Santa and the Holiday Express depart Union Station with military families

The BNSF Holiday Express on its 10th anniversary took some 400 military service men and women and their families on a festive ride with Santa on Sunday.

The special trip boarded at Union Station and rolled out of downtown on an hour-and-a-half ride.

“It’s Christmas time and this is the kind of thing you want to do — this is the spirit of Christmas,” said Col. Brian Hathaway.

He was riding with his wife, Tracy Hathaway and children.

“This seemed like a really fun way to spend time with family,” Tracy Hathaway said.

The ceremony gave special notice to some 2,000 troops that are going to be deployed by the Missouri National Guard in coming weeks.

The Union Station ride culminated a week of action for the Holiday Express, which overall entertained more than 2,000 military members and their families in Texas, Oklahoma and Missouri.

“We feel like it’s the right thing to do,” said Zak Andersen, president of the BNSF Railway Foundation. “We ought to be doing something to give back and say thanks.”

BNSF also announced it was donating $10,000 to the Missouri National Guard Foundation.