Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Information to Seeing the CSX Santa Prepare in Kentucky, Virginia, and Tennessee

Seeing a blue and yellow CSX locomotive hauling freight alongside the railroads via Appalachia is nothing uncommon. However on the Saturday earlier than Thanksgiving, the long-lasting locomotive pulls one thing totally different – a string of passenger automobiles, 15 tons of items, and Santa Claus. It’s the annual CSX Santa Prepare, a convention courting again many years.

My household’s Christmas custom with the Santa Prepare began with an accident in 1988. My brother, sister, and I had been crammed into the household automobile on our technique to see household in Large Stone Hole. Whereas driving via St. Paul, my mother seen a throng of onlookers gathered close to the railroad observe in the midst of city.

My dad stopped the automobile and walked towards the tracks to seek out out what was occurring. A second later, he returned and shouted, “Everyone get out. The Santa Prepare is coming!”

Twenty-six years later, I returned to St. Paul to expertise the CSX Santa Prepare once more. I couldn’t assist the goosebumps that crept alongside my arms and backbone when the acquainted locomotive trudged across the curve. The prepare stopped, and ‘ole Saint Nick stepped onto the lined platform on the final automobile.

The CSX Santa Prepare is one thing everybody should expertise no less than as soon as. This journey information is every little thing you must find out about seeing the prepare because it travels via the small cities in Appalachia from Shelby, Kentucky, to Kingsport, Tennessee.

CSX Santa Prepare Map

Find out how to use this map: Click on the icon within the top-left nook to open the Map Legend, then click on on any of the legend objects to show extra info. When you’ve got a Google account, click on the (very faint) star on the finish of the map’s title to avoid wasting this map to your account, then entry the map out of your smartphone throughout your journey.

Historical past of the CSX Santa Prepare

Most coal miners’ households lived in poverty and spent most of their hard-earned revenue on the naked requirements. Christmas was a luxurious few might afford. So, in 1943, a service provider’s affiliation in Kingsport devised a technique to have a good time the gift-giving season.

The affiliation collected toys, clothes, and meals from companies and residents. A number of tons had been collected through the first run in 1943 – almost 15 tons had been loaded onto the prepare in 2023.

The Clinchfield Railroad’s most important line related Elkhorn Metropolis, Kentucky, to Kingsport, Tennessee. The inaugural “Santa Claus Particular” traveled the principle line in 1943. By 1986, the railroad was operated by CSX after a number of mergers introduced dozens of railroads collectively. Since then, the CSX Santa Prepare has continued the custom.

2023 CSX Santa Prepare Schedule

The 2023 CSX Santa Prepare runs on Saturday, November 18, 2023, starting on the Shelby Yards close to Pikeville, Kentucky, and touring via Virginia to Centennial Park in Kingsport, Tennessee.

Right here is the entire schedule of stops the Santa Prepare makes all through its run:

  • 6:00 a.m. at Shelbiana, KY
  • 6:20 a.m. at Marrowbone, KY
  • 7:05 a.m. at Elkhorn Metropolis, KY
  • 7:45 a.m. at Toms Backside, VA
  • 8:07 a.m. at Haysi, VA
  • 8:40 a.m. at Clinchco, VA
  • 9:08 a.m. at Fremont, VA
  • 10:08 a.m. at Dante, VA
  • 10:53 a.m. at St. Paul, VA
  • 12:03 p.m. at Dungannon, VA
  • 12:48 p.m. at Ft. Blackmore, VA
  • 1:48 p.m. at Kermit, VA
  • 2:20 p.m. at Waycross, VA
  • 3:00 p.m. at Kingsport, TN

Shelbiana, KY

The CSX Santa Prepare’s first cease is the Shelby Yard within the unincorporated Shelbiana, Kentucky. The yard is a few fifteen-minute drive from Pikeville alongside U.S. Freeway 23. Parking is scattered however plentiful.

