The 76th running of the CRR/CSX Santa Train was back to normal after last year’s 75th Anniversary event using the vintage locomotives. The main draw this year was the use of three F40PH-2s instead of one plus a 6-axle road switcher. I don’t know if Food City was a sponsor this year, because the train’s schedule wasn’t available on the check-out counters. I don’t know who the guest was this year. The schedule was the same was recent years...departing Shelby at the ungodly hour of 6:00 AM. Nevertheless there seemed to be large crowds at Marrowbone (Regina) and Elkhorn City. Daybreak comes at Elkhorn City. I thought of trying a shot off the overlook at Breaks Park, but the road was closed past the lodge because of tree cutting and pruning. The gorge was likely shrouded in fog anyway.
1. On Friday morning Nov. 16th I was surprised to find the Santa Train already spotted on the main line at Shelby. Mechanical people were going over the consist, but the “Santa Train” banner had not been affixed to the West Virginia yet. CSX bus car 994310 West Virginia. Shelby KY.
2. CSX bus car 994310 West Virginia. View 2. Shelby KY.
3. CSX bus car 994350 Illinois. Shelby KY.
4. CSX bus car 994010 New York. A new business fleet car – the Pennsylvania – was in the train, but I forgot to photograph it. Shelby KY.
5. RPCX (Railroad Passenger Car Numbering Bureau Inc.) 800655 is owned by the Collis P. Huntington Chapter, NRHS. It was built by Budd for the NYC in 1947 as a tavern-lounge. It survived down through the years under the ownership of Penn Central and Amtrak. This was the only non-CSX car on the train. Shelby KY.
6. Grain train G691-14 behind CSX 106-5105-483 came up the switching lead and was routed through yard track #2. Shelby KY.
7. G691-14 pulls to a stop for a crew change. The outbound crew had just arrived by taxi from Kingsport. CSX 106-5105-483. View 2. Shelby KY.
8. CSX 9992-9999-9993 lead P935-17’s 12 cars across Hill’s Mill trestle near Haysi VA, on a foggy Saturday morning. It has just departed the stop at Tom’s Bottom (Splash Dam). Hills Mill VA.
9. Arriving Fremont VA, at 9:08 a.m. CSX 9992-9999-9993.
10. CSX people had the crowd’s safety in mind. CSX 9992. View 2. Fremont VA.
11. Passing a mine ventilator fan at McClure VA. CSX 9992-9999-9993.
12. Clear signal at the south end of Trammel siding. That is Sandy Ridge Tunnel just ahead. CSX signal Trammel VA.
13. Trammel VA. CSX 9992-9999-9993.
14. CSX 9992. View 2. Trammel VA.
15. Ho! Ho! Ho! CSX 9992. View 3. Trammel VA.
16. The scheduled stop at Dante was 10:08. They spent 20 minutes here. CSX 9992-9999-9993. Dante VA.
17. CSX 9992-9999-9993. View 2. Dante VA.
18. F40PH-2 CSX 9992 is ex-Amtrak 390. Dante VA.
19. CSX 9999 is ex-Amtrak 288. F40PH-2.Dante VA.
20. CSX 9993 appears to be a bit longer that the other two. I don’t know the history on it. Dante VA. F40PH-2.
21. Hamlin VA, between Dante and St. Paul. CSX 9992-9999-9993.
22. Arriving St. Paul VA at 10:53 for a 20 minute stop. Years ago when L&N obtained trackage rights to run over the N&W from Norton to St. Paul, that siding was used to park the L&N engines after they deposited their trains at Castle storage track. CSX 9992-9999-9993.
23. The crew gets a breather. CSX 9992-9999-9993. View 2. St Paul VA.
24. CSX 9992. St Paul VA. F40PH-2.
25. CSX 9992-9999-9993. View 3. St Paul VA.
26. On the left is the connection between the NS Clinch Valley District and the CSX Kingsport Subdivision. CSX 9992-9999-9993. View 4. St Paul VA.
27. CSX 9992-9999-9993. View 5. St Paul VA.
28. CSX 9992-9999-9993. View 6. St Paul VA. Leaving St. Paul at 11:13 a.m. Next stop is Dungannon at 12:03 p.m. Arrival in Kingsport is 2:58 p.m. Sue and I headed home.