CP CHRISTMAS TRAIN TO STOP

The popular Canadian Pacific Holiday Train will once again make a stop in Watertown next month.

The train in the past has brought huge crowds out to its stop to see the brightly decorated engine and cars, and also to enjoy a half-hour live musical concert.

This year's schedule has the train arriving in Watertown on Sunday, Dec. 3, at 7:45 p.m. at Brandt/Quirk Park. The western end of the park is the CP Rail line where the train will be parked for approximately 45 minutes.

CP Rail said the train will once again feature some nationally known country music artists who will put on a half-hour concert before heading out to the next stop in Columbus. Performing live in concert will be Terri Clark, Dallas Smith and Kelly Prescott.

Each year the crowd gets larger and larger, and this year will no doubt be the largest crowd ever!

So, if you're going, plan to get there ahead of time so you can park and make your way to the tracks well in advance of the estimated 7:45 p.m. arrival time.

Those attending are asked to bring some healthy, nutritious food items, all of which will be donated to the local food pantry.

This year marks the 19th annual Holiday Train, and to date nearly $13 million in cash and over 4 million pounds of nonperishable food donations have been received.

All totaled the train will make 13 stops in Wisconsin along its main line between Chicago and Minneapolis-St. Paul.

The Wisconsin segment of the Holiday Train begins Saturday, Dec. 2.

Here's the tentative schedule:

Saturday, Dec. 2:

5:25 p.m. Sturtevant

6:50 p.m. Milwaukee (the train spends the night in Milwaukee)

Sunday, Dec. 3:

4:15 p.m. Wauwatosa

5:45 p.m. Hartland

6:55 p.m. Oconomowoc

7:45 p.m. Watertown

9:05 p.m. Columbus (The train spends the night in Columbus)

Monday, Dec. 4:

1:15 p.m. Portage

2:45 p.m. Wisconsin Dells

4:15 p.m. Mauston

5:30 p.m. Tomah

6:40 p.m. Sparta

8:45 p.m. La Crosse

There are two Holiday Trains operating this year. One will have its entire route in Canada and the other, the one going through Watertown, will make most of its stops in the United States.

The Wisconsin train will initially begin in Toronto, Canada, and head down toward Chicago before breaking into Wisconsin territory with the first stop in Sturtevant. It leaves Wisconsin after the La Crosse stop and makes its way up to Winona, Minneapolis and a number of other stops before heading to Minot, North Dakota, and then across the border and into Canada for its final stop at Calgary.

So, put that one on your calendar (hopefully the Daily Times calendar), stop out at Brandt/Quirk Park for the Holiday Train.

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CITY POPULATION OVER 24,000

Earlier this week we published a story on the gradually declining enrollments in the Watertown Unified School District and how those declines, while relatively small, do have a major impact on the state funds available for education.

One of the reasons for the decline was a stable or only slightly growing population of the city.

Well, the Wisconsin Department of Administration has come out with new population estimates as of Jan. 1.

The new estimates show Watertown's population now stands at 24,031, the first time the population has exceeded the 24,000 mark. The increase is only 36 from the 2016 estimate of 23,995.

The population of the Dodge County side of the city is now 8,582 and on the Jefferson County side it is 15,449. Of those totals, 6,740 are of voting age in Dodge County and 11,325 are of voting age in Jefferson County. Together there's a potential for a little over 18,000 citizens eligible to vote. That is a pretty high percentage of people age 18 and older and is a reflection that the average age in the city is creeping up.

Watertown had a number of years with strong growth, but in recent years that growth has slowed dramatically. Let's hope we can kick up the pace and maybe even accelerate the population gains.

Remember, this is only an estimate by the state Department of Administration but those numbers are usually pretty accurate. The department uses such statistics as vehicle registrations, voting records, new construction and the like.

The next official census won't be coming for another three years and that one is the most accurate one of them all. We'll see how things look when the census is completed.

It won't take long and the city limits signs will be changed to reflect the new population estimate.

Being over 24,000 sounds better than 23,000+ and, better yet, 25,000 has a nice ring to it.

A little more population helps the economy of the community and as long as it's not overly fast, the city can easily accommodate the extra people and it might make things more efficient.

TLS

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