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In reversal, CSX Santa Train to run in November

By | September 27, 2022

Trip on Nov. 19 will mark 80th year of tradition begun by Clinchfield

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Train greeted by large crowd of people
Train greeted by large crowd of people
The 2018 CSX Santa Train draws a crowd in Elkhorn City, Ky. The train is now slated to operate in November, after an earlier announcement that it would not run this year. (Chris Anderson)

KINGSPORT, Tenn. — The CSX Santa Train will run this year after all.

In a reversal of an earlier decision, the Santa Train Facebook page announced this morning (Tuesday, Sept. 27) that the train will mark its 80th anniversary year by running on Saturday, Nov. 19.

“Feedback and community support, in addition to positive developments regarding staffing, have made it possible for the train to run its traditional route from Shelby Yard near Pikeville, Ky., to Kingsport, Tenn.,” the post says. Additional details from the railroad and co-sponsors Food City, the Kingsport Chamber of Commerce, Appalachian Power and Souls4Souls will be released on social media in the days and weeks ahead.

Bryan Tucker, CSX vice president of corporate communications, said in a press release that the Santa Train “is an important tradition, and running the train on its 80th anniversary and beyond was always our hope. … Going forward, our plan is to continue the event in Appalachia. The Santa Train means so much to so many, from the community to our employees. Our hope is to use the Santa Train tradition as a blueprint for community events and holiday trains in other parts of our network as well.”

The Kingsport Times News reported last month that the train would not run in 2022, this time because of staffing and supply-chain problems, after being sidelined for two years because of the COVID-19 pandemic [see “CSX Santa Train will not run for third straight year,” Trains News Wire, Aug. 23, 2022]. At the time, Bryan Tucker, CSX vice president of corporate communications, said “all of CSX’s resources and personnel are needed to help service our customers and keep the nation’s economy moving.” The gift distribution that is part of the train’s trip was to have been handled as a drive-up event at grocery stories along the train’s route, as it had been the previous two years.

The Santa Train originated in 1943 on the predecessor Clinchfield Railroad. It last operated on Nov. 23, 2019, with a consist powered by CSX’s executive F40PH-2 locomotives [see “CSX Santa Train makes its 77th journey,” News Wire, Nov. 25, 2019].

10 thoughts on “In reversal, CSX Santa Train to run in November

  1. The Grinch had a change of heart, again. How much of this decision is related to a having a new CEO and the recent labor agreements?

  2. As others have posted, I wonder if the reversal of the decission to run the Christmas train reflects the new CEO’s decission to better honor employees rational requests, if so it bodes well. Of course it could just be driven by PR decissions and recent gains in operating metrics as viewed by management. Hope it is the former more than the latter, but as W. Fegely stated time will tell.

  3. Yes, “Time will tell” but an encouraging development that perhaps CSX won’t be a Christmas “scrooge” after all.

    No doubt the communities along the CSX Santa Train will appreciate this change of heart on this …..

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