Since this year was my first year away from Kentucky for the first Christmas season, I wanted to embrace as much of the local holiday traditions as I could. Sadly, we didn’t get to do everything on our Christmas “bucket list” this year as we had hoped, because of Andy’s erratic work schedule, but we did to get to participate in the #1 item on our list… the Canadian-Pacific Holiday Train!
Trains are a major mode of transportation of goods in the Midwest, and Mason City, Iowa is no exception. It seems like the entire city is criss-crossed by numerous railroads. One of the rail lines that services Mason City is the Canadian Pacific Railway.
Since 1999, Canadian Pacific has been operating the Canadian Pacific Holiday Train, a freight train decorated in thousands of Christmas lights. It stops in hundreds of communities along Canadian Pacific’s routes and entertainers perform a small concert on the train (one of the cars is converted into a stage) to raise awareness of food insecurity and gather donations for local food banks.
Canadian Pacific’s routes for their Holiday Train vary every year, so the last time they visited Mason City was a few years ago (so we’ve been told.) Since we’re only in Mason City for 3 Christmas seasons, we weren’t sure if they would have the Holiday Train again before the Army moves us again. Despite the bitter cold outside, we decided to stop by to see it!
The entire experience felt entirely magical. It was my first time experiencing snow in Iowa. I’ve also never been on a train before or even been this close to a train in person! It reminded me of the Polar Express. Andy filmed this video of the Holiday Train pulling into the Mason City station that perfectly captures the excitement in the air!
When the concert was over and the crowds were thinning out, we decided to make one last trip to see the train so I could grab a few pictures. We even managed to get one of both Andy and me, thanks to a kind stranger that volunteered to take our photo!
I’m so glad we decided to see the Holiday Train. It was the perfect way to kick off the Christmas season!
Have you heard of the Canadian-Pacific Holiday Train?