Military families enjoy special train ride for the holidays

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- On Sunday afternoon, local military members and their families enjoyed time aboard the BNSF Railroad Holiday Express Train. It’s an annual train ride that is organized by the railroad company as a way to thank those who serve our country and treat their families as well.

During the hour and a half local train ride families enjoyed scenic views and quality time together. Santa and Mrs. Clause were on board as well delivering gifts while kids drank hot chocolate and ate cookies.

“It’s just making memories, it’s prioritizing time with family and this is such a unique thing and we don’t get the opportunity to ride on a train like this everyday,” said U.S. Army Captain Dallas Nivens.

Nivens has served in the army for 10 years. He has done tours in Iraq and Korea, which involves a lot of time away from family.

“When we have an opportunity like this you can’t say no because you don’t get these every year, you’re not promised time with your family every year,” he explained.

After the train ride, leaders with the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad Company presented a $10,000 check to the Missouri National Guard Relief Fund which helps support local military families in need.

“For BNSF we feel like it’s something small that we can do that thanks people for the sacrifice that they go through all year long, not just active military personnel but their families too,” said Zak Andersen President, BNSF Railway Foundation.

This is the 10th year for the Holiday Express. Each year it provides more than 2,000 rides for military families in Texas, Oklahoma and Missouri.