St. Paul, VA

St. Paul is the very best place to see the CSX Santa Prepare after Kingsport. If you happen to arrive early, round 10 a.m., chances are you’ll discover straightforward parking alongside Riverside Drive adjoining to the railroad tracks. If you happen to arrive later, you’ll discover loads of parking all through the small city, however use Smart Avenue for simple entry.

It takes about 40 minutes to drive to St. Paul from Abingdon alongside U.S. Freeway 58 Alternate.

Dungannon, VA

Dungannon just isn’t a straightforward city to go to, nevertheless it’s a part of a two-hour loop from Norton that features a few different stops. It takes about 30-40 minutes to drive to Dungannon alongside U.S. Freeway 58 Alternate and Dungannon Street.

The CSX Santa Prepare stops close to a pointy bend within the highway close to the center of the unincorporated city. One of the best place to park is close by Dungannon Elementary College – it’s a few five-minute stroll from there. Curiously, you’ll be able to stand on a bridge the place Sinking Creek Freeway crosses the railroad and watch the Santa Prepare go beneath.

Fort Blackmore, VA

Fort Blackmore is among the best locations to see the CSX Santa Prepare but in addition probably the most tough locations for parking. The freeway crosses the railroad and Clinch River. Park wherever alongside the highway’s shoulder at both finish of the bridge and stroll alongside Islandview Circle to the purpose the place the Santa Prepare stops.

There’s loads of room for individuals on the cease, and it’s a safer place from the principle freeway.

Copper Creek Viaduct in Duffield, VA

One of the best view of the CSX Santa Prepare is from an overgrown scenic overlook alongside U.S. Freeway 23 in Duffield. After the prepare passes via a tunnel, it crosses the spectacular Copper Creek Viaduct. Inbuilt 1908, the trestle is 167 toes above the Clinch River and spans 1,091 toes.

Whereas crossing the historic trestle, Santa often seems for keen onlookers on the scenic overlook.

Kingsport, TN

The one cease the CSX Santa Prepare makes in Tennessee can be the ultimate cease. It’s the very best place to see the Santa Prepare on its journey from Kentucky. There’s loads of free parking all through downtown Kingsport and loads of room in Centennial Park to benefit from the prepare.

CSX Santa Prepare in Kingsport, TN

The festivities in Kingsport begin lengthy earlier than the CSX Santa Prepare arrives. Santa’s Depot opens at 1 p.m. in Centennial Park, a small public park close to Residents Financial institution within the former prepare depot. Vacation actions embrace writing letters to Santa and crafts. Take pleasure in sizzling chocolate, cookies, and festive music whereas ready for Santa’s arrival.

The CSX Santa Prepare arrives in Kingsport at 3 p.m. Upon arrival, an unbelievably chipper Santa Claus exits the prepare and visits everybody on the park.

After I was a child, Santa would exit the prepare and hop onto the final float of the Kingsport Christmas Parade. That modified a couple of years in the past. Now, the parade is held on the primary Saturday in December.

Suggestions for Seeing the CSX Santa Prepare

It’s straightforward to get wrapped up within the festive spirit and neglect that the CSX Santa Prepare is a giant piece of equipment trudging alongside railroad tracks. CSX staff and native police spare no effort to make it a protected expertise. However you continue to must look earlier than you cross!

Listed here are a couple of tricks to benefit from seeing the CSX Santa Prepare:

  • Plan to reach an hour earlier than the prepare to discover a good parking spot
  • Park your car so that each one 4 tires are off the paved highway
  • Don’t block any driveways when parking
  • Look rigorously earlier than crossing roads – don’t assume visitors will cease simply since you step into the highway
  • Watch out when crossing over railroad tracks
  • Hearken to the directions from CSX staff when the prepare arrives and departs
  • By no means stand in entrance of the locomotive, even when it’s parked
  • It’s extra vital to be protected than to take a selfie
  • Kids sitting in your shoulders have the very best likelihood of catching toys

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