TICONDEROGA — This year, the brightly lit Canadian Pacific Railway Holiday Train will chug through the region on Thanksgiving Day.
The train, covered with thousands of LED Christmas lights, arrives Thursday, Nov. 28, starting at 3:15 p.m. at the Ticonderoga Amtrak Station on Fort Ticonderoga Ferry Road.
The second stop in the area is 5 p.m. at the Port Henry Train Station, followed by 7:30 p.m. at Plattsburgh Amtrak Station and 9:15 p.m. at Rouses Point Station.
Entertainment will be furnished by Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame member Tracey Brown and the Ontario-based folk trio The Claytones.
They will perform on a boxcar stage that will open after the train arrives.
The train’s chief purpose is to collect non-perishable food and cash contributions for local food shelves.
Everyone attending is asked to bring a food item to turn in at the station.
Port Henry Village Mayor Ernest Guerin said he and Moriah Town Supervisor Thomas Scozzafava will be at the train to accept the check for the local food pantry.
“I will wear my top hat, coat and scarf,” Guerin said.
“I hope it’s a good turnout. CP Rail says Port Henry is one of the largest turnouts anywhere. It’s Thanksgiving, so it might be a little slower. Some people are out of town.”
Canadian Pacific Railway spokeswoman Jade Wong said the railroad didn’t deliberately set the date for U.S. Thanksgiving.
“It (the local visits) just happened to fall on that date. We try to accommodate as many communities as we can. We hope there will be excellent turnout at every stop.”
The train starts its three-week journey today in Kahnawake, Quebec, and the dates of arrival in each community are based on that start date, she said.
Ticonderoga Town Supervisor Debra Malaney said that every year one of the Holiday Train routes is on Thanksgiving, and this happens to be the year for this area.
“The good news is the Canadian Pacific’s train is stopping in Ticonderoga once again. Because of the holiday and the shortage of volunteers, there will not be bus transportation, as in prior years. People should get there early for parking.”
This is the 15th anniversary of Canadian Pacific’s train, Malaney said, and they typically give a $1,000 donation to the local food pantry at each stop.
“CP Rail has hinted this year will be extra special, in honor of the anniversary,” Malaney said.
“The food pantries need plenty of local support this year because of reduced funding, so hopefully people will be as generous as Canadian Pacific has been.”
START OF SEASON
Plattsburgh City Mayor Donald Kasprzak said he’ll be at the station when the Holiday Train arrives.
“The Holiday Train is always the beginning of the holiday season in the North Country,” the mayor said. “The community always appreciates Canadian Pacific’s commitment, generosity and presence.”
At the last U.S. stop, Rouses Point Village Mayor Francis Baker said he’ll be dispensing free hot chocolate to those in attendance.
“The train is an annual event enjoyed by not just Rouses Point residents, but also by surrounding communities, including Canada and Vermont,” Baker said. “The crowd is always here for the arrival of the Holiday Train, which is beautiful.
“Normally weather will be a factor when it comes to events being held outside, but every year, whether it is 30 degrees or minus-zero, everyone dresses up warmly and comes out to see this wonderful show.
“The most wonderful thing about the train is the donations made to our local food shelf. Every year we ask that people bring non-perishable food items and CP Rail normally donates money. It is an amazing evening.”
14 DECORATED CARS
The Holiday Train consists of 14 brightly decorated railcars, including a modified boxcar that’s been turned into a traveling stage for performers.
CP Railway has updated the thousands of LED lights that adorn the sides of both trains with new holiday designs this year.
According to the Canadian-Pacific website, the Holiday Train has raised more than $7.4 million and collected more than 3 million pounds of food in the United States and Canada since the program began in 1999.
CP Railway has announced that it will match, dollar-for-dollar, online donations to www.feedingamerica.org/holidaytrain. This matching program is in addition to the donations the railroad makes annually to community food shelves at each of its Holiday Train events.
The train normally arrives 15 minutes early at each stop, and those attending are encouraged by the railroad to do the same.
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