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The Christmas Train

3.58  ·  Rating details ·  19,041 ratings  ·  2,366 reviews
Disillusioned journalist Tom Langdon must get from Washington D.C. to L.A in time for Christmas. Forced to travel by train, he begins a journey of rude awakenings, thrilling adventures and holiday magic. He has no idea that the locomotives pulling him across America will actually take him into the rugged terrain of his own heart, as he rediscovers people's essential goodne ...more
Paperback, 260 pages
Published November 1st 2004 by Warner Books (first published November 4th 2001)
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A.J. Sefton People on a train trying to get home for Christmas. It is travelling from east to west America. Mostly a light romance.

Community Reviews

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3.58  · 
Rating details
 ·  19,041 ratings  ·  2,366 reviews

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Jul 28, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: audiobook, favourites
I love this holiday classic, even if it is totally cheesy. It is one of my annual reads at this time of year and I hope it can be added to a holiday TBR list for others as well.

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, sti
Dale Harcombe
Dec 09, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It took me a little while to get into this book, but once I did I enjoyed it. It is a gently humorous story about journalist and ex war correspondent Tom Langdon who finds himself on a train trip from Washington to Los Angeles. The plan is to arrive in time for Christmas and meet yup with his girlfriend. As we all know, things do not always go according to plan in life.
The story is filled with quirky characters and also contains romance, a mystery thief, and more than one person who is not quit
Dec 08, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  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.
Nov 19, 2008 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
I've seen David Baldacci's name everywhere lately so I figure it's time to give in to all the hard work these marketing folks are doing. Having never read a Baldacci novel before, I picked The Christmas Train since I watched the Hallmark move about 10 times last Christmas. It's OK, ten times isn't excessive. It only aired about 200 times. Now that's excessive.

The Christmas Train was an interesting and feel-good story. It has humor, mystery, and a second-chance romance, all set during a snowy
Peter Monn
Dec 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Such a fun and endearing Christmas book. My full review will be on my booktube channel at
Dec 12, 2016 rated it really liked it
In the past I was a huge David Baldacci fan but for some reason stopped reading him somewhere along the time of the Camel Club series. However, in my quest for seasonal books I picked up "The Christmas Train" and I'm very glad that I did. There is a tiny bit of a mystery to the book so it often gets labeled as such. You have to look long and hard for that mystery, though, and I would put this book squarely in seasonal fiction instead. The writing is solid, factual, humorous and flows brilliantly ...more

"It's been my experience that most folks 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 . . . That's why trains are so popular at Christmas. People get on . . . looking for some friendship, a warm body to talk to . . . How do you put a dollar value on that?"

Festive, playful, snarky and insightful . . . nuggets of interesting bits of history and train lore woven in, a bit of mystery and serendipitous romance, makes this
Melissa Rose
Dec 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
I have never read a David Baldacci before, so I was completely unfamiliar with his usual style before picking up this book. However, I have had this story sitting on my Audible shelf for some time after picking it up on sale last year; as such, I felt that it was about time I gave it a listen and, despite a slow start, I found myself enjoying this novel.

In terms of characters, Baldacci did an excellent job at creating a personable and multifaceted cast; which Tim Matheson did a remarkable job b
Aja: The Narcoleptic Ninja
This particular author was recommended to me by my dad, and usually we love a lot of the same books so I was excited. However, David Baldacci writes a lot of crime drama which isn’t really my genre so I looked through his books and found something more up my alley to give him a fair chance and I found The Christmas Train. This one is more contemporary fiction with romance and warm fuzzy holiday feelings which is TOTALLY my kind of book.

Unfortunately, this just wasn’t my book. I wasn’t expecting
Oct 19, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: christmas
It was OK, but honestly, I expected more from this book.
When I reached the end of the story, it seemed contrived and over-constructed, it lacked the spontaneity, which would have made it a more pleasant read altogether.
Still, christmassy and fluffy enough, if you are in need of some short, festive reading.
Dec 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved it!!!
Electrifying and well written, a genuine page-turner!!!
This is a wonderful novel, with a Christmas flair, and enriched with a heart rending love story and much romance..
This is also my first David Baldacci novel, but after this one, I want to read much more by this author!!!
A great novel for the Christmas season, it did make me laugh aloud and with tears!!!
Also a love story, rendered masterfully with much feelings, that has touched me..
And you have here a thief and a mystery as a bo
Dec 10, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobooks
Good Christmas read that took place on a cross-country train trip from Washington DC to Los Angeles. It had fun settings, train facts and interesting characters. The audio book had some great sound effects which added to the mood. There is something enchanting about a train ride experience. The ending was unexpected but overall a quick and enjoyable read.
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
Dec 16, 2018 rated it did not like it
Holy fucking shite! I made it to chapter two.


