KCS Holiday Express
Holiday Express Heads for Wylie in 2016
The KCS Holiday Express will once again stop in Wylie during the 2016 holiday season! The date is Friday, Nov. 25, at the Oak Street Crossing in historic downtown Wylie near Birmingham. The train will be in town from 4 to 8 pm.
The KCS Holiday Express, Kansas City Southern’s six-car Christmas train is pulled by the beautifully restored Southern Belle passenger train. It stops at the Oak Street crossing, near Birmingham and stays until everyone passes through the cars.
2016 marks the 16th year the Holiday Express has crossed the country and sixth visit to Wylie. Visitors can board the train, visit with Santa and his elves and tour the inside of three cars. The KCS Holiday Express includes a smiling tank car named Rudy; a flatcar carrying Santa’s sleigh, reindeer and a miniature village; a gingerbread boxcar; an elves’ workshop; the reindeer stable; and a little red caboose. Each car is sparkling with lights.
The Southern Belle passenger train provided luxury service between Kansas City and the Gulf Coast region from 1940 to 1969. It was restored in 1995 and provides a peek into the past as well as powering the KCS Holiday Express into town.
In addition to bringing smiles to kids’ faces, the KCS Holiday Express has a charitable component. For the 13 years it’s been part of the season, the train has raised over $1 million for the Salvation Army, funds that are used to purchase warm clothing and other necessities for children in the community. This year's Wylie donation will go to the Wylie Christian Care Center.
The KCS Holiday Express began as the “Santa Train” in 2001 after volunteers dedicated over 8,000 hours to the transformation of retired rail cars. The Santa Train ran on a segment of the network bought by KCS in 1997. In 2000, some warm-hearted KCS employees noticed that the Santa Train was the only Christmas some kids had and that they lacked essential items like coats, hats and gloves. They decided to elevate the project and, in 2001, volunteers transformed a retired freight train into the festive holiday train communities know today.