CSX/Clinchfield Santa Train 75th Anniversary Run - Something coming?`

On Saturday 11/18, the CSX Santa Train will run through Virginia, Kentucky and Tennessee. A tradition started by the Clinchfield Railroad in 1943 is still continued by CSX.

In 1992, for the 50th Run, the UP Challenger was temporarily modified to resemble a Clinchfield Challenger, as the Clinchfield had challengers built to, or at least very close to, UP specifications.

This year is the 75th Anniversary run and there are several reports from local news channels, railfan webpages and forums, Trains Newswire and others that for the 75th run, "historic Clinchfield Locomotives" will pull the train instead of the standard CSX freight locos.

A topic of speculation was the C&O F unit at the North Carolina Transportation Museum, an ex-Clinchfield engine and former CSX OCS engine, which is being repainted into the Clinchfield paint at CSX's Huntington shop. Anyone local to the Santa Train area have any further info?

 

....and no, CSX has not towed the Clinchfield #1 4-6-0, a former regular loco on the Santa Train out of the B&O Museum.....(hey, a guy can dream!)......

Original Post

SJC

I didn’t read a thing about it in my local Erwin TN paper this AM.

It use to be parked here in the CSX yard several days before the trip. It was decorated and cleaned up as well

I think the crew was all from here in Erwin.

Now that CSX has closed the yard I dont know where the train starts the trip.

110 miles I think.

I will certainly be watching now and  appreciate  your post.

When I get a chance I’ll contact our local Clinchfield Museum. You would think they can shed a little light on the subject.

Larry

LCCA 29005 and  TCA 13-69595

Larry Sr. posted:

SJC

I didn’t read a thing about it in my local Erwin TN paper this AM.

It use to be parked here in the CSX yard several days before the trip. It was decorated and cleaned up as well

I think the crew was all from here in Erwin.

Now that CSX has closed the yard I dont know where the train starts the trip.

110 miles I think.

I will certainly be watching now and  appreciate  your post.

When I get a chance I’ll contact our local Clinchfield Museum. You would think they can shed a little light on the subject.

Larry

When I chased 676 (UP 3985) the Santa Claus train ran from Shelbiana, KY to Kingsport, TN. They were initially going to turn the Challenger on the wye in Kingsport but somebody miscalculated and the tender derailed on the first attempt. Therefore, all northbound moves involved the train being pulled by diesels and a second move with a diesel towing the 3985 with her water and tool cars backwards. In addition to the Santa Claus train, there were two public excursions and the inbound and outbound ferry moves.

Clinchfield 676 (UP 3985) 1992 CSX Santa Express

I was told the train is in Huntington, and will go to Shelbiana, Ky and start south from there. That is strictly a presumption my me. You might find out something from the CSX though.......?

Listening to "Horror Stories", from employees both active, as well as, retired. My main question, is there enough railroad people left to manage something like this........?

I'm curious where they will place this in the Santa Train consist.  I've worked the Santa Train myself three times and was told by a Trainmaster they preferred conventional cab units leading as it provides superior visibility to the head end crew when arriving at one of stops.  

Although the railroad police make a valiant effort to keep people back till the train has stopped; there are so many milling around and pressing against the yellow police line tape it has to mean a few tense moments for the headend crew at each stopping location.

Curt

I really have to try and be over in Kingsport  or wherever to get at least a look at either engine.

I was born here in Erwin TN in 1948.

At that time my Grandpa and Dad both worked for Clinchfield here in Erwin.

I have never seen a  real Clinchfield running engine that I can remember as a kid, even a repaint. 

SO it's kinda like turned into a bucket list item after your post SJC. lol

Larry

 

LCCA 29005 and  TCA 13-69595

juniata guy posted:

I imagine the SD45 will lead then; for the reason I mentioned earlier.

Curt

Latest info I just read is; #800 will be in the lead, followed by the SD45, followed by two more CSX units (don't remember those two road numbers, however).

EDIT:  The two CSX units will be #9992 and #9999, behind the former SCL SD45.

I've had several friends work on both the 800 and "3632" and they both look fantastic.. of note, the 3632 is not a former Clinchfield engine. It was lettered "one up" from the last CRR SD45 (3631) acquired in a trade with SCL for some GEs. 800 is going to look and sound GREAT (M5 horn mounted on the top) pulling the Santa Train. 

Hot Water posted:
juniata guy posted:

I imagine the SD45 will lead then; for the reason I mentioned earlier.

Curt

Latest info I just read is; #800 will be in the lead, followed by the SD45, followed by two more CSX units (don't remember those two road numbers, however).

EDIT:  The two CSX units will be #9992 and #9999, behind the former SCL SD45.

Yes sir.  I caught Ron Flanary's response to me earlier on TRAINS Newswire.  This is one instance I'm happy to be wrong Jack.

Curt

 

I was raised in Kingsport and saw a lot of these F units in their heyday.  Not going to be able to get down there to see the Santa Train but hope to see a lot of videos on YouTube.  Great to see this engine painted back to the Gray and Yellow paint scheme this engine needs to pull the Santa Train every Year maybe run a few excursions during the year and keep the Clinchfield History alive.  Maybe a DVD will be made put me down for one. 

Is this one of the only times CSX runs a passenger train for the benefit of the public? And they’re using older diesel units, too. But who gets to ride the train? Just Santa, CSX employees, and higher ups? I can’t believe that EHH is actually spending money on this, and running heritage units, too. If 614 pulled this you would have every foamer from miles around show up.

