Kansas City Southern (KCS) recently announced the schedule for the 19th annual Holiday Express train, which plans to stop in 20 communities in five U.S. states on 25 dates and begins in late November.
Visitors will be allowed to board the train, meet Santa and his elves, and tour the inside of three cars of the six-car train. Each event is free and open to the public, KCS noted.
Over the past 18 years, Holiday Express has raised more than $2.1 million, which was donated to The Salvation Army at each scheduled stop.
The Holiday Express schedule begins on November 27 with a private event in Shreveport, La., for KCS employees, and opens to the public two days later in LaPlace, La. The entire Holiday Express schedule can be found here. Charitable donations to Holiday Express can be made here, though the campaign closes on November 14.
KCS said that “the Holiday Express was built on the tradition of the Santa Train, which ran on a segment of the network bought by KCS in 1997. In 2000, a group of KCS employees noticed that the Santa Train was the only Christmas some kids had, and that some kids did not have essential items like coats, hats and gloves, so they committed to elevating the project. In 2001, volunteers transformed a retired freight train to the KCS Holiday Express experience that thousands enjoy every year.
“Led by KCS’ Southern Belle business train, the Holiday Express train includes a smiling tank car ‘Rudy’; a flat car carrying Santa’s sleigh, reindeer and a miniature village; a gingerbread boxcar; an elves’ workshop; the reindeer stable; and a little red caboose. Each car is dressed in lights.”
“KCS is thrilled to bring joy to communities throughout our network with the Holiday Express project,” said KCS President and CEO Patrick J. Ottensmeyer. “This special tradition brings people together, strengthens community ties and supports our corporate values.”