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The Christmas Train

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3.54 of 5 stars 3.54  ·  rating details  ·  9,586 ratings  ·  1,201 reviews
Disillusioned journalist Tom Langdon must get from Washington to L.A. in time for Christmas. Forced to take the train across the country because of a slight "misunderstanding" at airport security, he begins a journey of self-discovery and rude awakenings, mysterious goings-on and thrilling adventures, screwball escapades and holiday magic. He has no idea that the locomotiv ...more
Hardcover
Published November 8th 2002 by Macmillan (first published November 4th 2001)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Linda
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sandra
Author David Baldacci tells this delightful story about a journalist who travels by train across America to reach his destination in time for Christmas. Through the eyes of journalist Tom Langdon, we are introduced to distinct and colourful characters who make his trip an adventure to remember—for better or for worse. An entertaining read for the season!
Kim
Every Christmas for the past six years I have read The Christmas Train by David Baldacci. I love this story, it never disappoints and at 260 pages it is a quick read.

Tom Langdon is a retired, disillusioned war correspondent and is now back in the US writing articles for domestic magazines and covering teen beauty pageants. After a “misunderstanding” at airport security he is forced to travel from Washington DC to Los Angeles by train this Christmas. Unable to escape this situation he decides to
...more
Carol [Goodreads Addict]
 photo Christmastrain_zps12583a27.png

The Christmas Train by David Baldacci is the story of a somewhat lost Tom Langdon. Tom used to be a war correspondent but he had had enough of war. He now was doing fluff pieces but still, going from place to place, never fully content. Tom had been dating a Hollywood voice over actress for about 3 years off and on in a long distance sort of relationship. So, it was almost Christmas and he needed to get from Washington D.C. to Los Angeles to spend the Holiday with his girlfriend. He wasn’t allo
...more
Sally
I really do like this book. It's a very uplifting book especially around Christmas. Tom Langdon is an investigative reporter who decide's to take the train to LA to see his girlfriend for Christmas. However, on this train he runs in to his college sweetheart, Eleanor who is less than surprised to see him. Especially when they left each other on bad terms. Eleanor is a writer for a big movie director, Max Powers who is doing research for a train movie and decide's to pair the two up to make notes ...more
Lisa
This was a fun book and a nice holiday read. It reminded me that the season is about connecting with people, which is done on the train trip described. I did not see the end coming, which was what I would expect from this author. The rest of the book was surprisingly sentimental, which I would not have expected from him. But that was a nice surprise. Overall, an enjoyable book.
Heather
Dec 08, 2012 Heather rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Heather by: book club
Shelves: kindle
The best explanation for this book is that his teenaged niece wrote it and he published it under his own name.
Matt
Baldacci brings his readers a holiday classic sure to stoke the fires of the heart and keep the holiday season on track. Tom Langdon is on a mission, to get from New York to LA in time for Christmas. After a slightly intrusive and highly problematic search by airport security, Langdon finds himself on a red-flag list, still needing to get to the City of Angels. As a seasoned journalist, he tries to make the most of his issue and decides to take to the rails aboard Amtrak's best and brightest, wr ...more
Book Concierge
Book on CD read by Tim Matheson
2.5**

Former war correspondent turned magazine features writer Tom Langdon is taking the train from Washington DC to Los Angeles to spend Christmas with his girlfriend. He’s also researching an article on modern-day train travel. Having in mind the spacious compartments of classic movies, he’s in for a rude awakening, but he certainly finds plenty of interesting characters to profile, including a young couple planning to wed on the train, a big-name movie producer,
...more
Sara
A pleasant, corny read for the season. I'll say the same thing I said about Grisham's "Skipping Christmas" should have been named "Paying for Christmas"!!
Brenda
Ex war correspondent and journalist Tom Langdon decided to travel from Washington DC to Los Angeles by train, to arrive in time for Christmas. It was a long journey, and involved changing trains on one occasion, but he wanted to fulfil his father’s wishes, and do something that, according to legend, Mark Twain had set out to do, but didn’t complete! He wanted to write about the people on the train, the friendships forged, the adventures and magic that was there with the longer form of travel. (H ...more
Adam
Post Listen Review: Ah yes. The Christmas stories we hear all the time. Done to death.

