The CPR Holiday Train Program began in 1999 and is the only fundraiser of its kind for food banks in North America. Planning for the Holiday Train begins at least seven months prior to the fundraising kick off. Since 1999, close to 378 tons of food and more than $1.9 million CDN have been collected by the CPR Holiday Train Program in Canada and the United States – all donations go back to local food banks. In 2004, 165 tons of food and $375,000 CDN were donated by Canadians and Americans.
In the first six years of working with food banks, the Holiday Train has visited more than 350 different communities. Hundreds of CPR employees volunteer for the special fundraising journey every year – many taking their vacations to work on each train.
In the first six years of the Holiday Train Program, approximately 150,000 candy canes and about 60,000 souvenir train whistles have been handed out by Holiday Train volunteers.
Two Holiday Trains raising awareness and collecting money and donations for hunger relief, crossing six U.S. states and six Canadian provinces for a combined distance of about 10,000 kilometers (approx. 6,000 miles). The two trains will perform in just over 100 communities in Canada and the United States Northeast and Midwest, in addition to many other stops along the way. Each Holiday Train is about 1,000 feet in length with 13 cars, including a modified box car that has been turned into a traveling stage for performers. The trains were assembled and decorated by CPR employees in Montreal, Chicago and Calgary.The Holiday Trains have been equipped with an updated light systems which has resulted in the trains having hundreds of thousands of Christmas lights instead of the 10,000 that were on each train in 2004.
Both Holiday Trains are powered by GE-built 4,400 hp high-performance locomotives with four diesel generators to power the light systems.
More details on this years Holiday train which begins its travels this weekend and a map of the rout can be found at The CPR Website