The Holiday Express is already chugging along the tracks and will soon make its two stops in Eastern Jackson County.

The Holiday Express is already chugging along the tracks and will soon make its two stops in Eastern Jackson County.

The train, a Kansas City Southern railroad tradition, will make two local stops:

Downtown Blue Springs at 4 p.m. Dec. 14.

 

Downtown Grain Valley at 4 p.m. Dec. 18.


The train is led by the railroad’s Southern Belle business train and includes “Rudy,” a smiling tank car, as well as a flat car carrying Santa’s sleigh, reindeer and a miniature village. There’s also an elves’ workshop, a gingerbread box car and a reindeer stable. The train also brings with it music and bright lights.

Access to the train is free and open to the public.

At each stop, the KCS Charitable Fund gives Wal-Mart gift cards to the local Salvation Army to provide warm clothing for children in need. The fund has raised $112,825 this year for the gift cards.

The train is an annual event that Kansas City Southern took on after buying the old Gateway Western more than a decade ago. The Gateway Western used to run the train on the line that runs east and west across the middle of the state, passing through Independence, Blue Springs, Grain Valley and Oak Grove.

The train makes the first of its 23 stops today in Shreveport, La. Following that are 11 more stops in Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas. Then it comes north for stops in Arkansas, Oklahoma and Kansas on its way to the metro area. The Blue Springs stop precedes a part of the trip eastward across Missouri and into Illinois. The Grain Valley stop is part of trip back to Kansas City, and the whole thing ends with two days of events Dec. 19 and 20 at Union Station in Kansas City.