Press-Republican

Thursday

November 24, 2011

Holiday Train chugging through again

ROUSES POINT — This year, Canadian Pacific's Holiday Train will roll into Rouses Point first and other stops three days later.

The train is scheduled to be at Rouses Point's Amtrak Station at 10:30 p.m. Friday as its first U.S. stop.

The train will then wind into Pennsylvania and return on Monday, getting to Ticonderoga's Amtrak Station at 3:50 p.m., followed by Port Henry at 5:35 and Plattsburgh at 8.

MUSIC AND FOOD

This year, the chief entertainer on the train will be recording artist Willy Porter, whose latest album is "Live at BoMA."

An acoustic guitarist and pop singer, Porter has done European and American tours with Rickie Lee Jones, Tori Amos, The Cranberries, Jethro Tull and Paul Simon.

Everyone who turns out to see the train is asked to bring a non-perishable food item to help local food pantries.

Canadian Pacific also donates $1,000 to each local food-shelf program.

The Holiday Train Program began in 1999 with a few communities and a few lights on a freight train.

Now the train has hundreds of thousands of festive LED lights and a live show featuring well-known performers who donate their time.

It's one of Canadian Pacific Railway's main ambassadors in Canada and the United States and is the only fundraiser of its kind for food banks in North America.

Since the program's start, more than $5.6 million and 2.45 million pounds of food have been collected in Canada and the United States.

ROUSES POINT

Rouses Point is the only local stop with free hot chocolate, provided by Village Mayor George Rivers and his wife, Peggy.

"We always have a pretty good crowd," the mayor said. "We're their very first stop in the U.S. People enjoy the Holiday Train; a couple hundred people or better come out."

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