Holiday Express Returning to Roodhouse in December

By Benjamin Cox on September 7, 2022 at 8:31am

The Kansas City Southern Holiday Express train will again pull in to Roodhouse in December.

The annual journey on the rails has been parked the last two years due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The 6-car train features interior and exterior holiday light displays as well as a visit with Santa and his elves.

The tradition dates back to 2001 as “The Santa Train” after volunteers dedicated over 8,000 hours to the transformation of retired rail cars as well as the restored Southern Belle passenger train. The Southern Belle passenger train provided luxury service between Kansas City and the Gulf Coast region from 1940 to 1969. It was restored in 1995 and provides a peek into the past as well as powering the KCS Holiday Express. The Santa Train ran on a segment of the network bought by KCS in 1997. After KCS employees noticed that The Santa Train brought some local children the only Christmas they knew and decided to broaden the scope of the idea.

The train makes 20 stops between the State of Louisiana and Kansas City, Missouri.

The Roodhouse stop has been scheduled for 4PM Tuesday, December 13th at the old depot in Roodhouse. It’s the final stop of the Holiday Express on its way to Union Station in Kansas City.

Admission to the train is free of charge.

Part of the train’s trip mission is charity. The Holiday Express has raised $2.6 million since its inception in 2001. Anyone interested in making a tax-deductible contribution to the 2022 KCS Holiday Express fundraising campaign may donate here. The train also donates a portion of its raised funds to the local Salvation Army chapter for purchasing warm clothing and essentials, especially for children. The railroad has had to use virtual fundraising the last two years in the absence of its trip.