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Holiday Train to roll into town Friday, December 14

The Holiday Train will roll into Alexandria this Friday, spreading a message of Christmas cheer and giving.

The train, which raises money for food shelves, is scheduled to arrive at the 8th Avenue East railroad crossing near the Hubbard Feed Mill shortly before noon.

The Holiday Train program began in 1999 with a handful of communities and a few lights on a freight train.

Today, with its hundreds of thousands of festive lights and a live show featuring well known performers, it's one of Canadian Pacific's main ambassadors in working with communities in Canada and the United States and is the only fundraiser of its kind for food banks in North America.

Since the program's inception, more than $6.4 million and more than 2.6 million pounds of food have been collected in Canada and the United States.

Those attending the Alexandria stop are encouraged to see the train, watch the performances and make a donation, cash or a non-perishable item, to support the food shelf.

All food and money raised at each of the Holiday Train's stops will stay in that local community.

The entertainers at this year's show will be Tracey Brown and The Claytones.

Over her career, Brown has released more than 20 albums and was nominated for a Juno as Best Country Female Vocalist in 1999. She is also a member of the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame. She and husband, Randall Prescott have been actively involved in production of the Holiday Train since 2004, as well as performing on many of the tours.

The Claytones are a trio of talented singer-songwriters who deliver a melodic, vocal driven, Canadian brand of country soaked roots music with old school sensibilities. The National Post listed them as one of the top five Canadian Acts to watch in 2012.