Kansas City Southern’s 18th annual Holiday Express will distribute a $171,756 in gift cards to The Salvation Army its 27-stop journey through 22 communities in eight states. The gift cards are designated for the purchase of warm clothing and other necessities for children in need.
Major sponsors who helped make this year’s charitable contribution possible include APL Logistics Americas Ltd.; Bartlett Grain/Savage Enterprises; Deanne Porter and Patrick Ottensmeyer; Husch Blackwell LLP; Kansas City Southern Historical Society; Michael and Marlys Haverty Family Foundation; Precision Waste Solutions, L.L.C.; RailPros; Sirius; Cisco Systems, Inc.; The Kansas City Southern Charitable Fund; Wabtec Unitrac Railroad Materials and Watco Companies. Additional sponsors are listed on the KCS website.
Led by KCS’ Southern Belle business train, the six-car Holiday Express includes a smiling tank car “Rudy”; a flatcar 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.
The complete schedule is available on the KCS website. At each stop, visitors can board the train, visit with Santa and his elves and tour the inside of three cars. Each event is free and open to the public.
“The KCS Holiday Express was built on the tradition of the Santa Train, which ran on a segment of the network bought by KCS in 1997,” KCS noted. “In 2000, a group of warm-hearted 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 experience that communities throughout KCS’s U.S. service territory enjoy today.”
“KCS looks forward to bringing Santa and his elves on the Holiday Express train to communities throughout our U.S. service territory, and we are especially pleased to continue the tradition of charitable giving to each community where the train will stop,” said KCS President and CEO Patrick J. Ottensmeyer. “This project brings people together, helps build relationships in the community and supports our corporate vision and values.”