For the first time in the past three years, the Canadian Pacific Railway’s actual Holiday Train is returning to the steel rail across the U.S. and Canada.
Because of Covid 19, the past two years have been virtual holiday trains that quite frankly didn’t hold a candle to the real thing.
So it’s been announced, the performers have been named and the schedules released. Once again, the train will make six stops in North Dakota.
As Holiday Train public affairs points out, the concerts are free. All they ask is that you make a non-perishable food donation or monetary donation to help the local food bank. Top-tier musicians ride the train and perform in return for the donations.
Unlike previous years in which the train started in Rouses Point, N.Y., this years Holiday Train will start Nov. 23 in Jackman, Maine. It will make two additional stops in Maine before crossing into Quebec and stopping in Lac Megantic for the first time.
It eventually makes its way to North Dakota with the first stop on Friday, Dec. 16 in Hankinson to support the Richland-Wilkin Emergency Food Pantry. Later that day, Enderlin is the second stop and the support will be for the Ransom County Food Pantry.
The train makes four stops on Saturday, Dec. 17. The first stop is at the CP Rail depot in Carrington from 1:45-2:15 in support of Carrington Daily Bread. At 4 p.m., it stops at 600 Lincoln Ave., in Harvey in support of the Central Dakota Food Pantry. Then, from 6:45 to 7:15 the Holiday Train is at the Main Street crossing in Minot for the Minot Area Homeless Coalition and finally at 8:45 to 9.:15, the train stops at First Avenue Southwest and Central Avenue in Kenmare on behalf of the Kenmare Food Pantry.
That will be the last stop in the United States. From Kenmare, the train rolls into Saskatchewan with stops at North Portal, Estevan and Weyburn.
This year’s North Dakota leg of the train will have one familiar face and one new to the Holiday Train. Kelly Prescott is a Canadian country singer who has won numerous country music awards and has ridden the train numerous times.
She is the daughter of country singer Tracey Brown, who was once a regular on the Holiday Train. When she was a kid, Kelly tagged along with her mother and is now an award-winning singer in her own right.
To learn more about Kelly Prescott and her music, log on to (kellyprescottmusic.com). She has come a long way and is a gifted singer. It would be worth it to see her free and live in concert coming to a community near you.
Alan Doyle is the second performer on this year’s train. This will be the first time for the Atlantic Canadian folk performer. He’s been involved in folk and rock music since 1993 when he became part of a Newfoundland band called Great Big Sea.
On Nov. 22, Doyle plays a concert in Odense, Denmark and on the 23rd, he’s aboard the Holiday Train in Maine.
Doyle is multi-talented. Along with music, he’s been in television and film production and is perhaps best known for appearing on the hit Canadian TV drama series, “Murdoch Mysteries.” He has also written music and performed with Australian actor and singer Russell Crowe.
You can learn more about Alan Doyle and his music at (alandoyle.ca).
This is the 23rd year of the Holiday Train, if you count the two virtual trains from the past two years. Regardless, CP Rail has done something right because the train now has a 20-year history that has seen a myriad of performers and millions in donations to local food banks.
It’s a great experience and if you haven’t seen the Holiday Train up close, you should get into the crowd and enjoy it. An outdoor concert during the second half of December in North Dakota can be daunting, but just remember to dress warm enough, take a Thermos of hot chocolate, keep moving around and enjoy the music.