The Year Without a Christmas. Holiday Trains to Stay in the Depot
Michigan's North Pole Express and Canadian Pacific's Holiday Train will not be making their annual trips to spread Christmas cheer in 2020.
We could all use a little Christmas magic in 2020, but for the first time in 16 years, the historic North Pole Express will remain idle. The Pere Marquette 1225 train, the one Hollywood modeled the Polar Express after for the Tom Hanks film, canceled its Fall color tours and Christmas journey back in September.
In accordance with both local and state health officials, the Steam Railroading Institute (SRI) has decided to not operate any excursions in 2020. This includes the annual Fall Color Tours and North Pole Express. The operation of excursion trains is identified among the highest risk activities associated with the spread of COVID-19 which includes bringing large groups of people together in enclosed spaces for extended periods of time.
Canadian Pacific's Holiday Train is another tradition that we will miss in 2020. Launched in 1999, this train didn't always run through Michigan, but people lined up to see it when the brilliantly lit up locomotive and decorative cars passed through towns across the state, lighting them up brighter than the star atop the Christmas tree. Although you couldn't book passage on the Holiday Train, gatherings were held at stops to collect food and raise money for local pantries. A virtual concert is planned on December 12 this year, and Canadian Pacific has already raised nearly $20M to fight hunger.
COVID-19 has created many challenges for communities across our network and has only increased the need at local food banks and food shelves. It is our honor to continue to donate to communities across our network this year, even if the train itself will not run...We will have the Holiday Train rolling again spreading Christmas cheer as soon as it’s safe to do so!
-Keith Creel, CP President and Chief Executive Officer
We all know that Christmas day will look different in 2020, but we can still keep the spirit of Christmas alive.