ALMOST 40,000 visitors took their seat on Weardale's Polar Express, which completed the final journey of its debut season last night (Sunday, December 30).

The festive train, operated by the Weardale Railway, in County Durham, was inspired by the Warner Brothers film and story by Chris Van Allsburg, and has been operating since mid-November.

Weardale Railway was one of only two locations selected to launch the UK`s first officially licensed Polar Express train rides - creating 100 seasonal jobs in the process.

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While most people who flocked to the Polar Express, which ran between Stanhope, in Weardale, and a North Pole “location” in the countryside, said they enjoyed the experience, organisers have promised to take on board criticism from others to make next year's operation better for all.

Families travelled from throughout the North-East and from as far afield as Yorkshire, Lancashire and Scotland to be amongst the pyjama-clad passengers to ride the Polar Express.