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This year Husby and I did something new for a little holiday cheer.  Charlotte and Paenney invited us to join them to visit the Union Depot in St. Paul, MN to see the Canadian Pacific Holiday Train.  I’d heard of it, but have never seen it, and now with the new Union Depot all refurbished and spectacular it would be an opportunity to see that too.

The newly refurbished Union Depot in St. Paul, Minnesota

If you’ve never heard of the CP Holiday Train, I’ll turn you over to Canadian Pacific’s description…

Think of them as brightly-decorated railcars full of Christmas cheer. A fund-raiser for food banks in Canada and the U.S., our Holiday Trains — one travels through Canada, the other in the U.S. — have covered over 100,000 miles and raised close to $9.5 million and 3.3 million pounds of food since the program started in 1999.

The Holiday Trains make stops in communities across our service area, offering free concerts and seasonal festivities from a boxcar we’ve turned into a travelling stage. Over the three weeks of the program, the musicians on board the trains will play more than 150 free concerts from their boxcar stage. This year we are lucky to feature the star talent of Tracey Brown, Kira Isabella and Home Free. 

The concerts are free, but you’re encouraged to make a donation to the food bank—either a non-perishable food item or a cash donation. All contributions will stay within your local community.  ~  via Canadian Pacific Holiday Train website

We bundled up, donated a bagful of food and stood by the tracks waiting.  The night was cold and damp, but when the train pulled into the yard Christmas spirit warmed the hundreds of people anticipating the spectacle.

The bright nose of the engine

Just when the breath that’s been taken away by the splendor is restored and the lump in your throat from overwhelmedness has dissipated, the side of one of the boxcars is lowered to reveal a stage…with more lights!  And live Christmas music!

And what would a holiday train be without Santa?  Of course he was there!

Santa, rockin’ out

I’m so glad I got to see this spectacular vision.  Everyone there was in a good mood.  The train itself was thrilling.  The music was festive.  And it was all for the benefit of local food banks.  I’m already looking forward seeing it again next year.

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