It's not exactly the night before Christmas, but the anticipation of Saturday's running of the Santa Train is about the same.
That anticipation will turn to all-out excitement along the route as Santa makes his arrival.
Empty parking lots and wide spots along the route of the 70th anniversary of the Ssanta Train will fill quickly on Saturday awaiting the train's arrival. With so many people especially kids gathering around the train, safety is a major concern.
CSX spokesman Bob Sullivan told us about their precautions. "We're always focused on safety. It's really the single most important thing we think about all the time," he said. "We want people to have a great time, it's the 70th anniversary of the Santa Train."
Volunteers like Ruth Collins at each location have their own concerns to make sure the visit is memorable for everybody. "We will be setting up a big trailer over there to hand out toys and the toys are kind of hard," she explained. "We're going to hand them out, we don't want to throw them because some child could get hurt."
A lot of the locations have volunteers to help with the expected crowds. "We do have people from the town and the church that will be there to help keep the children away from the tracks and cars and stuff coming and going to the railroad tracks," Collins said.
Plenty of railroad works will be at each stop with bright orange vests that will direct you and keep everyone safe.
It's a fun occasion for young and old alike but be reminded that safety is a major factor. "It's a big factor. We don't want children to get hurt," Collins said. "It would be terrible if a child comes to see Santa on the train and get hurt somehow. So we do take extra precautions to keep children safe while they're at the track."
A region-wide holiday tradition needs to be fun and exciting while being safe at the same time.
Here are the stops the Santa Train will be making:
• Shelby: 6:30 a.m. train departure
• Marrowbone: 6:45 a.m. train arrival; 7 a.m. train departure
• Elkhorn City: 7:25 a.m. train arrival; 7:45 a.m. train departure
• Toms Bottom: 8:05 a.m. train arrival; 8:15 a.m. train departure
• Haysi: 8:27 a.m. train arrival; 8:42 a.m. train departure
• Clinchco: 9 a.m. train arrival; 9:15 a.m. train departure
• Fremont: 9:28 a.m. train arrival; 9:53 a.m. train departure
• Dante: 10:28 a.m. train arrival; 10:48 a.m. train departure
• St. Paul: 11:08 a.m. train arrival; 11:28 a.m. train departure
• Dungannon: 12:13 p.m. train arrival; 12:33 p.m. train departure
• Fort Blackmore: 12:53 p.m. train arrival; 1:08 p.m. train departure
• Kermit: 1:48 p.m. train arrival; 2:18 p.m. train departure
• Waycross: 2:30 p.m. train arrival,; 2:45 p.m. train departure
• Kingsport: 3:08 p.m. train arrival
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