KANSAS CITY, Mo..–Kansas City Southern (KCS) announced its schedule for the 16th annual Holiday Express train, which will stop in 22 communities in seven U.S. states on 26 dates. At each stop, visitors can board the train, visit with Santa and his elves and tour the inside of three cars of the festive six-car train. Each event is free and open to the public.
In addition to free, public events, KCS’ Holiday Express has a charitable component. Over 16 years, the project has raised well over $1 million to purchase gift cards, which are donated to The Salvation Army at each scheduled stop. These gift cards are used to purchase warm clothing and other necessities for children in the local community.
“KCS is pleased to continue its long-standing Holiday Express tradition,” said president and CEO Patrick J. Ottensmeyer. “As a company, we value family and being responsible corporate citizens. It’s a pleasure to give back and bring the holiday spirit to communities where we operate and where our employees live and work.”
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. 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’ U.S. service territory enjoy today.
Led by KCS’ Southern Belle business train, the Holiday Express train includes a smiling tank car “Rudy”; a flatcar carrying Santa’s sleigh, reindeer and a miniature village; a ginger bread boxcar; a newly remodeled elves’ workshop; the reindeer stable; and a little red caboose. Each car is dressed in lights.