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For more than 70 years, the Santa Train has made the holidays brighter for the residents of Appalachia. In a holiday tradition like no other, the Santa Train travels 110 miles from Shelby, Ky., to Kingsport, Tenn., with Santa and his helpers giving out more than 15 tons of clothing, food, toys and gifts at stops along the way.
Every year since 1942, the CSX Corporation has run a special train from Shelby, KY to Kingsport, TN at the beginning of the holiday season. Known as The Santa Train, it makes stops in 14 different communities along the way, distributing gifts to less fortunate families in Kentucky, Tennessee, and Virginia.
In the early days, this train was all that many impoverished Appalachian families had to look forward to for Christmas cheer, and folks still line the route for a chance to visit with Santa at each stop.
CSX also brings along popular figures in the music world to meet the kids, and this year bluegrass/country superstar Ricky Skaggs will be riding the train. He be on board for the full journey on Saturday, November 18, with a performance scheduled for when the Santa Train pulls in to Kingsport that afternoon.
Tori Kaplan, Vice President of Communications and Field Support for CSX, says they are delighted to have the Kentucky native with them this year.