Santa Train Delivered Early Christmas Surprises to Children Across Appalachia
Santa – and Team CSX – brought holiday cheer and presents galore to thousands of children in three states across its network last month. On Saturday, Nov. 19, the Santa Train made its 74th annual 110-mile run through Kentucky, Virginia and Tennessee, distributing 15 tons of toys along with other gifts, food and winter clothing to families around the route. Both Santa Claus and country music star and native Tennessean Darryl Worley came along for the ride, helping make spirits bright at each of the 14 stops along the route.
Planning and gathering presents for the Santa Train is a year-round effort. In early November, more than 300 CSX employees gathered at the Prime Osborn Convention Center in Jacksonville, Fla. to load 5,000 gift bags of toys and cold weather gear onto the historic train. And at the Santa Train’s annual packing party in Kingsport, Tenn., representatives from Food City joined community volunteers, Santa and other sponsors to assemble gifts for families along the route in preparation for this cherished CSX tradition.
Dating back to 1943, the Santa Train was launched by the Merchants Bureau of Kingsport – now the Kingsport Chamber of Commerce – and one of CSX’s predecessor railroads, the Clinchfield Railroad, in order to express their gratitude to the residents of rural Eastern Kentucky and Southwest Virginia.
Today, CSX works with numerous other sponsors to bring the Santa Train to rural communities each year. CSX donates personnel, equipment, logistics support, gift bags, train cars and track time, while Food City and the Kingsport Chamber of Commerce provide donations and volunteers to staff the train, stuff gift bags, and provide gift storage, and Dignity U Wear provides the winter weather accessories included in each gift bag.
For updates about the Santa Train, visit www.beyondourrails.org/index.cfm/events/santa-train/.
You can also follow Santa Train news on Facebook at facebook.com/santatrain.