I believe it was back around 1972 that I first came up with the idea for a Santa Train for the Grand Trunk Western Railroad. I was their employee communications officer and we were looking for ways to bring top management and the workers closer together and eliminate the awful feeling they all had about each other.
After talking with Paul Dessinger at the DT&I about a few of the folks trimming up a caboose and taking some orphans on a train ride my mind took a hitchhike on something much more elaborate, a Santa Train on Grand Trunk and I submitted the idea to John H. Burdakin who was then Vice President of Operations. My idea was to put a special train together and take it from city to city on the Grand Trunk. Have several coaches the employees and their whole families could walk through meeting the top executives of our railroad together with their families. Our goal was for every employee to have the opportunity to shake hands with the top boss and for the top boss to meet every employee and their families. Of course everyone would meet Santa Claus too and get presents.
A while later I got a call from John Burdakin inviting me to attend a meeting at headquarters. They were calling in everyone that might make the Santa Train idea come true. I believe that was 1972 and recently I googled Santa Train and discovered that the Santa Train is still running. Grand Trunk has become CN/IC, that is Canadian National/Illinois Central and the Santa Train is making stops at both railroads with several on the old Detroit Toledo and Ironton too. There is nothing as powerful as an idea who’s time has come.