[first line, as narrator] On Christmas Eve, many years ago I lay quietly in my bed. I did not rustle the sheets. I breathed slowly and silently. I was listening for a sound I was afraid I’d never hear. The ringing bells of Santa’s sleigh.
[last line, as narrator] At one time, most of my friends could hear the bell. But as years passed, it fell silent for all of them. Even Sarah found, one Christmas, that she could no longer hear it's sweet sound. Though I have grown old, the bell still rings for me. As it does for all who truly believe.
[repeated line] I believe.
[to Lonely Boy and worried about Hero Girl] Where'd they go? What happened to them? Please, she's in big trouble and you have to help me.
[singing] The best time of the year
When everyone comes home.
With all this Christmas cheer,
It’s hard to be alone.
Putting up the Christmas tree
With friends who come around.
It’s so much fun
When Christmas comes to town.
Conductor: Why, to the North Pole, of course! This is the Polar Express!
Conductor: Who in the blazes applied that emergency brake?!
Know-It-All: [points to the Hero Boy] He did!
Conductor: You. [sternly approaches the Hero Boy] In case you didn't know, that cord is for emergency purposes only! And in case you weren't aware, tonight is Christmas Eve! And in case you hadn't noticed, this train is on a very tight schedule now, young man. Christmas may not be important to some people, but it is very important to the rest of us!
Hero Boy: But, but, but, but, but...
Hero Girl: He was just trying to stop the train so that kid could get on!
[Conductor sees Billy sitting alone in the next carriage.]
Conductor: I see. Young man, is that what happened?
[Hero Boy nods.]
Conductor: Well, let me remind you we are on a very tight schedule. [checks watch] a-a-and I've never been late before, and I am certainly not going to be late tonight! Now, everybody! Take your seats, please! [Everyone sits down] Thank you.
Conductor: [to Hero Girl] Am I to understand you lost your ticket?
Hero Boy: She didn't lose her ticket, I did. Well, the wind blew it out of my hand. [Shows hero girl his ticket] You can have my ticket.
Conductor: Ah! [snatches it] These tickets are not transferable. [gives back the hero boy his ticket] Young lady, you're just going to have to come along with me. [they leave through the back of the car]
Know-It-All: You know what’s going to happen now, don't ya? He’s going to throw her off the train! Yeah, he’s going to probably throw her right at the rear platform. It’s standard procedure. That way, she won’t get sucked down under the wheels. They may slow the train down a little bit, but they’re never going stop that.
Hero Boy: "Stop that"? That’s it! I have to stop the train again.
Know-It-All: No, please, don’t do that again.
Hobo: Is there something I can do for you?
Hero Boy: I’m looking for a girl.
Hobo: A gir...? [bursts out laughing hysterically] Ain’t we all?
Hobo: What exactly is your persuasion on the big man? Since you brought him up.
Hero Boy: Well, I... I want to believe, but...
Hobo: But you don’t wanna be bamboozled. You don’t wanna be led down the primrose path. You don’t wanna be conned or duped, have the wool pulled over your eyes. Hoodwinked. You don’t wanna be taken for a ride, railroaded. Seeing is believing. Am I right?
Hobo: That skirt you're chasing mustn't moved on ahead. We got to high tail it to the hog, pronto!
Hero Boy: The hog?
Hobo: The engine. The engine, you tenderfoot. We've got to make it before we hit Flat-Top Tunnel.
Hero Boy: Why?
Hobo: [sighs] So many questions. There's but one inch of clearance between the roof of this rattler and the top of Flat-Top Tunnel. Savvy?
[After Hero Boy stops the train seconds before impact with thousands of caribou, Smokey and Steamer, the twins on the front of the engine on the train]
Conductor: There can be no Christmas without the Polar Express arriving on time! Am I the only one who understands that?! [enters the engine's cabin] You! I should've known. Young man, are you bound and determined that this train never reaches the North Pole?
Hero Girl: [leans out of the window of the engine and points her finger at some Caribou] But look!
Conductor: [looks out the window] CARIBOU CROSSING?!
Steamer: I make this herd to be at least 100,000, maybe even 1,000,000! It's gonna be hours before they clear this track!
Smokey: A tough nut to crack!
Conductor: Boy, we are in some serious jelly!
Steamer: And jam!
Smokey: Tight spot!
Steamer: Up a creek!
Smokey: Up a tree!
Steamer: In the grass!
Smokey: I'll tell you what's grass...
Conductor: I don't like the look of this. Quick, under the safety bar!
Hero Boy: Is everything all right? What do we do?
Conductor: Considering the fact that we have lost communications with the engineer, we are standing totally exposed on the front of the locomotive, the train appears to be accelerating uncontrollably, and we are rapidly approaching Glacier Gulch, which happens to be the steepest downhill grade in the world, I suggest, we all hold on... TIGHTLY!!! [the train speeds down with the Conductor, Hero Boy, and Hero Girl standing on the front of the engine]
Conductor: All right. All right, ladies and gentlemen, two columns, if you please. Shorter in the front, taller in the rear. Even-numbered birthdays on the right, odd-numbered on the left. No pushing. No pushing. But let's not dilly-dally, it's five minutes to midnight.
Know-It-All: Hey, what gives? It was five minutes until midnight four minutes ago.
Hero Boy: We're going to be okay. [They get diverted onto another track downhill]MAYBE NOOOOOOOT!!!
Santa: I see you've made some new friends.
Billy: Yes, sir. I sure have.
Santa: That’s a lucky lad. There’s no greater gift than friendship.