The 21st annual Kansas City Southern (KCS) Holiday Express program will benefit five cities in Texas this year. In partnership with a fundraiser to benefit the Salvation Army the yearly holiday train has raised over $2.6 million over the past 20 years for charity.
Unfortunately, as in 2020, the actual train will not operate due to the ongoing pandemic. The train traditionally draws large crowds in free, public events.
“KCS is pleased to celebrate 21 years of Holiday Express benefiting The Salvation Army in communities throughout our U.S. rail network,” said KCS president and CEO Patrick J. Ottensmeyer. “While it’s still not safe to gather for visits with Santa and tours through the train, the true stars of the show are The Salvation Army and the work it does all year round.”
“In this pandemic, the fastest increasing area of need is for families who will be unable to pay their rent or mortgages and face eviction. The donations The Salvation Army will receive through the KCS Holiday Express will keep families in their homes and keep hope marching on for them into 2022,” said Major Kelly Collins, divisional commander of The Salvation Army Kansas and Western Missouri Division.
In Texas, Houston, Laredo, Port Arthur, Victoria and Wylie, Texas will benefit from the KCS Holiday Express. A total of 21 communities in Texas, Illinois, Kansas, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Oklahoma will receive the funds raised for The Salvation Army.
Anyone interested in making a tax-deductible contribution to the 2021 KCS Holiday Express fundraising campaign may do so at https://donate.salarmymokan.org/KCSHolidayExpress2021.
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 KCS Holiday Express experience that thousands have enjoyed for 19 years.
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 did not take place in 2020 and will not take place in 2021 due to the pandemic.