Was there a train? Yes. Was it Christmas? Yes. Did non-committal guy who doesn't realize he is non-committal get on the train find his lost love and reconnect with her, giving him one last chance to find true happiness which is, of course, love? Right-o. Did the mischievious thief on the train grow a conscience after doing something good for the people stuck on a train? Uh-huh. Was there snow? Yep, even two ava
...more
Lori
OK, so I bought this on sale as an audio for some light seasonal reading while I was doing Christmas prep last year. I have never read anything by this author and after this one, I may never again.

After reading the synopsis I was not expecting or requiring great literature, but found this so trite and predictable and the characters, while not unlikeable, just too lightweight to hold my interest.

The premise was nice - a writer taking a train cross country at Christmas and all of the "fascinating
...more
☆ Ruth ☆
When I picked this up I was hoping for something along the lines of 'The Orient Express' perhaps mixed with the charm and Christmas appeal of a story like 'The Polar Express'. What I actually got was very disappointing, so far it's decidedly dull with no festive atmosphere and very little excitement. I keep hoping it will improve (as you do) but as I'm nearly half way through it, it seems unlikely and it's quite possible I won't even finish it.
Having now reached 55% of the book and still nothing
...more
J. Bryce
I'm sure there are worse books out there, by even more famous and better selling authors, but I don't want to read them.
Jennifer
The Christmas Train has just about everything: romance, adventure, mystery and holiday cheer. The intriguing characters and truly shocking revelations make this book a must read. It actually made me yearn to ride a train cross-country. I could not have loved this book more. Absolutely spectacular.
Lisa
A fun, kind of romantic book about a jaded journalist finding himself and his future, all set at Christmas time on a cross country train trip. I liked this author's style of writing, dry humor and easy reading. A light "happy-ending" type read...
Jackie Molloy
Tom Langdon, a disillusioned journalist makes his way from Washington to LA on the train, he’s been banned from flying after a row with Airport security, which reminds me to be on my best behaviour whilst travelling, even though you do get treated like cattle these days by over worked, under paid security personnel who must get absolutely sick of asking passengers if they have any unauthorised items in their baggage. The baggage issue isn’t a problem on the capitol limited from Washington, D.C., ...more
Kellie
The central character of the story is Tom Langdon, an investigative reporter who has relegated himself to writing about furniture following his more adventurous existence with his longtime girl friend, Eleanor, in foreign lands covering wars and such. He decides to take a cross-country train trip partly to fulfill a request from his now deceased father and partly to reflect on his own life and to see a friend on the West Coast. The Capitol is the train to Chicago where he changes to the Southwes ...more
Rivka
Meh. I read this for book club. It's the literary equivalent of a Hallmark Christmas movie. Feel good? I guess. Cheesy? Definitely. Cliché? Painfully so. Not at all my taste in books. Reads like it was written by a slightly more intelligent Nicholas Sparks.
Lynda
I love my local libraries and carry 4 cards, covering the county of Los Angeles. I love the community they afford me. I often ask the librarian for recommendations which is how I read this book.
At one I frequent frequently, there's a host of librarians or possibly several part-timers. A male librarian I met on Friday recommended this book when I told him I like simple but very good writing and was in the mood for fiction. He immediately thought of this book. I like trains and the premise. But w
...more
Roy Higgins
Sorry not impressed. I started reading this book in December because it had Christmas in the title and I thought that it might enhance my pre Christmas mood, but apart from everyone trying to get somewhere for Christmas, Christmas had very little to do with it. I've read David Baldacci before and expected an adventure story but all I really got was a love story. Someone was stealing from the passengers, and it turned out, at the very end, that an investigation had been taking place, by a secret ...more
Betty
Feb 09, 2009 Betty rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: train lovers, everyone
A lighthearted read evoking a simpler time, the story centers around a disillusioned journalist and his chance to complete what his father had never been able to accomplish. Tom Langdon had known for years that there was a familial connection to Samuel Clemens aka Mark Twain but he was not aware that his father had a last wish for Tom to complete a story that Twain had never finished. A story of taking a train across the country at Christmastime. Twain supposedly took many notes on the trip, but ...more
Lori Henrich
Tom is a journalist who has been all over the world covering stories. Because of one particular incident he is not able to fly in the U.S. so he decides to travel from D.C. to L.A. by train. Tom is a shirr-tail relative of Mark Twain, so he decides to try and write a story about his trip. You can make fast friends on a train and the group aboard for the first leg of the journey is an interesting bunch to chose from. One special traveler catches Tom's attention. His former love interest is on boa ...more
Jess
I knew as soon as I started this that it was soon to become one of my favorite Christmas reads. It combines three of my favorite things (trains, Christmas, and cheesy love stories), so how could it get any better? This has been sitting on my shelf for at least two years, and I still can’t figure out why I didn’t read it before.

