WATERLOO, Ind. (WPTA21) - A decision at the corporate level means the annual "Holiday Train" will not pass through Waterloo -- or any other community this year.
Canadian Pacific decided last week that it will not stage the annual run of the illuminated freight train across North America due to concerns related to the coronavirus outbreak.
Instead, the company will make donations to food banks in communities along its network and host a virtual concert in lieu of its regular Holiday Train program.
“COVID-19 has created many challenges for communities across our network and has only increased the need at local food banks and food shelves,” said CP President and Chief Executive Officer Keith Creel. “It is our honor to continue to donate to communities across our network this year, even if the train itself will not run.
"The spirit of the Holiday Train program and the Christmas spirit will carry on this year through our virtual concert. We will have the Holiday Train rolling again spreading Christmas cheer as soon as it’s safe to do so!”
Local residents -- and some spectators who drove in from miles away -- have looked forward to the train's annual roll through Waterloo.
Though the town was not an official stop for the train, the community turned the pass-through into a celebration featuring refreshments and entertainment.
At selected locations, the Holiday Train itself became a performance platform, and Canadian Pacific collected donated goods to help those in need during the Christmas season.
In its first 21 years, the train has raised $17.8 million and collected 4.8 million pounds of food for local food banks in communities along CP’s network.