The CP Holiday Train will haul 14 rail cars worth of holiday spirit to town today.
Every year for the past 12, two specially decorated freight trains have travelled across six Canadian provinces and eight U.S. states, bringing holiday cheer and collecting contributions for food pantries in approximately 150 cities and towns on both sides of the border. Locally, the train will make stops in Schenectady, Saratoga Springs, Cobleskill and Delanson.
“There’s something magical about trains and Christmas,” said Mike LoVecchio, spokesman for CP Rail. “We bring to the event a brightly lit train with 14 cars covered in about three miles of LED rope lighting. We bring some superb entertainment.”
The U.S. Holiday Train will make stops today at the Cobleskill Fire Department, 610 Main St., at 3:45 p.m., at the Main Street Railroad Crossing in Delanson at 5:30 p.m., at the the ALCO Heritage Museum on Maxon Road Extension in Schenectady at 7 p.m. and at the Saratoga Springs Amtrak Station at 9:05 p.m.
At each stop, spectators will enjoy a half-hour show. This year, Wisconsin guitarist Willy Porter, who has toured with Jeff Beck and Jethro Tull, will take the stage.
“He is amazing. He has appeared before on the holiday train stage, and he’s a real crowd pleaser,” said LoVecchio.
“We have a new stage car,” LoVecchio noted. “We’ve got one with a stage that operates like a drawbridge, so Willy will be playing out in the crowd and the crowd will be able to surround the stage on all three sides. It’s going to take it to a whole new level.”
The cost for the show is a nonperishable food item, which will be donated to a local food pantry. Monetary donations will be accepted, as well.
“Everything collected at that stop, it never boards the train. It is collected by the local food shelf and distributed locally,” LoVecchio said.
Food and monetary donations collected at the Cobleskill stop will be donated to the Schoharie County Community Action Program. In Delanson, contributions will go to Our Lady of Fatima Church. In Schenectady, donations will be collected by the Salvation Army, and in Saratoga Springs, donations will go to the Saratoga County Economic Opportunity Council.
Since 1999, the CP Holiday Train program, powered by employee volunteers, has raised $5.6 million and generated close to 2.5 million pounds of food donations for food pantries in the U.S. and Canada.