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Santa Train Car to visit downtown

The Santa Train Car will be parked in Jonesborough for two days with Santa Claus greeting guests on board the car on Saturday, Dec. 6, from 9 to 11 a.m. and Saturday, Dec. 13 from 3 to 5 p.m., prior to the Annual Jonesborough Christmas Parade that begins at 6 p.m.
Santa will greet guests from the Santa Car Platform, providing the perfect photo opportunity, along with a chance for everyone to come aboard the 100-year-old railroad passenger car. Santa will talk with the children and have a tour of this famous car, along with refreshments.
“Many children have never been on a railroad car, and this is the perfect opportunity,” said Mike Tilley of the Watauga Valley Railroad Historical Society and Museum.
Many railroad enthusiasts in the area are likely familiar with the Santa Train Car known as the Clinchfield 100.
The Santa Train Car was used for many years on the Clinchfield Railroad Santa Train where Santa threw candy off the back of the car as the train traveled from Elkhorn City, Ky., to Kingsport.
“Santa wants to see his friends again from this beautiful railroad car,” Tilley said. “The car has not been open to the public in the Jonesborough area for nearly 30 years. Santa will ride the car from the North Pole to Jonesborough to greet everyone, giving his reindeers a vacation.”
In its approximately 100-year history, Car 100’s passengers have included railroad officials, business leaders and even Santa Claus. Car 100 began its run in 1914, when the all-steel coach car was built by the Pullman Co. for the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad. Originally, the car was known as the ACL 985.
Around 20 years after its construction, what would come to be known as Car 100 was rebuilt by the ACL’s main passenger shop in Rocky Mountain, N.C. It was a full-operating dining car by the ACL, which dubbed the car the “Orlando.” Until 1951, the Orlando operated as a full diner car on the ACL’s main line between Washington, D.C., and Miami.
In 1951, Clinchfield 100 was purchased by the Clinchfield Railroad in Erwin. It was rebuilt and became the Clinchfield Official Santa Train Car and the office car for the president of the Clinchfield Railroad. In 2013, the Watauga Valley Railroad Historical Society and Museum purchased the car and restored it for special events.
“This will be a unique opportunity for both young and old to visit Historic Jonesborough, see Santa and step aboard this historic railroad car,” Tilley said. “This will be a memorable event for the whole family for years to come.”
There is no charge for this event which will be held at 210 Spring St. in Jonesborough, and parking is free along Franklin Street.
Visits with Santa and the historic train car are sponsored by the Watauga Valley Railroad Historical Society and Museum. For information, call 753-1010.