Keolis Continues Holiday Tradition of Taking Hundreds of Children by Train to the “North Pole”

Santa Claus, Elves & Local elected officials joined 900 children and their families for sing-alongs and readings of the holiday classic “The Polar Express”

BOSTON – December 11, 2017 – On Saturday Keolis Commuter Services (Keolis), the MBTA’s commuter rail operating partner, hosted area children once again for a North Pole Express train ride. Wearing pajamas and singing holiday songs, approximately 900 children and their families embarked on a journey to the “North Pole” and back as part of a full afternoon of free holiday activities. In response to popularity and the event’s past successes the number of coach cars has doubled in recent years, enabling Keolis to make the experience available to hundreds of additional children.

At South Station children were greeted by First Lady of Massachusetts Lauren Baker and were treated to free hot chocolate and cookies, courtesy of Au Bon Pain, prior to boarding the 10-car train. On board, local personalities read books and led holiday sing-alongs. The return portion of the trip featured a visit from Santa Claus and his elves. Tickets for this invitation-only event were provided to families served by local nonprofit organizations (see full list below).

“Trains capture children’s imaginations in a special way. Combining that captivation with the magic of the holidays makes our North Pole Express something special that we look forward to every season,” said David Scorey, General Manager and CEO of Keolis. “Out of the many thousands of trains we run annually, this is by far our favorite. We are committed to the communities we serve, and I want to thank the countless Keolis volunteers and community sponsors who help create this special experience.”

South Station and train coaches were filled with the sound of caroling performed by local groups, such as Mass Whole Notes, Redline, Simmons Sirens, Sound Off A Capella and Very Merry Dickens Carolers. Each child also received a holiday gift bag, which included a coloring book, crayons and a Polar Express bell. A full list of sponsors who helped with this event and these materials is included below.

“Hundreds of children and families from all across the region look forward to this annual tradition of taking a ride on the North Pole Express,” said Mayor Martin J. Walsh. “I thank Keolis and all partners and volunteers involved for putting on this special event that provides some of the best family memories of the year, and brings a little extra joy to people during the holiday season.”

Each coach car featured elected officials and local celebrities as readers of Chris Van Allsburg’s classic “The Polar Express”, including:
• Mayor-elect Yvonne Spicer, City of Framingham
• Senator Linda Dorcena Forry (Boston, 1st Suffolk)
• Representative Mike Moran, (Boston, 18th Suffolk)
• State Senator Michael Rush, (Norfolk and Suffolk Senate District)
• David Wade, WBZ-TV Anchor
• Kenneth Green, MBTA Transit Police Chief
• Ryan Coholan, MBTA Chief Railroad Officer
• David Scorey, Keolis CEO
• Gerald Francis, Keolis President
• Laura Koenig, Boston Public Library Children’s Room Director

Keolis organized and sponsored the North Pole Express, working with many local nonprofit organizations throughout the year to identify families with limited financial means to participate in this invitation-only event.

Partnering organizations included: South Boston Neighborhood House, Big Sister Association of Greater Boston, The Home for Little Wanderers, Boys & Girls Clubs of Boston, Children’s Friend and Family Services, Rosie’s Place, Horizons for Homeless Children, Boys and Girls Club of Lynn, Family Independence Initiative, Boys & Girls Club of Dorchester and Community Connections of Brocton.

Sponsors of the event included: Ashkenazy Acquisition Corp., Au Bon Pain, Daven, Markley Group, Northern Tree, Standard Modern, US Ecology, CDW Consultants, Danella, Diesel Direct, Eastern Insurance, Felix Marino Paving, Keville, Koppers, Likaar, Merchants, Quality Support Group, UTC, ARI, 1Stop, Granite City, HDR, Holiday Inn, LJ Electric, Milton Cat, Sherwood Electronics, Terminal Exchange, TNT, Taylor Oil, Tools Unlimited, WABCO and WB Mason.

Surrounded by holiday characters and children are from left: Boston Police Commissioner William Evans, Framingham Mayor-Elect Yvonne Spicer. Back Row: Keolis President Gerald Francis, Massachusetts First Lady Lauren Baker, Keolis GM and CEO David Scorey. MBTA GM Luis Ramirez, MBTA Transit Police Chief Kenneth Green