Courtesy photo
Torn down Christmas lights was just part of the damage done by vandals to the Polar Express train ride at the Nevada Northern Railway.

It’s that time of the year when people are thankful, celebrating the holidays with their loved ones and enjoying all of the Holiday festivities.

But for some, causing havoc and destroying decorations brings more delight to them.

It was discovered last Friday, the day before the first Polar Express train ride, that an early-season Grinch had vandalized the North Pole.

Each year the Nevada Northern Railway transforms a part of the Renaissance Village into the North Pole during the Holiday Season for the Polar Express Train experience.

Christmas Lights were torn down, reindeer were ripped from the structures they were secured onto, Santa’s sleigh was damaged by being flipped upside down and several decorations such as the Christmas star were stolen.

Mark Bassett, executive director for the Nevada Northern Railway said, “This vandalism is a huge disappointment to all of us. But its even worse in that a lot of the items that were broken or stolen belong to a volunteer who spent thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours decorating the village to create the North Pole.”

The Polar Express is very unique to Ely.  It’s the time of the year when the Nevada Northern Railway Museum transforms into Chris Van Allisburg’s classic children’s book, the Polar Express, this Christmas season.

Children of all ages ride from Ely to the North Pole.  Hot chocolate and cookies are served by volunteers while listening to the Polar Express story and music from the Polar Express soundtrack.

Santa’s helpers are on board, and Santa Claus awaits the train’s arrival at the North Pole.

“Repairing the damage was an all hands drill. And I’m happy to report that before the first Polar Express arrived at the North Pole, and it looked great.” Bassett said.

A report with the sheriff’s office was completed, and in addition, the railroad is offering a reward of $500.

If you have any information regarding this vandalism, please contact the Sheriff’s Office at 775-289-8808.

Although damage was done, there is no damper on the railroad’s holiday spirit as the Polar Express continues on with their schedule.

“I also would like to thank the Sheriff’s Office for committing to increase patrols in the area,” Bassett said.