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Kansas City Southern to kick off Holiday Express tour

The Holiday Express will visit 22 communities on 27 dates.
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Kansas City Southern's 18th annual Holiday Express will distribute a total of $171,756 in gift cards to The Salvation Army at stops along its route starting Nov. 21.

The holiday train will visit 22 communities on 27 dates, starting in Shreveport, Louisiana, and wrapping up Dec. 18 in Kansas City, Missouri. Other stops in other states include Mississippi, Texas, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Kansas and Illinois. A complete schedule is available on the KCS website.

"This project brings people together, helps build relationships in the community and supports our corporate vision and values," said KCS President and Chief Executive Officer Patrick Ottensmeyer in a press release.

At each stop, visitors can board the train and tour three of its six rail cars filled with holiday displays. Children may visit with Santa Claus. The event is free to the public.

The Class I's 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, KCS employees noticed that the Santa Train was the only Christmas that some children on the route had, and that some did not have essential items such as coats, hats and gloves, so they committed to elevating the project, KCS officials said.

In 2001, volunteers transformed a retired freight train into the Holiday Express. At each scheduled stop, a charitable contribution is made to the local Salvation Army to provide warm clothes and other necessities for children in need.

Sponsors for this year's tour include APL Logistics Americas Ltd, Bartlett Grain/Savage Enterprises, Deanne Porter and Patrick Ottensmeyer, Husch Blackwell LLP, Kansas City Southern Historical Society, Michael and Marlys Haverty Family Foundation, Precision Waste Solutions LLC, RailPros, Sirius, Cisco Systems Inc., The Kansas City Southern Charitable Fund, Wabtec Unitrac Railroad Materials and Watco Cos.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

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