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The Christmas Train

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3.57  ·  Rating details ·  14,695 Ratings  ·  1,829 Reviews
Tom Langdon, a weary, cash-strapped journalist, must get to Los Angeles to spend Christmas with his girlfriend. Flying is not an option, so he opts for a transcontinental train ride -- thus beginning one of the most hilarious and heartwarming journeys ever. Along the way he encounters mechanical failures, derailments, and the odd eccentric, including Agnes Joe, who rides t ...more
Audio, 0 pages
Published November 4th 2002 by Hachette Audio (first published November 4th 2001)
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Community Reviews

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Matt
Jul 28, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favourites, audiobook
I love this holiday classic, even if it is totally cheesy. I can see my writing style in its content and ideas, and will read it annually to savour the moments.

Please enjoy the review I have posted in past years:

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 fi
...more
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
...more
Linda
Nov 19, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Heather
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.
Pamela

"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
...more
Mackey St
Dec 12, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Melindam
Oct 19, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
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
...more
Myrna
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.
Sandra
Apr 01, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
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
Helen Drake
Apr 12, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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!
Keri
Dec 06, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Pretty good Christmas story. A little unrealistic but Christmas magic explains it, the are even a few surprises which was nice.
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
Arlene
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
Amber
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
Sally
Nov 11, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Lisa
Dec 04, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Ashley
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.
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
Judy
Dec 23, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Quite a departure from Baldacci's usual genre. He shows that he can write and intriguing plot with humor and suspense. I hope he writes more books such as this. Tom, a journalist who has traveled world-wide takes a train ride from the east to the west coast during the Christmas season. There is some history and travelogue mixed in with the plot, which I think lends a nostalgic flare to the book. Tom encounters a number of eccentric characters that spice up the trip. To keep from sharing spoilers ...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
Debra
Nov 14, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
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
Brenda
Jan 27, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Lynda
Oct 20, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
Sara
Dec 16, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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"!!
Antje
Dec 05, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Wenn mich nach 200 Seiten keine der einzelnen Charaktere interessiert und noch weniger ihr weiteres Schicksal, ist es wohl gerechtfertigt, das Buch vor dem Auslesen im Müll zu entsorgen.

Zwar hatte ich von Anfang an mit keiner hochwertigen Literatur gerechnet, sondern einer eher seichten Unterhaltungslektüre. Allerdings versprach ich mir von dem Kammerspiel ein gewisses Maß an Spannung: ein Fernzug, der die Reisenden wenige Tage vor Weihnachten von Washington D.C. nach L.A. transportiert, birgt d
...more
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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; one year later ...more
More about David Baldacci...
“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.” 27 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.” 16 likes
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