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Christmas Train

Discussion in 'Railroads and Steam Locomotives' started by Southern Unionist, Dec 10, 2017.

  1. Southern Unionist

    Southern Unionist Sergeant

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    On-North-Carolina-Excursion1-500x337.jpg

    [pic: AppalachianHistory.net]

    Many Christmas trains have run over the years in various places, but any way you measure it, the Clinchfield Santa Train has to be the all-time champ.

    For decades, the train was led by Clinchfield engine #1, a 4-6-0 built in 1882, long before the Civil War generation died out. Initially, it was a rather informal thing. with donated Christmas gifts for poor children being dropped off by the regularly scheduled daily passenger train in a number of impoverished coal camps of east Tennessee and western Virginia. Then the event grew, and became a dedicated special train that lasted long after the end of regular passenger service in the area. Santa rode on the train's rear platform, and was greeted in most towns by the mayor and large crowds, along a route that stretched more than a hundred miles. It eventually received national press coverage.

    Eventually, Clinchfield #1 grew too old to pull the train anymore, but a clever trick preserved the train's tradition of steam. Old #1 could still safely make enough steam to blow a whistle and make some smoke, but could barely pull a single car uphill, so she received a modern control stand just to the left of the original engineer's controls, and electrical cables were run to an F-7B directly behind it, a cabless diesel that somewhat resembled a baggage car. It was the F-7B that was doing all the real work of pulling the train. (For longer summer and fall passenger excursions, a second F-7B could be added.) This is the version of the train shown in the picture above.

    The #1's boiler deteriorated to the point where it was condemned by safety inspectors, and it now sleeps in the B&O Railroad Museum in Baltimore.

    Several diesels have pulled the train since then, and the most notable one was restored this year to pull the 75th annual Clinchfield Santa Train, continuing on into the future as the longest and most famous Christmas train in America.

    https://www.csx.com/index.cfm/about-us/legacy-locomotives/clinchfield-800-legacy-locomotive/

    http://trn.trains.com/news/news-wire/2017/11/06-clinchfield-f
     
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2017

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  3. nitrofd

    nitrofd Colonel

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    Nice bit of history there.
     
  4. donna

    donna Brev. Brig. Gen'l Forum Host

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    This is a wonderful gift to the children of the Appalachian regions. This year was the 75th year. Santa brings gifts and usually a famous entertainer comes along. This year Ricky Skaggs was to go with Santa.
     
  5. JOHN42768

    JOHN42768 Captain Trivia Game Winner

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    Nice story
     
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  6. captaindrew

    captaindrew 2nd Lieutenant Trivia Game Winner

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    Last night in Essex Ct. The North Pole Express 20171213_163612.jpg
     
  7. captaindrew

    captaindrew 2nd Lieutenant Trivia Game Winner

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    They have two trains going, the first train is pulled by locomotive 3025 which believe it or not is fairly new, built in China in 1989 20171213_154302.jpg
     
  8. captaindrew

    captaindrew 2nd Lieutenant Trivia Game Winner

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    The second train is pulled by locomotive 40 built by the American Locomotive Works in 1920. They have a third locomotive currently undergoing an overhaul. They will have three running locomotives in the near future. 20171213_171853.jpg
     
  9. Northern Light

    Northern Light Major

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    Wow, my dad would have loved this! I grew up taking steam excursion with him, and being dragged through railway museums.
     
  10. captaindrew

    captaindrew 2nd Lieutenant Trivia Game Winner

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    A couple looks in the cab of 40. 20171213_155211.jpg 20171213_155355.jpg
     
  11. kevikens

    kevikens 2nd Lieutenant

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    Railroads are another of my interests. I feel sorry for those who have never experienced the wonders of steam railroading, including soot on one's clothing and cinders in one's eyes. I am of an age when I can well remember riding in trains pulled by steam locomotives. My house and elementary school were right next to the Philadelphia and Reading which at that location also hosted the B&O. At night, especially cold winter evenings, I could hear the steam whistle as the train went through Cheltenham Junction and I liked to imagine myself lying on the bunk bed of the red caboose bringing up the rear markers. Many of the Civil War Era locomotives were built at the close by Baldwin works in Philly. Whenever I go to a Civil War site I always look for traces, if not extant lines, of railroads whose cars were pulled by these steam locomotives, often burning wood, not coal, with their bulbous balloon stacks spraying sparks all over the countryside, sometimes burning more wood in the surrounding countryside than in the locomotive fire boxes. What a sight these must have been at night. If members ever get the chance, especially with kids, take a Ride on the Reading (or a reasonable facsimile). Now close your eyes and imagine your locomotive is the Texas and you are in hot pursuit of the General. Your locomotive's whistle is not a tourist railroad train signaling a grade crossing but the shrill warning to every whistle stop passenger to clear the right of way as it barrels through the station at a breathtaking 40mph. Or if you prefer you can be a reporter on the Lincoln train to Gettysburg or, if in a somber mood, the slow moving train wending its way through the still frost bound fields of the Great Lakes with its passenger list headed by our martyred president. For some, magic is found in the bottom of a top hat or the gurgling of a newborn but for some, like me, it's the moaning wail of a steam train on a mission.
     
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2017
  12. LoriAnn

    LoriAnn Major

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    Drew, this is a wonderful image!
     
  13. east tennessee roots

    east tennessee roots Captain

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    Great post, thanks !!!

    http://www.timesnews.net/Community/...ng-gifts-and-cheer-from-Kentucky-to-Kingsport
     
  14. captaindrew

    captaindrew 2nd Lieutenant Trivia Game Winner

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    Thanks @LoriAnn
     
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  15. captaindrew

    captaindrew 2nd Lieutenant Trivia Game Winner

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    Made another steam stop today. While not really a Christmas train it's more of a winter train. It's at Loon Mountain ski resort in NH. They have a short 2 foot gauge railroad that ferries skiers from the bottom of the mountain back to the ski lifts. It's pulled by a wood burning 0-4-0 built by Orenstein & Koppel Berlin Germany in 1934. 20171215_154347.jpg 20171215_154338.jpg
     
  16. Eleanor Rose

    Eleanor Rose 1st Lieutenant

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    Wow!!! I love these pics so much!!
     
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  17. captaindrew

    captaindrew 2nd Lieutenant Trivia Game Winner

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    I stop here every year and have become quite friendly with the guy who runs it. It's usually a one man show so he's allways happy to invite me up in the cab and hang for a while. Supper nice guy and for a jar of O Be Joyful and a hand loading wood he lets me jump right in and take her for a spin. Here's a look in the cab and yours truly getting ready to take her for a ride. 20171215_135525.jpg 20171215_124203_002.jpg
     
  18. 7th Mississippi Infantry

    7th Mississippi Infantry Lt. Colonel Forum Host

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  19. Eleanor Rose

    Eleanor Rose 1st Lieutenant

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    You look right at home!
     
  20. captaindrew

    captaindrew 2nd Lieutenant Trivia Game Winner

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    It's quite a thrill for sure, I've had a chance to run a few of the smaller engines, I'd love a chance to get to run a standard gauge engine one day.
     
  21. LoriAnn

    LoriAnn Major

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    Hang on...you got to...uh...er...drive...that doesn't sound right...conduct...nah, that doesn't sound correct either.

    You got to choo choo that train?! Wow. That is very cool. I don't ski, but I'd ride up and down a few times for the fun of it.
     
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