‘Holiday Express’ sets stop, to aid needy

The 18th annual Kansas City Southern Railroad Holiday Express Christmas Train will be at the Sam Wilhite Transportation Museum in downtown West Point at 4 p.m. Nov. 23.
By: 
DTL Staff
Staff Writer

A growing holiday tradition is returning to West Point in November, to launch the Christmas season on Black Friday.

The 18th annual Kansas City Southern Railroad Holiday Express Christmas Train will be at the Sam Wilhite Transportation Museum in downtown West Point at 4 p.m. Nov. 23.

It’s one of 22 stops in will make in communities in eight states.

To get in the holiday spirit, visitors can spend time with Santa and his elves and tour three cars on the festive six-car train.

The experience is free.

“It’s a great way to kick of the Christmas season and get into the spirit of the holidays. It’s pretty, it’s fun, it’s great for kids of all ages. I hear people tell stories of when they were kids and they’d all go down to see the Christmas train in their communities. That’s what this is all about, bringing everyone together and helping others,” said Lisa Klutts, the executive director of the West Point Clay County Growth Alliance.

The train also is an opportunity for visitors to help the less-fortunate in the community. The railroad collects donations to purchase gift cards which are given to the Salvation Army in each community to buy warm clothing and other basics for needy children.

Since the Holiday Express began running 17 years ago, it’s raised more than $2 million for that cause.

“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.”

Anyone interested in making a tax-deductible contribution to the 2018 KCS Holiday Express fundraising campaign can visit www.kcsouthern.com or click https://gkccf.kimbia.com/kcso00.

The train continues the tradition of what was known as the Santa Train which ran on a segment of the network bought by KCS in 1997. Tains like it have been made famous in a variety of movies, ranging from The Christmas Train on Hallmark to the Polar Express, among others.

In 2000, some KCS workers realized the Santa Train had provided the only Christmas some children. With the idea of helping needy children, workers transformed a retired freight train into what is known today as the Holiday Express which runs through the rail line’s service territory each 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.

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