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Special train will take 600 disadvantaged children from South Station to ‘North Pole’

More than 600 disadvantaged children and families will depart from South Station Saturday for a festive journey on the North Pole Express, complete with a visit from Santa Claus and a re-creation of the “Polar Express” storybook.

Twenty-five local youth charities joined with the Massachusetts Bay Commuter Railroad Co. to provide the children with a ride on decorated coaches from South Station to the Fairmont commuter rail stop in Hyde Park where Santa Claus will board the train.

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During the ride, each child will receive a copy of “The Polar Express” to keep pace with adults who will be reading the book to them. The children will be allowed to have as much hot chocolate as they can drink, accord­ing to the railroad.

Many officials and their spouses have been invited to read the story aloud to the children, including the governor’s wife, Diane Patrick; the mayor’s wife, Angela Menino; MBTA acting general manager Jonathan Davis; and Hugh Kiley, general manager of the railroad.

Upon the children’s return, they will sign a “get well soon” card for Mayor Thomas M. Menino, who remains at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, said railroad spokes­woman Rhiannon D’Angelo.

To end the evening, the children will stay at South Station for a viewing of the movie “The Polar Express.”

This is the third year the railroad has sponsored the North Pole Express ride, as well as the most charities it has worked with, D’Angelo said.

Sarah N. Mattero can be reached at sarah.mattero@
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