The Canadian Pacific (CP) Holiday Train will once again be passing through the Central Alberta region this season.
The train with lots of holiday cheer will be stopping in Blackfalds and Lacombe on Dec. 8th.
The classic red train will be decorated with bright, festive lights and will be pulling a boxcar stage for a concert.
How the holiday train experience works is the train with 14 cars will pull up to the designated location. The door on the boxcar that contains the stage will be lowered and slowly the performers are revealed. They will start off the show with one Christmas song. Then a brief presentation will be held with representatives from the local food bank and other dignitaries.
Following that, the performers will resume the Christmas concert, playing a mix of traditional and classic holiday tunes. The entire experience lasts around half an hour, and once the performers complete their set, up goes the boxcar door and the train will be rolling on to the next community.
The railway company has two holiday trains – one travelling west through Canada, that started in Quebec at the end of November, visiting communities all the way to Port Coquitlam, B.C throughout December. The other train first began through the United States, in the northeast and midwest and will return to Canada for final shows in Saskatchewan and Alberta.
CP organizers encourage attendees to bring food and monetary donations for the local food banks. The donations collected at each stop stay in each community and are not collected by the train. Across Canada CP works with local food banks and food pantry groups in order to collect donations for each community.
According to CP, the holiday train program has been in operation for 17 years and has raised over $10.6 million and around 3.6 million pounds of food.
For the Lacombe and Blackfalds stops, Devin Cuddy and Kelly Prescott will be the on board performers. Cuddy is the son of Jim Cuddy, of Blue Rodeo fame, who is an enchanting Canadian singer-songwriter in his own right. Prescott is a third generation country singer-songwriter originating from Ottawa.
In Lacombe, the train will be stopping at the gravel parking lot along the CP tracks, between 46th Ave. and Hwy. 2A around 7:15 p.m. The performance will begin at 7:30 p.m. and then the train will be heading on down the tracks.
Once in Blackfalds, the train will stopping at Gregg St., between Broadway Ave. and East Ave around 8:20 p.m. The performance will begin at 8:30 p.m.
Donations to the Blackfalds Food Bank can be dropped off at the gazebo in Tayles Water Spray Park.
Broadway Ave. at the railway crossing and Gregg St. at East Ave. will be closed to traffic from 7 p.m. until 9 p.m. for the concert.