Holiday spirit rolls in on a train (with photo gallery)

Emma Cyr waved her pink-mittened hand above her head Sunday evening as she watched the train outside

Emma Cyr waved her pink-mittened hand above her head Sunday evening as she watched the train outside the Cobleskill Fire Department.

The train stopped on the tracks wasn’t just any train, however: It was covered in more than 100,000 LED flashing red, green, blue and white lights, snowflakes, bells and Christmas trees. Plus there was holiday music coming from the open boxcar.

Cyr, 3, who was bundled from head to toe on top of her father Dennis Cyr’s shoulders, was one of nearly 2,000 people who came to watch the Canadian Pacific Holiday Train make its annual stop at the fire department.

Dennis Cyr said he brought his family from Knox to watch the train.

“It’s a great family thing to do,” he said.

The train stopped for about half an hour in Cobleskill Sunday evening and drew people from around the area to see the show. This is the 11th year for the Canadian Pacific’s Holiday Train, which travels throughout the country bringing holiday cheer and helping raise money for local food pantries.

The train also made stops in Delanson, and for the first time stopped in Schenectady at the Maxon Road Extension railroad crossing Sunday night where Canadian Pacific officials presented a $4,000 check to the Salvation Army.

Breanne Feigel, manager of communications for the Canadian Pacific Railroad, said all donations made at each stop stay with the local community.

“You’re really helping your neighbors,” she said.

The train makes about 140 stops in its travels across the country. Feigel said the new stop in Schenectady was scheduled based on the demand for it.

“We can only make so many stops, so Schenectady should be feeling pretty lucky right now,” she said. “We’re glad it fit into our schedule because it’s a great program.”

Feigel said all the crowds since the Holiday Train took off Nov. 26 have been large. She said people are realizing the large need this year and are coming out to donate and enjoy the holiday festivities.

People of all ages were drawn to the holiday event in Cobleskill, including Jordan Clark, 22, of Tupper Lake, who drove down to the village to take his girlfriend Aprille Hadsell, 18, to see the Holiday Train and listen to the music.

The Holiday Train Band played a mixture of country, rock and blues-style holiday songs, including “Jingle Bells” and “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” plus some original songs written for the train band and all with a train theme.

Jessica Blanchard of Central Bridge was among the crowd of people pressed against the chain-link fence that separates the fire department parking lot from the train tracks. Blanchard was singing and dancing with her 3-year-old son Alexander Baldwin in her arms.

Blanchard said she thought the visit to see the train would be a good family event as well.

“I liked how colorful it was and the music. It was just fun,” she said.

Makayla Baldwin, 10, and Ryan Bartholomew, 9, also came with Blanchard to see the train.

“I liked all of it,” Makayla Baldwin said.

This is the fifth year the train has stopped in Cobleskill, according to JoAnne Jorgensen of the Schoharie County Youth Bureau. Every year the event raises money for local food pantries. People from county organizations and agencies, including the Youth Bureau and 4-H, walked through the crowd collecting donations of cash and food for the food pantries in the county.

In its 11 years, the Canadian Pacific’s Holiday Train has raised $4 million and 2 million pounds of food for food pantries across the country.

The train is expected to stop today at the Amtrak train station in Saratoga Springs from noon to 12:30 p.m. and at the Fort Edward Amtrak station from 1:45 to 2:15 p.m.

Categories: Schenectady County

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