Become a Volunteer

Be a part of the magic that is THE POLAR EXPRESS™

November 10 – December 21

Volunteers are needed to create a festive atmosphere through personal interaction, song and techniques to engage visitors as we transport more than 40,000 passengers to the enchantment that is the North Pole! Groups and Individuals are also invited to volunteer at the North Pole but our biggest need is on board the train! Volunteers that commit at least 4 nights onboard the train OR 6 nights at the North Pole receive EARLY ACCESS to 2019 tickets for THE POLAR EXPRESS™ train ride, presented by Countertop Solutions.

Chef or Server | Onboard

This volunteer position is onboard the train where most of the magic happens. As a chef or server, you’ll be the person leading the program in the train car. Some responsibilities include:

  • Greeting people as they climb aboard
  • Assisting with name tags
  • Passing out cookies and cocoa
  • Following along with the book to the audio recording of “The Polar Express”
  • Engaging and interacting with families and children
  • Assisting Santa in handing out bells
  • Lead passengers in Christmas carols and the Pajama Parade
  • Creating a fun and magical atmosphere

If volunteering on board the train we ask that you wear black pants and a white shirt. A chef’s coat or servers apron will be given to you upon arrival. It’s encouraged that chef’s have a back story and stay in character to make the ride to the North Pole magical! “I’m Susie and I’m a pastry chef at the North Pole! I make all sorts of yummy treats like jelly donuts and sugar cookies for Santa and Mrs. Claus! What’s your favorite dessert?”

Santa’s North Pole Helpers | At the North Pole

The North Pole workshop is where all of Santa’s elves patiently wait for the arrival of THE POLAR EXPRESS™! As the train pulls up with children’s faces pressed against the glass, you’ll be there in the midst of the fun! Dancing, singing, playing, making toys and just having a blast are the responsibilities of elves at the North Pole. Come dressed in your own elf gear or put on one of our costumes!

Please note: the children do not deboard the train and only view the North Pole from inside the train.

Click here to learn more about each position, the timing of the event, and responsibilities.


North Pole Training dates

North Pole elves must attend one training session:

  • 10 a.m. on Sunday, October 21 at Tilden House
  • 6 p.m. on Wednesday, October 24 at Tilden House
  • 6 p.m. on Thursday, October 25 at Tilden House
  • 3 p.m. on Saturday, October 27 at Tilden House

The Tilden House is located at 2325 Stine Road, Peninsula, OH 44264. Parking is available in front of the house.

Onboard Training Dates

  • 6 p.m. on Tuesday, October 30 at Fitzwater train yard
  • 6 p.m. on Thursday, November 1 at Fitzwater train yard
  • 11 a.m. on  Saturday, November 3 at Tilden House
  • 11 a.m. on Saturday, November 10 at Tilden House
  • 11 a.m. on Saturday, November 17 at Tilden House
  • 11 a.m. on Saturday, Novemeber 24 at Tilden House
  • 11 a.m. on Saturday, December 1 at Tilden House

Fitzwater train yard is located at 7600 Canal Road, Valley View, OH 44125

Missed a training date? No worries! We’d still love to have you volunteer! Contact Sherri Lemley at or 800-468-4070 x 226 for more information.

Santa positions and other volunteer opportunities available.

Corporate Groups

Looking for a fun way to give back to the community during the holidays with your employees? Consider volunteering for THE POLAR EXPRESS™ as a corporate or organization group! Benefits include:

  • Team-building exercise
  • Flexibility; you get to chose the date you want to come onboard or volunteer at the North Pole
  • Complimentary pizza party if your group exceeds 15 employees. Pizza party is held at the North Pole on a vintage caboose with a wood burning stove and cozy atmosphere
  • Early access to 2019 tickets for THE POLAR EXPRESS™ train ride. (Groups must volunteer a minimum of 4 nights onboard the train OR 6 nights at the North Pole)

Sound like something you want your employees to participate in? Contact Sherri Lemley to sign up your group at or 800-468-4070 x 226

Complete the CVSR volunteer agreement:

We are looking forward to having you aboard – call 800-468-4070, ext 226, if you have questions or need additional information.

Download the CVSRVA Policy and Procedure Manual.

Download CVSRVA Informational Flyer.

Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad Volunteer Association


Dale Pelsozy: CVSRVA President: 216-870-2108

Carol Schroeder: CVSRVA Vice President: 440-526-3837

Sherri Lemley: CVSR Manager – Volunteer Relations: 234-759-0091

News and posts about our volunteers