Holiday Express plans stop in Vicksburg this year

Published 9:42 pm Friday, September 23, 2016

Cue the holly, the jolly and the jingle bells.

Christmas will be making a stop a month early in Vicksburg this year.

Kansas City Southern’s Holiday Express will be stopping in Vicksburg Nov. 30 at 4 p.m.

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As it does every other year, the six-car festive train will make its stop near the Yazoo Mississippi Valley Station at 1000 Levee St., where Levee and Grove streets intersect, according to a KCS press release.

“The train brings thousands of people to downtown,” Vicksburg Main Street executive director Kim Hopkins said.  “We’re going to need elves.”

In 2014, when the train last stopped to spread Christmas cheer in Vicksburg, an estimated 4,000 people attended, and most of the six cars that make up the Holiday Express had model trains zipping around on tracks inside. People of all ages crowded around the glass casing to see the lifelike miniature towns full of tiny people and snowmen.

“I just love seeing the smiling faces,” said one of the elves that Santa brought with him in 2014. “If we touch one child or one life we’ve done good.”

Led by KCS’ Southern Belle business train, the Holiday Express includes a smiling tank car named Rudy; a flatcar carrying Santa’s sleigh, reindeer and a miniature village; a ginger bread boxcar; a newly remodeled elves’ workshop; the reindeer stable and a little red caboose. Each car dressed in lights, according to the press release.

The free event also features Santa and his elves.

“KCS is pleased to continue its long-standing Holiday Express tradition,” said president and CEO Patrick J. Ottensmeyer.  “As a company, we value family and being responsible corporate citizens.  It’s a pleasure to give back and bring the holiday spirit to communities where we operate and where our employees live and work.”

The Holiday Express is a spin off from the tradition of the Santa Train, which ran on a segment of the network bought by KCS in 1997.

KCS will done gift cards to the local Salvation Armies at the 22 communities it will visit this season so they can purchase warm clothing and other necessities for local children.