Holiday Train brings cheer and big check
By Seth Schmidt
Christmas cheer from Canadian Pacific Holiday Train warmed hearts in Tracy Saturday.
But it wasn’t easy.
Sub-zero wind chills couldn’t derail the Canadian Pacific Holiday Train’s Christmas cheer Saturday.
“How are you all in Tracy,” exclaimed an exuberant Kelly Prescott, lead singer for The Claytones. “Is everyone staying warm?”
With the mercury registering a minus one-degree when the CP Holiday Train rolled into Tracy at 1 p.m., and a bracing breeze from the northwest, neither spectators nor performers could claim to be warm. But clad from head to toe in heavy winter clothing, a crowd of perhaps 200 adults and children (including spectators in nearby vehicles) enjoyed a half-hour musical show. Backed by a drummer, base player, and two guitarists, Prescott zipped through a mix of holiday standards (“Here Comes Santa Claus”) and country and pop tunes with lyrics adapted to the occasion. Musicians performed with knit gloves, stocking caps, scarves and heavy coats.
Santa Claus himself arrived with the train to work the crowd and hand out candy canes.
Canadian Pacific officials demonstrated their holiday spirit by announcing the railroad was giving $6,000 to the Tracy Kitchen Table food shelf. Rosemary Hemmingsen accepted on the behalf of the food shelf, saying the money would be put to good use for local people in need. Mayor Tony Peterson thanked CP for choosing Tracy as a Holiday Train stop.
A local collection of non-perishable food items generated 186 pounds of items, plus $45.
The CP Holiday Train consisted of 14 decorated cars. One of the cars is a modified boxcar that opens into a traveling stage. Thousands of LED lights, formed into holiday signs, adorned the train’s exterior.
The westbound train stopped at CP’s Fourth St. railroad crossing, with the program held west of the intersection.
The Holiday Train in Tracy began its tour Dec. 4 in Gurnee, ILL. After the Tracy concert, the Holiday Train headed for its next appearance of the day in Brookings, S.D.
The Holiday Train that stopped in Tracy is one of two being operated by the railroad. The other is touring in Canada.
This the 15th year of the CP Holiday Train tradition of raising money and food for local food shelves.
Canadian Pacific is matching all donations to Feeding America while the Holiday Trains continue their treks. CP will match on-line Feeding America donations at www.feedingamerica.org/holidaytrain.
• • •
Tracy City Council members Monday agreed to send a formal letter of thanks to the Canadian Pacific.
“That’s a big chunk of change,” said councilman Charlie Snyder, of the $6,000 food shelf gift.
For more photos see this week's Headlight-Herald.