Train to Christmas Town derails in Mississippi with passengers on board

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PANOLA COUNTY, Miss. — A holiday train ride derailed in Mississippi with more than 200 passengers on board, but luckily no injuries were reported.

The Train to Christmas Town derailed in Panola County a few miles south of Batesville, according to Sheriff Dennis Darby. There were 228 passengers on board at the time of derailment.

A state trooper said the derailment happened when the tracks separated. The problem was fixed and the train moved on, but not before the passengers were loaded onto buses and taken back to their cars.

“I just didn’t want us to flip. That’s all I was worried about,” passenger Alexandria Walker said.

“All of a sudden it shook a lot and stopped,” passenger Carolyn Bendall said.

Bendall and her family were seated near the front of the train, and so avoided most of the impact. But the experience was far more jarring for those seated in the back of the train.

“You needed to grab a hold of something, and we did, each other,” passenger Andrea Crum said.

A school bus arrived at the scene to ferry passengers back to their cars parked on the Batesville Town Square.

As they waited for the bus to arrive, passengers said they passed the time by singing Christmas carols.

“Everybody stayed in good spirits. The Christmas spirit was definitely still on the train and we were all laughing and having a good time,” Bendall said.

The train was not moving at a fast speed just south of Batesville when the derailment happened, the Panola County Sheriff’s Office said.

The Train to Christmas Town is a holiday-themed train ride that takes passengers to see Santa Claus at “Christmas Town.”

The train’s operators said Friday that it would continue operating this weekend.

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