In this chap’s bio it states he has been writing since childhood. This must therefore, be that first attempt at literature. It might explain why it is so appallingly bad. Not just bad, utter, utter shite.

Plenty of people seem to like his stuff though, maybe I should try one which he had published after his fifth birthday?

I’ve stated that life is too short to read poor quality literature. Christmas is far shorter. Onward (and hopefully) upward
Apr 01, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, romance
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!
Rebecca McNutt
Jul 08, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: christmas, fiction
This is a book I'd never read more than once, but it's a dazzling, festive and entertaining little Christmas story. And since it's July that I'm posting my review, it's Christmas in July! :P
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
Dec 06, 2008 rated it did not like it
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
Helen Drake
Apr 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
Although I checked this book out in December, I finally got around to reading it, and I'm so glad I did! I love trains although I haven't been on anything other than a short ride for over 50 years. It made me want to take a train ride somewhere! The characters were well developed and there are some very interesting people! The storyline was engaging and I loved the twist at the end!
Tom Langdon is a war correspondent who has decided to take a train cross country from Washington DC to California to spend the Christmas holidays with his girlfriend. During this adventurous excursion, he meets a cast of eclectic characters that make the journey memorable and exciting. Most importantly, Tom runs into someone that left an impression on his life and regret in his heart. When the folks aboard the Amtrak come together to make holiday wishes come true, this might just prove to be a C ...more
Sep 15, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ebooks-library
Tom Langdon is an investigative reporter who is traveling by train for Christmas to write a story about traveling by train during the holidays. He is heading to California to be with his girlfriend Leila to go Skiing. When his ex-girlfriend and love of his life Eleanor ends up on the same train he is on, things get pretty crazy as they used to be a fling. Will seeing her bring back an old romantic flame becoming something more and will he get used to the craziness on the train from all the diffe ...more
Nov 11, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
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
Maureen DeLuca
Dec 02, 2016 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed reading this story. Not your typical David Baldacci book. Tom Langdon sets off on a cross-country train trip at Washington, D.C. and plans to arrive in L.A. for Christmas. Having reached middle age, it is time to do some soul-searching and rethinking of life goals, and what better place than the peaceful journey a train can provide. It had everything, adventure,humor, romance, surprises, and a mystery along the way.

If you never read this book, and want a nice- warm Christmas st
Nov 30, 2017 rated it it was ok
Only realized I had read this way back in the day after watching the cheesy as hell Hallmark movie over Thanksgiving. Figured I should probably add it. David Baldacci not my cup of tea, but I do kind of want to take a cross country train trip.
Dec 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
Pretty good Christmas story. A little unrealistic but Christmas magic explains it, the are even a few surprises which was nice.
Dec 24, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio-books
I listened to the audiobook version of this, which was brilliantly narrated, and had delightful little train and musical interludes between (and occasionally mid) chapters. It's quite light and fluffy, but perfect for over the festive season. My audio version also included a poignant seasonal short story called Waiting for Santa.
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
Dec 04, 2008 rated it liked it
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.
Nov 14, 2013 rated it really liked it
A sweet book to read during the Holiday season. The book contains some Holiday magic of its own. It reads like a great old black and white movie. There is a mystery, intrigue, romance, and of course a train.
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David Baldacci has been writing since childhood, when his mother gave him a lined notebook in which to write down his stories. (Much later, when David thanked her for being the spark that ignited his writing career, she revealed that she’d given him the notebook to keep him quiet, "because every mom needs a break now and then.”) He published his first novel, Absolute Power, in 1996; it was subsequ ...more
“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.” 30 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.” 20 likes
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