November 25, 2017 – TRA Newswire –

Kansas City Southern’s 17th annual Holiday Express will distribute a total of $172,500 in gift cards to The Salvation Army at stops along the route hard hit by Hurricane Harvey in Texas.  The gift cards are designated for the purchase of warm clothing and other necessities for kids in need.

As part of the total, in addition to matching employee gifts up to $20,000, The Kansas City Southern Charitable Fund donated another $5,000 designated to support the purchase of gift cards for Hurricane Harvey-affected Holiday Express stops, including Victoria, El Campo, Kendleton and Beaumont, Texas.

“KCS looks forward to bringing Santa and his elves on the Holiday Express train to communities throughout our U.S. service territory, and we are especially pleased to continue the tradition of charitable giving to each community where the train will stop,” said KCS president and chief executive officer Patrick J. Ottensmeyer.

Major sponsors for this year’s charitable contribution  include Bartlett Grain, GATX Corporation, Husch Blackwell LLP, ITS ConGlobal, Kansas City Southern Historical Society, Michael and Marlys Haverty Family Foundation, Patrick J. Ottensmeyer and Deanne Porter, RailPros Field Services, Royals Charities, Stonemont Financial Group, Wabtec Unitrac Railroad Materials and Watco Companies.

The train will stop in 22 communities in six states on 26 dates.  The complete schedule is available on the KCS website.  At each stop, visitors will be able to 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.

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.

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.