10.22.15

SCHUMER: ANNUAL HOLIDAY TRAIN THAT COLLECTS DONATIONS FOR LOCAL CHARITIES & FOOD BANKS AND BRINGS CHEER TO AREA CHILDREN & FAMILIES HAS BEEN DISCONTINUED; SCHUMER URGES TRAIN OPERATORS, CANADIAN PACIFIC & NORFOLK SOUTHERN, TO WORK TOGETHER IN THE SPIRIT OF THE HOLIDAYS AND KEEP TRAIN CHUGGING THROUGH SOUTHERN TIER THIS YEAR

For Years, Canadian Pacific Ran Its Holiday Train On D&H South Line To Binghamton, and Oneonta Communities; Local Residents Attended Annual Train Light Show And Donated To Those In Need Through Local Charities & Food Banks Attending Christmas Event 

This Year, Canadian Pacific Sold 280 Miles Of Track To Norfolk Southern & Announced Holiday Train Would Be Discontinued As Result; Schumer Urges CP & NS To Work Together To Ensure Southern Tier Families Can Enjoy Annual Christmas Tradition – And Local Charities Dependent on Train Route Can Receive Donations 

Schumer: CP & Norfolk Southern, With Your Lights SO Bright, Won’t You Resume Your Trains Tonight?

 

U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer today urged Canadian Pacific (CP) and Norfolk Southern to work together to preserve the Holiday Train, an annual Christmas tradition that has for years entertained Southern Tier families and collected thousands in donations for those in need. Schumer explained that Canadian Pacific, which operates the Holiday Train, recently sold hundreds of miles of track to Norfolk Southern, including the D&H South Line route which travels through Oneonta and Southern Tier communities. As a result of this sale, it was announced that the Holiday Train would no longer be passing through local communities.

“Not only does the Holiday Train lift the spirits of families across the Southern Tier, but also raises thousands of dollars in donations for local charities,” said Schumer. “That is why I am urging Canadian Pacific and Norfolk Southern to work together, in the spirit of the holidays, and reach an agreement that would allow this Christmas Train to continue chugging along, bringing holiday cheer to hundreds of Southern Tier residents instead of sitting idly in the station.”

Schumer said the Holiday Train is not only a great tradition for Southern Tier families who look forward to seeing the train’s light show, but also helps local charities and food banks collect thousands of dollars in donations and thousands of pounds of non-perishable foods for low-income families and those in need. With the Christmas season around the corner, Schumer urged Canadian Pacific and Norfolk Southern to work together, in spirit of the upcoming holidays, to deliver this annual tradition to Southern Tier families and those who rely on its annual donations.

Each year the train, adorned in colorful lights, stops in the Conklin area in Broome County and Oneonta in Otsego County to deliver a holiday performance. Those in attendance bring monetary and nonperishable food donations, which combined with Canadian Pacific’s corporate contribution provide significant support to local food banks and area charitable organizations. These donations help feed low-income families whose need is intensified during the holiday season. Schumer said the Christmas Train helps encourage the kind of generosity and giving that defines the holiday spirit.

To the dismay of residents throughout the region, it was recently announced that the Holiday Train would no longer be making its way through communities in the Southern Tier. A recent sale of 280 miles of track to Norfolk Southern means the thoroughfare which the Holiday Train has traveled, is no longer under the ownership of Canadian Pacific. While the Christmas Train will still operate in parts of the North East and Canada, this particular route is impacting Broome and Otsego Counties, which is no longer under CP Rail’s prevue.

Therefore, Schumer urged the two companies to work together to reach an agreement that avoids this discontinuation and allows Canadian Pacific to run its train on Norfolk Southern’s tracks.

In previous years, the Canadian Pacific Train collected thousands of dollars and thousands of pounds of nonperishable food items to donate to local charities and food banks. Guests can bring a monetary or nonperishable food donation that serves as their “ticket” for seeing the Holiday Train. In addition, Broome County CP Rail has made annual corporate donations of thousands of dollars. These donations are given to charities like Opportunities for Otsego, a local organization helping low-income individuals and families in the Southern Tier, as well as the Salvation Army and the Community Hunger Outreach Warehouse in Broome County.  Schumer said this tradition needs to continue to ensure low-income families can get by this Christmas season.

A copy of Schumer’s letter to Canadian Pacific and Norfolk Southern appears below:

Dear Canadian Pacific and Norfolk Southern:

I write on behalf of communities in Broome, Otsego, Schoharie and Schenectady Counties that have for years have participated in the annual tradition of the Canadian Pacific Holiday Train. The much anticipated arrival of the holiday train in Conklin, Oneonta, Cobleskill, Delanson and Schenectady has become a staple of the region’s holiday celebration, and an important fundraising event for local charitable organizations that provide critical support for those in need. Each year, families and friends would eagerly gather at the local rail yards to enjoy the holiday show, marvel at the festive holiday decorations and bring donations to support local food banks and other charitable organizations. This annual tradition brought together families, friends and neighbors, fostered a sense of community and inspired charitable giving.

The news that this much loved event would be discontinued in these communities has been met with much sadness and concern. As you know, the line that runs along the Southern Tier and into the Capital Region, which the Holiday Train utilized are now under Norfolk Southern ownership, and as a result it has been announced that the Canadian Pacific Holiday Train tradition will come to an end in those locations. I join area residents in the hopes that this cherished event can be preserved and I urge your companies to work together to find a solution that will keep this tradition alive for these communities and the local charitable organizations that participate every year.

The Holiday Train has been an important long standing community event. It allows families to celebrate together, and provides an opportunity to teach their children to give back to the community. In the absence of this event, the local charitable organizations would be left with a gap in funding and donations to fill at a time when they are most critically needed. While I was pleased to hear that Canadian Pacific has committed to making one last corporate donation to the dependent charities along the route, there is no plan for a Holiday Train event in these communities, and moving forward the entire revenue stream will be lost. Therefore, I urge Norfork Southern and Canadian Pacific to collaborate and on a solution that keeps the beloved Holiday Train tradition alive in the communities along this route.

Thank you for your consideration of this request, in the spirit of the holidays, to ensure that the Holiday Train tradition continues in the Southern Tier and Capital Region. Should you have any additional questions, please do not hesitate to contact me or my office.

Sincerely,

Charles E. Schumer

United States Senate

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