KCS' Holiday Express is a six-car train that brings Santa Claus and his elves to communities throughout the U.S. network at scheduled stops. These events are free and open to the public. No tickets are required.
The Holiday Express also has a charitable component. At each scheduled stop, The KCS Charitable Fund makes a contribution of gift cards to the local Salvation Army to provide warm clothing and other necessities for children in need. Over the past 12 years, thanks to the generous contributions of KCS’ employees, vendors and friends, the Holiday Express has donated over $1 million in gift cards to this cause.
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 ginger bread boxcar; the elves’ workshop; the reindeer stable; and a little red caboose.
The Holiday Express was created in 2001 after volunteers dedicated over 8,000 hours to the rigorous transformation of the retired rail cars. Festive music and lights complete the package.
The Holiday Express train was built on the tradition of the former Gateway Western (GWWR) Santa Train, which made stops in small towns from East St. Louis, Ill. to Blue Springs, Mo. (GWWR was purchased by KCS in 1997.) In 2000, KCS employees noticed that the Santa Train was the only Christmas some kids had, and that some did not even have essential items like coats, hats and gloves. KCS employees were so touched that they committed to elevating the project to the experience that communities throughout KCS' U.S. service area enjoy today.