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What's the impact been?

Since 1999, the Holiday Train has raised more than CAD $17.8 million and 4.8 million pounds of food for North American food banks. Everything raised in a community stays in that community. In addition, CP makes a donation at each stop. 

CP operates in over 1,100 communities, and our 12,000 employees are very proud of the Holiday Train program. We know that hunger is an issue that can, and does, impact our neighbours. Over the years the program has gained a tremendous following, and we are proud to continue this tradition for our family and yours.  

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.

Is there handicapped parking and accessibility at the Holiday Train shows?

All of the onsite arrangements, including parking and accessibility for the disabled, are made by the municipality.   Please contact your town office to inquire.

A note about D&H locations 

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. 

Windsor to Chicago route

For rail security and safety reasons we may turn our lights off through this region. We will not provide details on the timing or route as the train moves between Windsor and Chicago; there are no stops and these are not CP-owned tracks. Please help us have a safe journey by staying off railroad property, including the right-of-way which typically extends 15 metres/50 feet from the track on both sides. Accessing railroad property is not only dangerous, but illegal. We appreciate your support of the Holiday Train and encourage you to donate to your local food shelf/bank this holiday season if possible.

What should I bring?

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.

Are Holiday Train events free?

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.

How do I ride the train?

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.

How do you choose the stops?

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, the food bank, and a 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.

Can you tell me when the train will be passing through my town?

Look at the schedule of events to estimate what date and time the train will pass your specific location. Then find our tracking tool (link) to watch it move through your area. Please note track speed will vary so exact times are not guaranteed.

How come you're not coming to my town?

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.

Can I volunteer for the train? 

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.

Why is the Holiday Train stopping during the day in my location?

We have a lot of ground to cover and couldn't accommodate our schedule of over 170 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.

Are the lights on the whole time?

Each Holiday Train is about 1,000 feet in length with 14 brightly decorated rail cars. The cars are decorated with hundreds of thousands of technology-leading LED lights and holiday designs celebrating the spirit of the giving season.

When the U.S. Holiday Train clears U.S. customs between Detroit, MI and Chicago, IL, we turn the exterior lights off. Otherwise, the Holiday Train lights are always on. 

How does the Holiday Train collect and distribute the food and monetary donations?

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. All donations raised in the community stay in the community for local distribution.

What type of locomotive pulls the Holiday Trains?

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.

What about the flags on the Holiday Trains?

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.  

Drone use near the railway

CP does not allow any drone flight over our private property, including at Holiday Train events. Our employees work in an environment where distractions, such as unexpected overflights, can increase safety risks to employees, the public and our operations.