Saturday, June 13, 2015

CSX Santa Train

After Thanksgiving the CSX Office Car Special is used as the CSX Santa Train in NE Tennessee and SE Kentucky.


By Jack M. Turner
 Photos By John C. Turner

On the Saturday before Thanksgiving the sounds of gleeful children fill the small communities and hollows of rural Appalachia as the annual CSX Santa Train makes its way from Shelby, KY to Kingsport, TN.  At each stop Santa Claus makes his appearance on the rear platform of the last car from which he and a handful of volunteers toss candy and soft toys to the crowd of children encircling the back end of the train.  Meanwhile, several other volunteers detrain and walk among the crowd distributing gifts, wrapping paper, and other goodies.

    Clinchfield Railroad ran the first Santa Train in 1943 in conjunction with the predecessor to today's Kingsport Chamber of Commerce.  Initially the Santa Train consisted of a couple of extra cars added to the rear of the local passenger train that served the route between Kingsport and Elkhorn City, KY.  When the scheduled passenger train ceased operation in the mid-1950s, the Santa Train continued as its own special train.  The idea behind the Santa Train was to give to the children of the impoverished Appalachia region north of Kingsport which was connected by the railroad.  The Santa Train marched on when the Clinchfield was absorbed into the Family Lines rail system in the 1970s and later the Seaboard System in 1982.  And when the CSX mega-railroad was formed in 1986, the tradition lived on in magnificent fashion.

See the entire report with some great photos here:


  1. Great video! Train people are just so nice! Glad they are still carrying on this wonderful tradition!!

  2. Thanks, that was my favorite video. A little Christmas in June to cool things off.