Kansas City Southern’s Holiday Express will stop in 22 communities and eight states on 27 dates, starting with its departure from Shreveport Yard in Shreveport, LA, after an employee function on Nov. 21.
Kansas City Southern (KCS) (NYSE: KSU) recently announced the schedule for the 18th annual Holiday Express, a charitable fund-raiser for the railroad. 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.
Over the past 17 years, the project has raised well over $2 million to purchase gift cards, which are donated to The Salvation Army at each scheduled stop. The gift cards are used to purchase warm clothing and other necessities for children in need in the local community.
“KCS is proud to continue this long-standing tradition of bringing joy to communities throughout our network with the Holiday Express train,” said KCS president and chief executive officer Patrick J. Ottensmeyer. “This project brings people together, helps build relationships in the community and supports our corporate vision and values.”
Tax-deductible contributions to the 2018 KCS Holiday Express fundraising campaign can be made at www.kcsouthern.com or by clicking here. The campaign closes Oct. 31.
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 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.
The train leaves Shreveport for Westpoint, MS, and heads to Monroe, LA, on Nov. 28. From there, it travels west to East Texas, then returns to Shreveport and heads north through Arkansas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri and Illinois. The train arrives Kansas City, MO, on Dec. 14 for a public display at Union Station. The Holiday Express will remain in Kansas City through Dec. 18.