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CSX Clinchfield Santa Train


Illustration by Otto M. Vondrak. Not all routes shown. Not an official map. ©2011 Carstens Publications, Inc.


Marrowbone 23 Tom’s Bottom Haysi


Clinchco 83


83 80 Fremont 63 58 St. Paul Dungannon 65


Ft. Blackmore 65


23 Kermit Waycross 33 11w


26 23


Kingsport 81


421


VIRGINIA TENNESSEE


58 Dante 460 Elkhorn City 80 83


runs through more pastoral scenery, generally for the remainder of the run to Kingsport. Ahead are the gift stops at Dungannon and Fort Blackmore; just north of Dungannon is the famous Log Cabin Curve, also known as Os- borne’s Curve, a popular spot for rail- fan photographers. At Fort Blackmore, the Veterans Memorial Bridge on Vir- ginia Route 72 affords the photograph- er a great angle of the train and the gaggle of people at the gift stop. If the weather is overcast, a nice going away shot can be had from this bridge as the train rolls south and starts around the broad, sweeping Monkey Curve. Of course, no railfan photography of


the Santa Train would be complete without a photo of the train crossing the legendary Copper Creek Viaduct, near Speers Ferry, Va. While not the tallest or longest bridge on the former Clinchfield, the span is certainly one of the most spectacular. Along US High- way 23, the relatively new Clinchfield Heritage Wayside, built and main- tained by the Virginia Department of Transportation, provides an excellent spot to park and set up for photos. A short distance south of Copper


Creek, the tracks punch through Clinch Mountain Tunnel, second longest bore on the Clinchfield, and in- to the tiny hamlet of Kermit, Va. There’s a gift stop at Kermit, followed by another at Waycross, Tenn. Chasing the train to Kermit can be done, but on-


ly at the expense of a photo at Copper Creek; the train chaser is required to drive all the way from Copper Creek to Gate City and then more or less back- track — on the other side of Clinch Mountain — the entire distance back to Kermit. The industrial city of Kingsport,


Tenn., is far and away the largest burg on the Santa Train’s route, so it only follows that here you’ll find the largest crowd. The streets of Kingsport will seemingly be bursting at the seams with hoards of jubilant spectators, waiting not only for Santa’s arrival, but the city’s annual Christmas pa- rade as well. Just minutes after 3:00 p.m., after


an all-day trek through three states, the Santa Train arrives in Kingsport. Santa detrains near the stately brick Clinchfield depot and boards a Kingsport City fire ladder truck to bring up the rear of the Christmas pa- rade. The Santa Claus Special is an opera-


tion steeped in tradition and holiday cheer, for children, adults, and railfans of all ages. For more information about the CSX Clinchfield Santa Train, you can visit the Kingsport Chamber of Commerce web site at www.kingsport chamber.org. You can also find the Santa Train on Facebook.


Special thanks to Mike Tisdale for his help with the preparation of this article.


KENTUCKY VIRGINIA


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