Posts Tagged ‘Clinchfield Santa Train’

CSX Santa Train Runs on the Clinchfield Route

November 22, 2022

The CSX Santa Claus train returned to the rails last weekend after a two-year absence due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Santa Train ran between Pikesville, Kentucky, and Kingsport, Tennessee, over the former Clinchfield Railroad.

One crew operated the train, which made made 14 stops in Kentucky, Virginia and Tennessee. During the journey on Saturday CSX and the train’s co-sponsors gave away 16,000 toys and backpacks.

On board was CSX CEO Joe Hinrichs who said he had learned about the train the day before he was announced earlier this year as the Class 1 railroad’s next CEO. He said he asked what could be done to bring it back.

Aside from having just one operating crew run the train the length of its route, the CSX engineering department also provided protection for the train during stops. In previous years those duties had been undertaken by operating personnel.

It was the 80th running of the Santa train and it drew large crowds along the way.

Bah Humbug! CSX Scraps Santa Train

August 24, 2022

CSX has killed its annual Santa Train, the third consecutive year it has done so.

The Class 1 carrier cancelled the 110-mile excursion that travels over the former Clinchfield Railroad from Kentucky to Kingsport, Tennessee, in 2020 and 2021 because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Santa Train tradition began in 1943 with stops in select cities where children could board the train and receive gifts. In some instances, Santa tossed gifts from an open platform passenger car.

This year CSX cited staffing and supply-chain issues for cancelling the train.

However, CSX said 5,000 back packs with toys will be distributed in drive-up events at Food City grocery stores along the train’s route.

The Santa Train last ran on Nov. 23, 2019, when it was pulled by CSX’s executive train F40PH-2 locomotives.

Drive Up Sites Named to Replace Clinchfield Santa Train

October 30, 2020

Drive-up gift stations have been chosen to replace the annual Santa Train on the former Clinchfield Railroad.

Toys will be distributed on Nov. 21 at Food City grocery stores in Pikeville, Kentucky, and in St. Paul, Clintwood, and Weber City, Virginia.

The gift stations replaced the long-standing Santa train. CSX earlier this year said it would suspend the Santa train this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Clinchfield Business Car to be on CSX Santa Train

November 15, 2019

A former Clinchfield Railroad business car will be assigned to the annual CSX Santa Train that will operate on Nov. 23 on the former Clinchfield in Kentucky, Tennessee and Virginia.

Car No. 100 is owned by the Watauga Valley Railroad Historical Society and Museum in Johnson City, Tennessee, and will be on the rear of the 77th edition of the Santa Train.

CSX business car West Virginia had been the tail car and will still be part of the consist.

No. 100 has recently been refurbished and will be used by Santa to toss gifts of food and toys to the crowds that turn out each year along the train’s journey.

Watauga Valley volunteer Mike Tilley told Trains magazine that Clinchfield No. 100 has operated on past Santa trains.

The train in recent years has also had other Clinchfield touches.

Former Clinchfield F unit No. 800 led the Santa Train two years ago. Other locomotives assigned to the train have either been re-lettered “Clinchfield” or had a “Clinchfield” sticker applied to their nose.

No. 100 was built by Pullman Car Company in 1911 for the Atlantic Coast Line.

The Clinchfield purchased it in 1951 and rebuilt it to include three bedrooms, a kitchen and a restroom.

In the recent renovation of the car, the bedrooms were removed and the interior was redone. The kitchen and restroom were left intact.

The Santa Train will start its trip at Shelby Yard near Pikeville, Kentucky, and travel through Southwest Virginia en route to Kingsport.

Gifts will be distributed at 13 locations along the route. More information is available at