Ghost Stories and Tall Tales of the American South

Story of The Santa Claus Special Train


Story of the annual Santa Claus train through Appalachia known as the “Santa Claus Special,” sponsored by CSX Transportation.

In some of the most remote areas of Appalachia, the start of the holiday season traditionally begins with the arrival of theĀ Santa Special, a train owned and operated by CSX Transportation with Santa himself on board. For over 57-years, thousands of rural families have turned out to welcome Santa along a 110-mile route that begins in Pikeville, Kentucky and ends up in Kingsport, Tennessee.

Santa Claus Train Rider

The tradition began in 1943 when a small group of Kingsport businessmen wanted to do something to thank their customers in Southwest Virginia. They made arrangements with representatives of the Clinchfield Railroad (the predecessor of CSX), and created what would become the world’s largest Santa Parade.

As it winds it way though the remote valleys, coal fields and lumberyards of Appalachia, the Santa Train touches many lives along the way. Santa and his team of volunteers (which have included country singers Travis Tritt and Patty Loveless) deliver over 15 tons of gifts along the way, along with plenty of holiday cheer and excitement. In addition, two high school seniors along the way are awarded the Santa Train Scholarships each year to help them fund their college educations.

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3 Responses to “Story of The Santa Claus Special Train”

patty blackwell:

Do you sale tickets to ride the Santa Train?


Not us! You can Google it for information.


It’s done from an industrial type train and not a passenger traain, but that would be cool. When I was a kid, you could go to any local railroad crossing (90s) and the volunteers would throw you presents as it went by slowly.
Now, they still have it but you have to go to a few scheduled designated stops I believe. To discourage the idea of kids hanging out by (and on lol) the tracks, in a matter of safety.

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