MUSCATINE, Iowa – The Canadian Pacific (CP) Holiday Train will not be rolling through Muscatine this year, nor will it be rolling through any communities during the 2020 holiday season. The arrival of the Holiday Train, which would have made a stop in Muscatine this December, is a much anticipated event for communities along the CP network, but the attraction will not leave the station this year according to a CP press release.
The release states that due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Canadian Pacific (CP) will instead donate to food banks in communities along its network and host a virtual concert in lieu of its regular Holiday Train program. The modified program will draw attention to food security issues, while ensuring donations go to all food banks that would ordinarily receive them, including those that typically host a Holiday Train event in alternating years.
“COVID-19 has created many challenges for communities across our network and has only increased the need at local food banks and food shelves,” said CP President and Chief Executive Officer Keith Creel. “It is our honor to continue to donate to communities across our network this year, even if the train itself will not run. The spirit of the Holiday Train program and the Christmas spirit will carry on this year through our virtual concert. We will have the Holiday Train rolling again spreading Christmas cheer as soon as it’s safe to do so.”
CP launched the Holiday Train in 1999, and every year since it has traveled across Canada and the northern U.S. raising money, collecting food and drawing attention to the important work of local food banks. In its first 21 years, the train has raised $17.8 million and collected 4.8 million pounds of food for local food banks in communities along CP’s network.
The arrival of the Holiday Train every two years draws thousands to Downtown Muscatine to watch as 14 railroad cars all decked out in a festive glow travel downriver and stops inside Riverside Park. Many food pantries in the Muscatine area have benefited from the donations of money and food items dropped off as the train arrives. And then there is the festive music that accompanies an all too brief stage show.
The event, combined with the annual Holiday Stroll in Downtown Muscatine, jump starts the holiday season for many Muscatine residents and visitors.
Live music has always been part of the CP Holiday Train tradition. To maintain that tradition, CP will produce a benefit concert, with details to be announced when they are available.
CP intends to resume operating the annual train tour in 2021.