The Polar Express Wiki

The North Pole Square is a location in both The Polar Express book and film. It is the center of the North Pole City and where the elves gather to watch Santa Claus give the First Gift of Christmas to one of the children who rode on the Polar Express.

Role in the book

After the train arrives at the North Pole, it stops at the North Pole Square where the children and the Conductor get off. They make their way through the elf crowd towards Santa's sleigh where Hero Boy listens to the sound of the silver bells hanging from the reindeer's harness and finds their sound beautiful. Soon, Santa shows up at the Square and chooses Hero Boy as the one to receive the first gift. Sitting on Santa's lap in his sleigh, Hero Boy asks for one of the silver bells, so Santa asks an elf to cut off a bell. The bell is tossed to Santa, who holds it up in the air, declares it the first gift, and gives it to Hero Boy. After that, he flies away in his sleigh to deliver the presents and the Conductor and the children return to the train for the return journey.

Role in the film

When the children get off the train at the Square, Hero Boy and Hero Girl notice Billy staying behind in the observation car and go back to try to convince him to come. However, while getting in the car, Hero Boy steps on a lever that uncouples it from the other cars, causing it to roll away from the Square and down a steep hill. It finally comes to a stop at the roundhouse where the children get off and look for a way back to the Square. Along the way, they pass through other locations around the North Pole, including the Communications Room and the Wrapping Room. They eventually get back to the Square by riding in a big red bag of presents being carried by zeppelins. When they arrive, the elves help them out of the bag.

The elves line up the reindeer in front of the sleigh, then hang silver bells on their harness. Hero Girl comments on their beautiful sound, which confuses Hero Boy, who cannot hear them. Next, Santa shows up and everyone cheers. One of the reindeer's bells comes loose and lands in front of Hero Boy, who picks it up and tries to ring it. It makes no sound until Hero Boy builds up his belief. Santa overhears this and Hero Boy hands the bell to him, claiming it is his. He then talks with the children and chooses Hero Boy to receive the first gift. Hero Boy asks for the bell, which Santa gives to him before flying away in his sleigh and the Conductor and the children return to the train to go home. The elves use a handcar to retrieve the observation car and re-couple it back to the train.


  • "Santa Claus is Comin' to Town" plays over loudspeakers when Santa shows up in the movie.
  • The building Santa Claus comes out of is based on the former clock tower of the Pullman Palace Car Company in Chicago, Illinois.[1]


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