Robert K posted:

Is this one of the only times CSX runs a passenger train for the benefit of the public?

Probably.

And they’re using older diesel units, too. But who gets to ride the train?

Just the Santa Train workers, i.e. it is NOT an "excursion".

Just Santa, CSX employees, and higher ups?

That pretty well covers it.

I can’t believe that EHH is actually spending money on this, and running heritage units, too. If 614 pulled this you would have every foamer from miles around show up.

 

I have a DVD from when the repainted UP Challenger lead the train.  Hope there is a lot of video and maybe even a DVD from this run.  I am surprised they still do it.  Seems like all it will take is one kid tripping on the rail to get a piece of candy and the lawyers will swoop in.  That is not even getting into EHH's fondness for cost cutting.  To be fair the CP Christmas Train survived under his rule.  Hopefully the Santa Train does as well. 

 

Those are some great looking engines.

I'm a CSX customer and have worked the Santa Train three times the past 11 years.  

In addition to CSX employees and customers, Food City and the Kingsport Chamber of Commerce each have groups on the train.  

Each group is assigned a business car where they will spend the day with the exception of those times they are either on the rear of the train with Santa Claus or walking through the crowd at a stop distributing gift bags or wrapping paper.  Media is assigned their own business car as is the country guest star and their entourage.  There is also a dining  car set up to distribute lunches to the Santa Train workers although you don't eat in the diner.  Lunches are taken back to your assigned car and eaten there.

All participants on the train receive name tags that identify the car you are assigned to as well as the locations and times you will either work the rear of the train or on the ground.

CSX employees and customers are normally assigned the Greenbriar; a lounge car.  At least that's been my experience the three times I've worked the train.

To borrow an old phrase, working the Santa Train is one of the most fun things you can do with your clothes on.  It's a VERY long day but; even Scrooge would be in the Christmas spirit by the time he arrived in Kingsport.

Curt

Robert K posted:

If 614 pulled this you would have every foamer from miles around show up.

Yeah, but most wouldn't get but one photo. I'm very familiar with the area (my folks grew up in Elizabethton, but in Clinchfield territory) and saw plenty of CRR trains as a kid going up there for summer or Christmas trips to see family. Talk about twists and turns. Not a lot of places where you'd get ahead of a train with any speed on it. Some of the tracks are way out in the middle of nowhere. Even after all these years, it's still pretty wild country.

I'm so happy they're keeping the CRR traditions alive. I'm sure as a little kid I must have seen Clinchfield F units as they ran into the 70s, I think but I don't remember seeing any.

Seeing that the old CRR has taken a hit, use-wise by CSX recently (especially after shutting down the Erwin yard), I'm very happy to hear this tradition is going on.

Garfield posted:

I have a DVD from when the repainted UP Challenger lead the train. 

The UP Challenger was NOT "repainted". Only magnetic signs were used to reflect "CLINCHFIELD" on the sides of the tender, and road number change on the cab sides. A new temporary number plate was installed in place of the UP shield #3985 number plate.

Hope there is a lot of video and maybe even a DVD from this run.  I am surprised they still do it.  Seems like all it will take is one kid tripping on the rail to get a piece of candy and the lawyers will swoop in.  That is not even getting into EHH's fondness for cost cutting.  To be fair the CP Christmas Train survived under his rule.  Hopefully the Santa Train does as well. 

 

Those are some great looking engines.

 

Hot Water posted:
Garfield posted:

I have a DVD from when the repainted UP Challenger lead the train. 

The UP Challenger was NOT "repainted". Only magnetic signs were used to reflect "CLINCHFIELD" on the sides of the tender, and road number change on the cab sides. A new temporary number plate was installed in place of the UP shield #3985 number plate.



The only other thing that was modified was a shield was placed over the headlight to reflect a Clinchfield engine. The real Clinchfield challengers had a single stack whereas 3985 and the other UP engines of such class had dual stacks, but outside of that the engine played a pretty good 676.

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All WM fans have true class! 

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Hi All

For anyone interested  in the Clinchfield Santa Train Run I have cut and pasted the following information out of local articles. From what I have read there will be a lot of individuals chasing this train.

Santa’s Depot is a BRAND NEW event packed with children’s activities prior to the arrival of the
75 th Annual Santa Train.  On Saturday, November 18 th from 1pm-4pm, Kingsport TN.

Kingsport’s Centennial Park will come alive with Christmas magic.  The event will host LIVE reindeer and will serve as the official drop off location for “Letters to Santa”.  Booths will offer a variety of activities from holiday airbrush tattoos, cookie decorating, making paperchain garland to a learning experience with Professor Photon and his marshmallow shooter.  Inflatables, a kids train and food truck vendors will be onsite as well.

Live entertainment and holiday performances will be hosted throughout the day.  Around 3pm, the Santa Train will make its final stop in Kingsport.  Santa and Ricky Skaggs will perform from the Santa Depot stage.

This event is family-friendly.  An activity passport will be distributed to children ONLY.  All activities are at no cost.

 

 

The 75th running of CSX's Santa Train on former Clinchfield Railroad tracks in Appalachia will have two posters this year. The Kingsport-Area Chamber of Commerce will be selling versions featuring Clinchfield F3 No. 800 leading the consist as well as recently repainted SD45 No. 3632.

Kingsport-Area Chamber of Commerce gift shop at (423) 392-8800. $20.00 . This is one of them.

 

 

Larry

LCCA 29005 and  TCA 13-69595

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Larry Sr.


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