Beloved holiday train is back on the tracks to delight families in 3 Mississippi cities this Christmas season

Published 11:28 am Thursday, November 10, 2022

A beloved holiday tradition is back on the tracks for Mississippi residents this Christmas season.

The first KCS Holiday Express train since the start of the pandemic in 2020 will return to three Mississippi cities this holiday.

This year, the festive, six-car holiday train with intricate displays inside and out will bring Santa Claus and his elves to visit children and families in 20 communities in eight states. The train will stop in Vicksburg on Nov. 26 at 4 p.m., in Pearl on Nov. 27 at 4 p.m. and in Meridian on Nov. 28 at 4 p.m.

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In addition, the KCS Holiday Express project will continue its tradition of charitable giving to The Salvation Army.

“KCS is thrilled that we can once again run the Holiday Express train and stop in communities along our rail network,” said president and CEO Patrick J. Ottensmeyer. “We are grateful to the donors who continued to support the virtual Holiday Express program the last two years, and look forward to another successful fundraising effort to help The Salvation Army help people who need it most during the holiday season.”

Over 21 years, the charitable component of the KCS Holiday Express project has raised well over $2.6 million. Anyone interested in making a tax-deductible contribution to the 2022 KCS Holiday Express fundraising effort may donate here.

“The support of the KCS Holiday Express goes a long way to delivering Christmas to thousands of children who need it most,” said The Salvation Army of Kansas and Western Missouri divisional commander Major Kelly Collins. “From Texas to Missouri and points beyond, all of our officers, staff, volunteers and especially the people we serve are extremely grateful for the 22-year-long commitment by KCS and the Holiday Express.”

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 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 into the KCS Holiday Express experience that thousands of people enjoyed for 19 years prior to the start of the pandemic.

In the first 19 years, the KCS Holiday Express train stopped in 20 or more communities in five or six states between Thanksgiving and Christmas. At each stop, visitors could board the train, meet Santa and his elves and tour the inside of three cars of the festive six-car train.

These events return in 2022 after not occurring in the previous two years. The KCS Holiday Express is free to the public at all of its stops.

Headquartered in Kansas City, Mo., KCS is a transportation holding company that has railroad investments in the U.S., Mexico and Panama. KCS’ North American rail holdings and strategic alliances with other North American rail partners are primary components of a unique railway system, linking the commercial and industrial centers of the U.S., Mexico and Canada.