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Santa Train rolls through Appalachia, delivers gifts to children

ELKHORN CITY, Ky. (WYMT) - Santa Claus rolled through Pike County on Saturday morning. Santa was on his way to the volunteer state. The annual, Santa Train, operated by CSX is a family tradition for many in our region.

Rolling through the hills of Appalachia for its 71st 110-mile-trip, running from Shelby, Kentucky to Kingsport, Tennessee. The Santa Train makes several stops along its journey like in Elkhorn City where children anxiously wait to catch a glimpse of Mr. Claus.

Carla Groleau with CSX Transportation says, "Santa Train is something we plan for and look forward to all year. It is one of the many ways we give back to the communities in which we operate."

Santa along with many helpers give out toys, candy, and clothing, at each stop. American Idol season 12 runner-up, Kree Harrison, helped pass out gifts as the group delivered more than 15 tons of items to children in Appalachia.

Jessica Reed says, "Some kids, this is all they may get for Christmas. Everyone looks forward to it, just seeing the smiling faces on the kids makes it wonderful."

Those who brave the cold lined up along the train tracks say coming to see The Santa Train is a tradition for many in their community.

Anna Robinson has been coming for many years and now brings her great-grandchildren, "He is seven this is his 5th time here...they are both six this is their 4th time."

"We woke up at like 5:30 this morning. My kids were so excited last night! We drove about an hour and a half to get here but it is a tradition, we do every year," says Reed.

CSX officials say seeing the children's faces light up, makes this event worthwhile. "Those behind me getting the toys and gifts....the smiles on those faces says it all," explains Groleau.

Showing that when Santa comes to town he delivers more than just gifts but the spirit of giving and Christmas joy.

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