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Holiday Train is coming to town Tuesday

BRIAN BASHAM/RECORD The Canadian Pacific Holiday Train stop in Detroit Lakes usually includes a visit from Santa Claus. The train will be in DL Tuesday.

North America's longest-running food pantry fundraiser is again on its unique journey through the Midwest, Northeast and across Canada in a cross-border mission to feed area communities.

It's the 12th year for the Canadian Pacific Holiday Train, with two especially-decorated freight trains trekking through eight states and six Canadian provinces.

The Detroit Lakes community will get a chance to participate in the fundraiser at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 14 at Holmes Street railroad Crossing near the Holmes Community Center.

"The Holiday Train's mandate remains strong and that is to help tackle hunger, regardless of borders or size of community," said Fred Green, president and chief executive officer. "At this critical time of year, CP employees and thousands of volunteers in Canada and the United States are again joining together in helping those less fortunate."

Residents in about 140 cities and towns on both sides of the border will be able to join the Holiday Train spirit and magic, with all food and money raised at each stop staying in that community for local distribution. Each Holiday Train has 14 rail cars decorated with hundreds of thousands of festive lights. Included is a modified boxcar that has been turned into a traveling stage for performers. The two trains are assembled and decorated by CP employees in Montreal, Smith Falls and Calgary.

Since 1999, the CP Holiday Train program has raised $4.8 million and generated almost 2.3 million pounds of food donations for local food shelves.

Performing the spirit of the season from a designed stage on the U.S. Holiday Train is Melanie Doane with rising star Kelly Prescott joining the train for several shows. Also performing on the Canadian Holiday Train is one of Canada's most versatile bands, The Odds.

The 2010 CP Holiday Train schedule is available on -- a website that more than 150,000 visitors check out each holiday season to get the latest updates and mark their calendars for the train stop nearest them.