Kansas City Southern Railway announced that the 20th anniversary KCS Holiday Express program in partnership with The Salvation Army has raised over $277,000 to benefit the Salvation Army in 20 communities on its U.S. rail network.
Those communities included Beaumont, Corpus Christi, Dallas, Houston, Laredo and Port Arthur in Texas, as well as other towns and cities on the KCS rail network.
“The Salvation Army tells us that the need has always been there, and this year, it’s greater than ever, which is why I’m so pleased that the KCS is celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Holiday Express project bysupporting The Salvation Army in 20 communities on our rail network,” said KCS president and CEO Patrick J. Ottensmeyer. “The KCS Holiday Express project, combined with gifts earlier in the year to United Way forCOVID relief, gifts to the American Red Cross for hurricane relief, and donations of medical equipment in Mexico, bring KCS’ charitable giving for 2020 to well over $1 million for these efforts combined.”
Over 20 years, the charitable component of the KCS Holiday Express project has raised well over $2.3 million, which was donated to The Salvation Army at each scheduled train stop to help provide warm clothing and other necessities for children in need in the local community. In each of the past 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 hiselves and tour the inside of three cars of the festive six-car train. These events will not take place in 2020 due to the pandemic. The KCS Holiday Express was built on the tradition of the Santa Train that 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 the past 19 years. In 2020, we honor one of the founding volunteer elves, Tillie Caileff, who was integral to the program’s success, and who passed awayearlier this year.