What's a Holiday Train event like?
A typical Holiday Train event goes something like this: the train arrives and pulls to a safe stop in front of the crowd. The stage door lowers and the band opens with its first song. After that, a brief presentation takes place with local food bank officials and other dignitaries. Once complete, the band resumes performing a mix of traditional and modern holiday-themed songs. The whole event lasts about 30 minutes. Once the band plays its farewell song, the stage door closes, and the train heads off to the next stop.
It's important to keep a safe distance away from the train so we can safely continue our journey.
All of the onsite arrangements, including parking and accessibility for the disabled, are made by the municipality. Please contact your town office to inquire.
Every year we receive dozens of requests from communities across our network for the Holiday Train to make a stop. With so many communities, it is always a challenge for us to determine the routing and schedule for the trains. We try to vary the stops from year to year to accommodate as many locations and food banks as possible.
2017: Calgary - Lethbridge – Sparwood – Nelson - Radium; new in 2015: Provost - Wetaskiwin - Calgary
2016: Calgary – Edmonton – Calgary – Banff - Golden
2017: Bredenbury – Saskatoon – Macklin
2016: Broadview – Indian Head - Regina
We also only stop where Canadian Pacific owns track. If you live in a community serviced by another railway, our train will not reach you.
In September 2015, CP sold a portion of railroad stretching from Schenectady, NY, to Sunbury, PA. to the Norfolk Southern Railway. Since CP no longer owns this portion of track, we will not be operating the Holiday Train there.
The CP crew has many great memories from our visits to communities along this route. We offer our sincerest thanks to everyone for their enthusiasm for the program and their generous support for local foodbanks.
We encourage donations that support healthy food options, and suggest that you check with your local foodbank to find out what their wish list includes. Check out our Healthy Donations campaign to learn more about donating nutritious food items.
Yes. We only ask that you bring food or a monetary donation for your local food bank. Food Bank representatives will be onsite collecting donations.
Rides are not open to the public. The people riding the train from stop to stop are our employees, their families and some invited guests, who work closely with our railway. The program is focused on the entertainment events and raising donations for local food banks.
There are a number of factors that determine our schedule. We consider our entire network of track, but will largely base the decision around participation from the community, including the support of local elected officials, participation from the local food bank and willingness from community members to come out and support the cause. We try to include as many communities as we can, and will alternate routes from one year to the next.
Other than the scheduled shows, we do not provide information on when the train will be passing through areas where we do not stop. Your best bet is to look at the schedule of events to estimate when the train will pass your specific location.
The Holiday Trains are staffed with CP employees, who perform a number of duties, and are assisted by local staff at stop locations. We do not require additional volunteers.
Any activities that occur at the outdoor event are organized in partnership with the municipality and the chosen food bank. We recommend you reach out locally to offer your services to help make your Holiday Train event even better.
We have a lot of ground to cover and couldn't accommodate our schedule of 171 stops if we only did evening events. We try and vary the schedule from year to year so communities can experience both day and evening shows.
The Holiday Train is about 1,000 feet in length with 14 brightly decorated rail cars. Each car is decorated with hundreds of thousands of technology-leading LED lights and holiday designs.
As the train clears U.S. customs, we turn the exterior lights off. Otherwise, the Holiday Train lights are always on.
Food and monetary donations are collected by your local Food Bank, and stay in the community where they were collected. We work in conjunction with local food banks, and they organize the collection and distribution of all donations for their region. Anything that is raised in the community stays in the community for local distribution.
Built originally in 1957, two GP20C 2200 series were rebuilt in 2013 to pull CP's two Holiday Trains. Each locomotive has 2000hp, is 56.02 feet in length and weighs 275,000 pounds.
As a Canadian company that operates in Canada and the U.S., CP is proud to display the flags of both countries on the Holiday Trains as they travel across the CP network raising food and funds for local food banks and food shelves.
Since 1999, the Holiday Train has raised more than CAD $13 million and 4 million pounds of food for North American food banks. Anything raised in a community stays in that community. In addition, CP makes donations at each stop.
The program is an important community initiative for CP employees as more than 12,000 of us live and work in the more than 1,100 North American communities. Hunger is an issue that can, and does, impact all of our neighbours.
The Holiday Train program has a gained a tremendous following in the close to two decades that it's been running. The Holiday Train shines a bright light on the importance of supporting food banks. In some places the Holiday Train program can raise the majority of money a food bank requires for the year.