BY MELANIE WADE –
Mena will once again play host to the Kansas City Railroad’s Holiday Express when it rolls town through this holiday season. The KCS Holiday Express is a festive, six-car train that brings Santa Claus and his elves to communities throughout the KCS rail network. Guests to the train can visit with Santa Claus and walk through three cars of the cars, which are filled with holiday displays. Each event is free, open to the public and no tickets are required.
Not only does the train give participants a unique experience, at each scheduled stop, a charitable contribution is made to the local Salvation Army to provide warm clothes and other necessities for children in need.
According to the KCS website, the Holiday Express was created in 2001 as volunteers dedicated more than 8,000 hours to transform retired rail cars. Today, these cars feature a smiling tank car named Rudy; a flatcar carrying Santa’s sleigh, reindeer and a miniature village; a gingerbread boxcar; the elves’ workshop; a reindeer stable; and a little red caboose.
The Holiday Express will begin their annual trek on November 24 in Victoria, Texas and end on December 19 in Kansas City, Missouri. Mena is one of the only three Arkansas stops the train will make. Rudy and company should pull into Mena’s historic Depot on December 7 at 4 p.m. Other Arkansas stops are in Ashdown on December 6 at 4 p.m. and Siloam Springs on December 10 at 4 p.m.
To learn more about the Holiday Express or how you can contribute to their Salvation Army campaign, visit their website, http://www.kcsouthern.com/corporate-responsibility/giving/holiday-express