Kansas City Southern has released its schedule for the 17th annual Holiday Express train, which will stop in 22 communities in six states on 26 dates.
The Holiday Express will stop at Heavener on Dec. 8 at 4 p.m.
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 the past 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 need in the local community.
This year, KCS will work with the Salvation Army to target communities along the route most impacted by Hurricane Harvey for additional support, including Victoria, El Campo, Kendleton and Beaumont, Texas. For these communities, The KCS Charitable Fund will make a supplemental donation to provide additional support as they recover from the hurricane.
KCS and its employees have previously given over $100,000 to the American Red Cross for Hurricane Harvey relief.
“In 2017, KCS celebrates 130 years of doing business and the 17th annual KCS Holiday Express. As a company, we value family and community, which is why we are pleased to continue this long-standing tradition of making the holidays a little brighter in communities where we live and work,” said president and chief executive officer Patrick J. Ottensmeyer. “This year, we want to give extra attention to the communities along the route impacted by Hurricane Harvey.”
Anyone interested in making a tax-deductible contribution to the 2017 KCS Holiday Express fundraising campaign may do so by visiting www.kcsouthern.com > Corporate Responsibility > Holiday Express or by clicking here. The campaign will close October 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 flatcar carrying Santa’s sleigh, reindeer and a miniature village; a gingerbread box car; an elves’ workshop; the reindeer stable; and a little red caboose. Each car is dressed in lights.
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