For years now I’ve heard rumors that this years Canadian Pacific Holiday Train would be the last. Those rumors became even louder after a corporate coup staged by an investor group with a less than long term perspective who promptly installed the man who chased Canadian National customers away in droves as CEO. But Canadian Pacific has a heritage measured in centuries, and they’re the kind of railroad that sends a locomotive to a child railfan’s funeral, and where employees still tend the trackside grave of a worker who passed when the tracks were laid a century and a half ago. An institution with that sort of inertia becomes more than a corporation, and slowly overwhelms even the most determined Wall Street raider. And so it is that the Holiday Train is back, bigger and better than ever!

ImageNow what other no-monkey-business railroad would pull a multi million dollar locomotive, a half dozen boxcars, a generator equipped power car, and a quartet of luxurious classic passenger cars out of service for a couple months just to entertain the kiddies and collect donations for food shelves? And virtually shut the railroad down when it comes through, while burning up thousands of gallons of fuel? Canadian Pacific, and they do it not once but twice- there are in fact two holiday trains, one running across Canada and the other the U.S.. Here’s the Holiday train web page: http://www.cpr.ca/en/in-your-community/holiday-train/Pages/default.aspx

Not only was the Holiday Train not supposed to happen again, but the tracks it’s running on tonight across Minnesota and South Dakota were supposed to have been sold off, but looks like that “deal’ that never was is dead… CP will have to wait a while to get back what it (over?)paid for the DM&E, and thus the Holiday Train is back on the DM&E after last years absence. And if you’ll look down the Holiday Train website, you’ll see a hint that it’ll be again, as they’re offering a ride on next years train to prize winners.

But ’twas not good weather for chasing trains, in fact wasn’t good weather for trains either as the Holiday Train was 15 minutes late for it’s first stop today… Not bad considering that most highway transport is running hours late ’round here. I’d hoped to chase the train all the way from that stop to Brookings, but while US14 was only halfway covered in ice towards Tracy, following the train west it got mostly icy around Tyler, so I gave up the chase at Lake Benton before darkness fell. Glad I’m retired… The CP railroad police and support crew will be following the train on the roads into more snow tonight as they head west to Huron. Maybe I’ll get lucky and get some nighttime or at least snowy pix of the train coming back east tonight or tomorrow…

Here’s a link to the schedule: http://www.cpr.ca/en/in-your-community/holiday-train/Documents/ht-schedule-2013.pdf The Holiday Train will be headed back east through southern Minnesota and northern Iowa the next few days, then back northwest up the Mississippi valley and through the cities. If it’s comin’ your way, it’s a must see…

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