Kansas City, Mo. — Kansas City Southern (KCS) announced its 19th annual Holiday Express will distribute $170,450 to The Salvation Army at stops along the route to provide warm clothing and other necessities for kids in need this holiday season.
“KCS looks forward to bringing Santa and his elves on the Holiday Express train to communities throughout our U.S. network. We are especially pleased to continue the long-standing tradition of charitable giving,” said KCS president and chief executive officer Patrick J. Ottensmeyer. “This project brings people together, strengthens community ties and supports our corporate vision and values.”
The train will stop in 20 communities in five states on 25 dates, including De Queen on Dec. 10 at 4 p.m. At each stop, visitors can board the train, meet 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.
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 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 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 KCS Holiday Express experience that thousands enjoy every year.