In its 13th year of rail travel, Canadian Pacific Railway's Holiday Train will again be making stops in Canada and the U.S. to raise money and awareness about hunger issues. Two holiday trains will visit more than 150 communities, starting in Beaconsfield, Quebec, and Scranton, Pa., with one of the trains stopping in three communities in North Dakota along the way.
On Sunday, the Holiday Train will make three stops in North Dakota, in Harvey, Minot and Kenmare. The train will stop in Harvey at 4:30 p.m. at the Canadian Pacific Depot, 600 Lincoln Ave. At 7:30 p.m.; the train will stop in Minot at Main Street. The last North Dakota stop, in Kenmare, will be at 10 p.m. at First Avenue Southwest and Central Avenue, on the east side of the railroad tracks. The train will arrive 10 to 15 minutes before show times, but the schedule is subject to change.
Louis McLeod, executive director of the Minot Area Homeless Coalition, said nothing is new with the Holiday Train this year, but the goal is still to raise awareness of hunger and to get the food pantries stocked. People are encouraged to bring a non-perishable food item or money. Popular items to bring include infant formula, canned meats and spaghetti sauce. McLeod said there's a train car nearby that the items are loaded on to. The Holiday Train program has raised nearly $6.4 million and about 2.6 million pounds of food for food banks in North America.
The Canadian Pacific Holiday Train will be making a stop in Minot on Sunday, Dec. 16, at 7:30 p.m. at Main Street and the railway crossing. The holiday train is in its 13th year and tries to raise awareness and money about hunger issues in the United States and Canada.
The Holiday Train comes in at 7:30, McLeod said, but people start coming in at 6:30 because they want to get close. There are 14 brightly decorated rail cars on the Holiday Train, including a modified box car that has been transformed into a traveling stage for performers. They are each decorated with hundreds of thousands of LED Christmas lights.
One thing McLeod would like for people to be mindful of is the big Christmas tree in the middle of the street in downtown Minot, near the Minot stop of the Holiday Train. "We want to keep downtown the same way we found it," he noted. "The (Downtown Business and Professional Association) works hard to make downtown look nice and we want to keep it looking that way."
The weather will be a deciding factor for attendance, however, McLeod remarked. "We hope for a good turnout to fill up the truck so we can continue to serve people in need."
After Kenmare, the Holiday Train will make stops Monday at North Portal, Estevan, and Weyburn, all in Saskatchewan. The full 2012 Holiday Train schedule is available at (www.cpr.ca) and on Facebook.
"It should be a wonderful time for all," McLeod added.