The Polar Express Wiki

"There is but one inch of clearance between the roof of this rattler and the roof of Flat Top Tunnel."
— The Hobo describing Flat Top Tunnel to the Hero Boy.

Flat Top Tunnel is a tunnel which appears in the film. Based on its location between Grand Rapids, Michigan and the North Pole, the tunnel is most likely somewhere in Nunavut or northern Ontario.

Role in the film

The Polar Express runs through Flat Top Tunnel on its way to the North Pole. According to the Hobo, there is less than one inch of clearance between the tunnel's roof and the train's. The entrance to the tunnel resembles the face of a monster with the train going through its "mouth" and icicles as its teeth.

In the film, the Hobo helps Hero Boy get to the locomotive before the train enters the tunnel by skiing down the passenger cars. Hero Boy manages to land in the tender just in time, but the Hobo disappears.

In the deleted scene, "It Takes Two", Smokey and Steamer tell Hero Boy and Hero Girl a story about how the Hobo rode on the roof of the train one Christmas Eve and ended up getting killed when the train went through the tunnel. Some say his ghost can be seen riding the train every Christmas Eve.

Other appearances

The Polar Express: The Video Game

The Hobo helps Hero Boy to the locomotive by jumping off the train and skiing down a hill. At the bottom, they jump back onto the train, now being closer to the front, where Hero Boy lands in the tender right before the train enters the tunnel.

The Polar Express Ticket Chase

In the second level, after Hero Boy retrieves his ticket, the player plays as the Hobo and helps Hero Boy back to the first passenger car before the train reaches Flat Top Tunnel while jumping over oncoming obstacles.


  • Flat Top Tunnel does not appear in the book.
  • According to Jerome Chen, the animators created a set that was scaled down to a couple of miles for the scene with the Hobo on top of the train because a normal-scaled set would have been to big.[1]



  1. Cotta Vaz, Mark. Starkey, Steve. (November 4, 2004) The Art of the Polar Express, Chronicle Books. p. 60. ISBN 978-0811846592.
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