CSX’s Santa Train completes its 73rd run

Written by Carolina Worrell
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CSX’s Santa Train completed its 73rd run on Nov. 21, 2015 in Kingsport, Tenn., after having made its inaugural run in 1943 as a good will gesture to residents of rural Eastern Kentucky and Southwest Virginia.

The Santa Train was started by the Merchants Bureau of Kingsport (which later became the Kingsport Chamber of Commerce) and one of CSX’s predecessor railroads, the Clinchfield Railroad, as a way to thank people who traveled to Kingsport throughout the year to do their shopping. It runs a 110-mile route through Kentucky, Virginia and Tennessee and makes 14 scheduled stops, starting with Shelby County, Ky., and ending with Kingsport, Tenn.

This year, NBC’s “The Voice” Season 8 runner-up and rising pop star Meghan Linsey joined Santa Train volunteers who combed through crowds at each stop with color-coded bags each geared to a child of a certain gender and age group. More than 15 tons of gifts a distributed along the train’s route annually, CSX says. In addition to toys, fresh fruit and winter clothing are also handed out.

“Many Santa Train attendees live, work or go to school near train tracks. In order to spread awareness about train safety, many of the gifts handed out come with tips for being safe around trains all year long,” CSX added.

CSX, along with Food City, the Kingsport Chamber of Commerce and national not-for-profit Dignity U Wear sponsored the event. The Kingsport Chamber of Commerce receives and manages donations of toys from Santa Train fans across the country and helps with local outreach.