I’ve read many a cheesy Christmas tale, and I’ve watched many a cheesy Hallmark Christmas movie in my short life, but for those of you who aren’t so much into the cheese,
...more
Peggy
Tom Langdon is riding the rails across America to write a story about the people he meets--partly because he is burned out on war stories and trivial interest stories, and partly because he is banned from airports after an "incident." He plans to meet up with his long-distant girl friend for a skiing vacation over Christmas. However,Eleanor, the true love of his life, whom he hasn't seen for years since they separated under unhappy circumstances is also on the train, along with a host of interes ...more
Monica
This story was easy and harmless. I thought the writing was pretty cheesy and the main character, Tom Langdon was obnoxious. Some may find the plot charming and think of a Hallmark Channel movie. The story follows Tom on a cross-country train from DC to LA via Chicago. Tom’s on the train for four reasons; one, to get to LA to meet up with his “girlfriend,” two, to write about the cross country trip—he is a journalist after all, three, he was not allowed to fly for two years because of an alterca ...more
Shelley aka Gizmo's Reviews
This is a cheeky little story and great for the Christmas season as well.

Synopsis: Tom Langdon's life hasn't been the same since his all-time love, Eleanor Carter, left him years ago while the two were hotshot journalists, and since he's quit serious reporting for writing fluff. Banned from flying for a year because of an air rage incident, he's decided to write about riding the rails over the Christmas holidays, planning to link up with his erstwhile girlfriend, a Hollywood star, in L.A. Aboard
...more
Karschtl
Another book (after Christmas Journey by Anne Perry) that fits the current season. Its central theme is coincidentally also a journey taking place around Christmas, but this one here is taking place today. Although at some points the reader might think it is the 1920s or 1950s, where taking the train was the main method of travelling. The way it is described here it actually sounds like a lot of fun.
Different from my own experience I must say, and I've just recently taken the train from Berlin t
...more
Atishay
This is a very sweet romantic suspenseful story that revolves around a Pulitzer winner, hard-hitting journalist who is banned from flying due to some altercation at the airport and has to take a couple of trains instead - all around the Christmas time to visit his girl. On board, he is faced by a formidable neighbour who will not hesitate to knock him out clean, a girl he had loved, a hotshot movie director who is making a movie on the train and a thief who is stealing things from cabins of pass ...more
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Beverly Library R...: December Staff Pick 1 7 Dec 02, 2014 10:40AM  
The Reading Lamp: December Group Read 16 15 Dec 20, 2011 07:04AM  
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David Baldacci published his first novel, Absolute Power, in 1996. A major motion picture adaptation followed, with Clint Eastwood as its director and star. In total, David has published 28 novels, all of which have been national and international bestsellers; several have been adapted for film and television. His novels have been translated into more than 45 languages and sold in more than 80 cou ...more
More about David Baldacci...
Absolute Power The Camel Club (Camel Club, #1) The Innocent (Will Robie,#1) Split Second (Sean King & Michelle Maxwell, #1) Last Man Standing

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“All you have to do [to win a Pulitzer Prize] is spend your life running from one awful place to another, write about every horrible thing you see. The civilized world reads about it, then forgets it, but pats you on the head for doing it and gives you a reward as appreciation for changing nothing.” 18 likes
“It's my experience that most folk who ride trains could care less where they're going. For them it's the journey itself and the people they meet along the way. You see, at every stop this train makes, a little bit of America, a little bit of your country, gets on and says hello.” 13 likes
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