As we approach the holiday season, there is a special event that I look forward to every year. In fact, attending this event has become a holiday tradition for me. Attend once and it will become one for you, too. I encourage you to add this event to your holiday “list of things to do.”
The Canadian Pacific Holiday Train
Every year, in late November — this year it's locally on Monday, November 27 — The Canadian Pacific Holiday Train of Lights winds its way along the Adirondack Coast. Traveling a good share of the same route as Amtrak’s Adirondack Line, the Holiday Train begins in Saratoga Springs the evening prior and works its way north, entering the Lake Champlain Region the following day.
Raising Awareness for Hunger
This Holiday Train was founded in 1999. Over a concentrated three-day period, this Holiday Train brings the spirit of the season to 182 communities in the United States and Canada. For 19 years its mission has been to raise money, food, and awareness for local food banks and food shelves. It is estimated that over the years they have collected close to 4 million pounds of food for local food banks at their stops throughout the US and Canada. All attendees are encouraged to bring a donation for the local food pantry; either a non-perishable food item or a cash donation. Therefore, when planning to attend, first raid your cupboard, pantry, or shop the local market. If a cash donation is easier for you, bring the wallet. Donations contribute to the giving spirit of the season. It will make you merry, merry. In return for the gift, donors are treated to a fantastic show of rolling holiday lights, as well as a first rate musical performance that lasts about half an hour.
Stops Within the Region
The train will arrive at the Ticonderoga Amtrak Station, Pell’s Crossing, on Route 74 — also known as Fort Ti Road — at 3:10 p.m. Get there early, as watching this highly decorated train with all of its Christmas lights pull up is a treat in itself. Within minutes, the performers are set up and ready to entertain. The doors of a boxcar open, the stage comes alive, and the concert begins.
Jim Cuddy, one of Canada’s beloved singer/songwriters, his son, Devin Cuddy, and Kelly Prescott are slated to perform this year. Both Cuddys have participated as popular country rock performers on the Holiday Train in previous years. Kelly is a third generation singer/songwriter and popular country singer from Ottawa, Canada. She incorporates a bit of rock and blues into her music. This is not her first trip aboard the Holiday Train. CP Rail’s website quotes her as saying that she has “been blessed to be a part of the CP Holiday Train for many years” and “that it never gets old.”
From Ticonderoga the Holiday Train moves north to arrive at the Amtrak Station in Port Henry at 4:45 p.m. The concert at Port Henry is set to begin at 5 p.m. But again, get there early. Both performances draw huge crowds and you will want good viewing. At the Port Henry stop, the Senior Citizens of the Town of Moriah will have cookies and hot chocolate, and the Moriah Chamber of Commerce will offer cotton candy and popcorn to add to the festivities.
Rolling Light Show
In route, this rolling holiday light show is enhanced as the evening darkness progresses. If you are fortunate enough to catch a glimpse of it as it glides along the rails making its way to the next stop, you will be treated to an awesome sight. The lights contrasting against the scenic beauty along Lake Champlain are quite magical. The sight of it will jolt you right into the holiday spirit for the season.
While you're on the Adirondack Coast, get some holiday shopping done and go out to eat!