Holiday train gets on its way

North America’s longest-running food bank fundraiser rolls into Salmon Arm at 6:45 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 14.

  • Dec. 7, 2011 5:00 a.m.
Fundraising train: The annual CP Rail Holiday Train pulls into Salmon Arm on the evening of Wednesday

Fundraising train: The annual CP Rail Holiday Train pulls into Salmon Arm on the evening of Wednesday

North America’s longest-running food bank fundraiser rolls into Salmon Arm at 6:45 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 14.

The CP Rail Holiday Train began its unique trek across Canada and the U.S. Midwest and Northeast the last weekend of November in its cross-border mission to feed communities.

For the 13th year, two specially decorated freight trains will launch their unique journeys across six Canadian provinces and eight U.S. states.

The CP Holiday Train’s goal is to throw the focus on the important job of local food banks, and to support local leaders in fighting hunger in their neighbourhoods. About 140 cities and towns on both sides of the border will be able to join the Holiday Train spirit and magic, with all food and money raised at each stop staying in that community for local distribution.

Since 1999, the CP Holiday Train program, powered by an army of employee volunteers, has raised $5.6 million and generated close to 2.5 million pounds of food donations for local food shelves.

Each Holiday Train is about 1,000 feet in length, with 14 rail cars decorated with hundreds of thousands of LED Christmas lights. There is also a box car that has been turned into a travelling stage for performers and, of course Santa.

Headlining the musical spirit of the season from a specially designed stage on the Canadian Holiday Train is Canadian legend Valdy.

Joining Valdy along the journey are Ottawa’s young musical sensations, Brothers Dube and Canadian Country Music Hall of Famer Tracey Brown.

The train arrives in Sicamous at 5 p.m. at the northwest corner of the Trans-Canada Highway and Silver Sand Road intersection.

Look for the brightly lit train in Salmon Arm at the Lordco parking lot, 51 Lakeshore Drive NE at 6:45 p.m. and continues west, arriving at the Davies Road-Notch Hill railway  crossing at 8:45.

Bundle up warmly and don’t forget to take non-perishable food items for the food bank.