues pulling on Smokey's beard to communicate with them and manages to get them to move off the tracks, allowing the train to continue.
Hero Boy, Hero Girl and the Conductor stay at the front of the locomotive. Hero Boy notes how fast they are going, so the Conductor asks Hero Girl to call out to the engineer to slow down, but they were too busy trying to fix a jammed throttle to listen. The Conductor, realizing that they were approaching Glacier Gulch, the steepest downhill grade in the world, while going too fast, fastens Hero Boy and Hero Girl onto the safety bar and warns them to hold tightly.
After the gulch, the train slides onto the Ice Lake. Smokey and Steamer use the hairpin from Smokey's hair to fix the throttle and stop the train, but the old pin pierces the ice, causing it to crack. The Conductor is initially angry at the engine's crew for the havoc, but forgets to be angry when he sees the cracking ice and tells them to get the train off the lake. They find tracks at the other side and head towards them with the Conductor navigating. The cracking ice soon reaches them, but the train lands on the rails underneath and makes it off the lake. Meanwhile, Hero Boy gives Hero Girl's ticket back and the Conductor punches "LE" out of it, the same letters as Know-It-All.
The Conductor leads the children back to the passenger cars by going through the abandoned toy car. He tells them that Santa came up with an idea in which the train collects toys from around the world that have been mistreated and takes them to the North Pole where they are refurbished.
At the North Pole
While Hero Boy, Hero Girl and Billy were watching the Northern Lights from the observation car, the Conductor comes by to tell them they have crossed the Arctic Circle and points at the lights in the distance. He compares them to "the lights of a strange ocean liner sailing on a frozen sea" and says it is the North Pole. When they arrive, the Conductor cries with tears of joy over being on time, but the children are confused by the lack of elves outside. The Conductor explains that they are gathering at the Square where Santa will give one of the children the first gift of Christmas. When train stops at the Square, the Conductor and the children get off. Hero Boy and Hero Girl tell the Conductor about Billy staying behind in the observation car, but the Conductor says he is not required to come. Hero Boy and Hero Girl still go to try to convince him to come anyway.
The Conductor later greets Hero Boy, Hero Girl, Know-It-All and Billy back after they are rescued from the bag of presents. He also helps Hero Boy off the sleigh after Hero Boy is given the silver bell, then watches Santa fly away to make his annual deliveries.
After Santa leaves, the children line up at the passenger cars to get their tickets punched again for the return trip, each time resulting in a word or phrase that includes the letters punched earlier. Know-It-All's ticket reads "LEARN", though he initially reads it as "LEAN" since one of his fingers was covering the R. Billy's ticket reads "DEPEND ON", but it changes to "RELY ON" and "COUNT ON" each time he flips it over. The Conductor calls it "some special ticket." Hero Girl gets "LEAD" (leed), though she initially pronounces it as the metal lead (led) like lead balloon. Hero Boy's ticket, which the Conductor punched behind his back, reads "BELIEVE", but the Conductor interrupts him before he reads it out loud, saying he does not need to know.
The Conductor helps Billy and Hero Boy off the train at their respective houses with a step stool while advising them to watch their steps. After Hero Boy gets back to his house, the Conductor wishes him a Merry Christmas, but Hero Boy does not hear, so the Conductor cups his hands around his mouth and shouts it just as the train leaves.
While the other children go to look for their missing tickets, Hero Girl distracts the Conductor to make sure no one gets thrown off the train. After the caribou crossing, he was about to have Hero Girl leave the train when Hero Boy remembers that he still has her ticket and hands it back to her. Later, the Conductor invites the children to the dining car for refreshments. He asks Hero Boy to fill in for a missing waiter, which he agrees to do. After that, the Conductor's appearances are limited to scenes from the film.
In other languages
|French||Le Contrôleur||Jean-Philippe Puymartin|
|Italian||Il Controllore||Francesco Pannofino|
|Spanish||Conductor||Salvador Delgado (speaking voice, Latin America)|
Beto Castillo (singing voice, Latin America)
Jordi Brau (Spain)
- The Conductor sings the soundtrack version of the title song along with a chorus of children, though only the children sing in the film version. The version with the Conductor's vocals, however, plays during the credits.
- One of the Conductor's lines in the film, "They look like the lights of a strange ocean liner sailing on a frozen sea." is said in the book by the narrator. It is also said in the past tense.
- "All aboard!"
- "Well, you coming?"
- "Why to the North Pole of course! This is The Polar Express!"
- "Tickets! Tickets, please!"
- "Next stop, 11344 Edbrooke."
- "Who in the blazes applied that emergency brake?!"
- "You! In case you didn't know, that cord is for emergency purposes only! And in case you weren't aware, tonight is Christmas Eve, and in case you haven't noticed, this train is on a very tight schedule! Now, young man, Christmas may not be important to some people, but it is very important to the rest of us!"
- "Well... Let me remind you we are on a very tight schedule. And I've never been late before, and I am certainly not going to be late tonight! Now, everybody, take your seats, please!... Thank you."
- "Your attention please, are there any Polar Express passengers in need of refreshment?"
- "Ah! These tickets... are not... transferable!"
- "There could be no Christmas, without The Polar Express arriving on time! Am I the only one who understands that?!! You! I should have known. Young man, are you bound to determine that this train never reaches the North Pole?!"
- "Caribou crossing!"
- "We are in some, serious jelly!"
- "Problem solved, all ahead slow!"
- Well, considering the fact that we have lost communication with the engineer, we're standing totally exposed on the front of the locomotive, the train appears to be accelerating uncontrollably, and we are rapidly approaching Glacier Gulch, which just happens to be the steepest downhill grade in the world, I suggest we all hold on TIGHTLY!"
- "Jiminy Christmas! The ice has frozen over the tracks!"
- "What in the name of Mike?!"
- "Get us the blazes out of here!"
- "Turn the sled around!"
- "Seeing is believing, but sometimes the most real things in the world are the things we can't see."
- "Hey, you three! We just crossed it. Latitude 66 degrees 33 minutes, the Arctic Circle. And do you see those lights in the distance? They look like the lights of a strange ocean liner sailing on a frozen sea. There... is the North Pole."
- "We made it! With five minutes to spare! We made it! Ha, ha!"
- "He will choose one of you."
- "They are gathering in the center of the city. That is where Santa will give the first gift of Christmas. He will choose... one of you."
- "I may be just an old railroader and know nothing about lighter-than-air craft, but from my layman's perspective, you need more altitude!"
- "'LEAN' is spelled with four letters; I believe I punched five."
- "I believe it also is pronounced 'LEAD.' (leed) As in 'leader,' 'leadership.' 'Lead the way.' Follow you anywhere, ma'am."
- "Watch your step, please."
- "The thing about trains... it doesn't matter where they're going. What matters is deciding to get on."
- "MERRY CHRISTMAS!"