The Southern Appalachia Railway Museum hosts "The Secret City Scenic Excursion Train." This event is a train ride through an area of Oak Ridge that aided production in the atomic bomb.
For Christmas, the excursion train is transformed into a Santa train. The train, built in 1947, is decorated with Christmas lights. Santa walks around passing out candy to everyone while David McVicker gives information about the historic area.
The 14-mile train ride takes passengers through the K-25 Gaseous Diffusion Plant, which was used during the Cold War to provide material for the first atomic bomb. K-25 is 1.6 million square feet and was surrounded by a city, in that time, named Happy Valley.
McVicker tells the passengers that K-25 was used as one of the sites for the Manhattan Project. The scientists at K-25 worked on separating the unstable uranium-235 to produce the atomic bomb. This uranium was in the first bomb that was dropped on Hiroshima, Japan.
Because they ran out of uranium, McVicker said, the second bomb dropped on Nagasaki was made of plutonium. The inhabitants of Happy Valley did not know what was happening at K-25.
"The majority of people had no idea what they were doing until the war was over," McVicker said.
On the train, McVicker answers questions from the passengers and shows them diagrams comparing the size of K-25 to Neyland Stadium.
Also, the train provides a commissary car, built in 1926, with hot chocolate, snacks and a variety of gifts. The next themed train ride is the Valentine Dinner Train on February 10 and 17. The cost is $15 for adults and groups of up to 10 people can rent the caboose for $100.