Market Overview

Santa Train Celebrates 70 Years of Tradition This Weekend


The Santa Train, sponsored by CSX, the Kingsport Chamber of Commerce, Food City and Dignity U Wear, will make its 70th annual run on Saturday, Nov. 17, with Santa Claus in his usual anchor position and Thompson Square, recently named the CMA Vocal Duo of the Year, returning for their second year as celebrity guests.

Over its 70-year history, the Santa Train has become an Appalachian tradition, delivering presents to children and families along a 110-mile route with stops in Kentucky, Virginia and Tennessee. Thompson Square, Santa Claus and dozens of volunteers will distribute gifts to families from the surrounding areas at each of the train's 14 stops.

In addition to participating in the Santa Train's mission, and distributing gifts to families along its route, the award-winning husband-and-wife duo Thompson Square will perform several songs for everyone gathered at the train's final stop in Kingsport, Tenn.

“Seeing the generations of families along the Santa Train's route last year was an experience Keifer and I will never forget,” said Shawna Thompson of Thompson Square. “The Santa Train is a family tradition for generations of people in Appalachia, and we are honored to share the experience again this year.”

Since first riding the Santa Train in 2011, Thompson Square has continued its ascent as one of the most popular new duos in country music. The group won the CMA Award for Vocal Duo of the Year on Nov. 1, joining previous winners such as Brooks & Dunn and Sugarland.

“When Thompson Square rode the Santa Train in 2011, they naturally connected with the families at every stop and had a very moving and much appreciated performance in Kingsport,” said Tori Kaplan, assistant vice president of corporate social responsibility and events at CSX. “We are very happy that they have agreed to be part of this year's train as well.”

The Santa Train will depart Shelby, Ky., at 6:30 a.m., on Nov. 17 and make 12 stops before its scheduled arrival in Kingsport, Tenn., at 3:08 p.m.

Please visit for more information. For updates about the Santa Train, visit, and follow @TheSantaTrain on Twitter and the Santa Train Pinterest board at

Photos of Thompson Square are available now, and photos from aboard this year's Santa Train will be available Monday, Nov. 19. Email Mitchell Despot at if you are interested in using the images.

For CSX:
McNeely Pigott & Fox
Mitchell Despot, 615-878-3227
For Thompson Square:
Dashboard Media
Natalie Kilgore, 615-227-2306

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