Trains' 'cheat sheet' for CSX's Santa Train

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Santa Claus on the observation car platform on CSX Transportation's Santa Train from 2013.
Kevin Gilliam
Map of the Clinchfield from the Jan. 2016 issue of Trains.
Kevin Gilliam
KINGSPORT, Tenn. — Fans and photographers are gearing up for the 73rd annual CSX Transportation Santa Train this Saturday Nov. 21. Decisions by CSX earlier this year have significantly reduced train volume on the former 275-mile Clinchfield mainline, generating more interest in the Santa Train than ever before.

The 2015 Santa Train will operate its full route from Shelby Yard in Pikeville, Ky., to Kingsport, Tenn., before deadheading south across the Blue Ridge Mountains to South Carolina. The train will be one of the first trains to operate on the Kingsport Subdivision mainline between McClure, Va., and St. Paul, Va., a section that was mothballed following the closing of the Erwin terminal in October.

While the railroad says it has no plans to discontinue its annual Santa Train, it is likely the last train to run on the entire Clinchfield. That said, photographers are taking no chances and will be out in full force this weekend. Here’s what you need to know:

2015 CSX Santa Train Schedule:
Departs Shelby Yard in Pikeville, Ky. at 6:30 AM
Marrowbone, Ky. at 6:45 AM
Elkhorn City, Ky. at 7:25 AM
Toms Bottom, Va. at 8:05 AM
Haysi, Va. at 8:27 AM
Clincho, Va. at 9:00 AM
Fremont, Va. at 9:28 AM
Dante, Va. at 10:28 AM
St. Paul, Va. at 11:08 AM
Dungannon, Va. at 12:13 PM
Fort Blackmore, Va. at 12:53 PM
Kermit, Va. at 1:48 PM
Arrives at Kingsport, Tenn. at 3:08 PM

Some of the must-do locations on the route will include the Union Baptist Church in Dante, Va., during the 10:28 AM station stop, as well as the mainline south of Dante to St. Paul on the otherwise mothballed section. From there, locations such as St. Paul and Fort Blackmore afford great crowd photos and the Copper Creek Viaduct south from there is a must-do location, as well.
Fort Blackmore, Va.
Google Maps
Copper Creek Viaduct, south of Clinchport, Va.
Google Maps
Union Baptist Church, Dante, Va.
Google Maps
St. Paul, Va.
Google Maps
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