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Lincoln Square, North Center, Irving Park

CTA’s Holiday Train, Bus Rides Begin Tuesday. Here’s How To Snag A Decked-Out Seat

The holiday train will appear on all eight CTA rail lines while a similarly decorated holiday bus will also run on 16 routes throughout the city.

CTA Holiday Train
CTA
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CHICAGO — Santa Claus has come to town and Chicagoans can meet him and his elves by taking a ride on the CTA’s holiday train and bus through December.

Last week the Allstate CTA Holiday Train — a six-car train decorated to include Santa and his reindeer alongside a red interior floor and LED light displays — began riding the city’s rails.

“The Allstate CTA Holiday Train and Bus have become a beloved Chicago tradition that thousands look forward to each winter season,” Dorval R. Carter, Jr. said, CTA’s president, in a release.

The holiday train was first introduced on the Blue Line in 1992 when a “Season’s Greetings from the CTA” sign was placed on the front of an out-of-service train used to deliver food to various charities. Over the years, this holiday tradition has evolved to include more elaborate holiday decorations like an open, flatbed car carrying Santa and his sleigh.

Credit: Courtesy CTA


The holiday train will appear on all eight CTA rail lines while a similarly decorated holiday bus will also run on 16 routes throughout the city.

The holiday train will run through December as part of regular rail service from about 1 p.m. to 8 p.m. on weekends and 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. on select weekdays, making stops at all stations along the respective routes. And every Saturday the holiday train is in service it’ll be followed by the similarly decorated Elves’ Workshop Train.

Credit: Image courtesy CTA

CTA HOLIDAY TRAIN SCHEDULE:

  • The Green & Orange Lines on Nov. 27
  • The Orange & Brown Lines on Nov. 28
  • The Orange & Brown Lines on Nov. 29
  • Orange & Brown Lines on Nov. 30
  • Orange & Brown Lines (Photos with Santa; Elves’ Workshop Train in service and directly following the main holiday train) on Dec. 1
  • Pink Line on Dec. 4
  • Pink Line on Dec. 5
  • Blue Line on Dec. 6
  • Blue Line on Dec. 7
  • Blue & Pink Lines (Photos with Santa; Elves’ Workshop Train in service and directly following the main holiday train only on Pink Line) on Dec. 8
  • Red Line on Dec. 11
  • Purple Line on Dec. 12
  • Red Line on Dec. 13
  • Purple Line on Dec. 14
  • Red & Purple Lines (Photos with Santa; Elves’ Workshop Train in service and directly following the main holiday train) on Dec. 15
  • Purple Line on Dec. 20
  • Yellow Line on Dec. 21
Credit: Image courtesy CTA

The holiday bus, nicknamed “Ralphie the Reindeer,” will operate through Dec. 23 from early afternoon through early evening on select weekdays and weekends (schedules for each route will vary), and will serve all posted stops along the respective routes.

CTA HOLIDAY BUS SCHEDULE:

  • #56 Milwaukee on Nov. 27 & Nov. 28 (Photo session with Santa at Jefferson Park Blue Line between 3:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m.)
  • #92 Foster on Nov. 29
  • #91 Austin on Nov. 29
  • #22 Clark on Nov. 30 (Photo session with Santa at Howard Terminal between 4 p.m. and 5 p.m.)
  • #22 Clark/#97 Skokie on Dec. 1 (Photo session with Santa at Old Orchard between 1:35 p.m. and 2:30 p.m.)
  • #66 Chicago on Dec. 4 (Photo session with Santa at Navy Pier between 4:15 p.m. and 5:15 p.m.) & Dec. 5
  • #126 Jackson on Dec. 6 (Photo session with Santa at Jackson and Austin between 4:20 p.m. and 5:20 p.m.)
  • #12 Roosevelt on Dec. 7 (Photo session with Santa at Harrison and Central between 3:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m.) & Dec. 8
  • #31 31st on Dec. 11
  • #29 State on Dec. 12 (Photo session with Santa at Navy Pier between 5:25 p.m. and 6:25 p.m.) & Dec. 13
  • #28 Stony Island on Dec. 14 (Photo session with Santa at Union Station between 4:45 p.m. and 5:45 p.m.)
  • #62 Archer on Dec. 15 (Photo session with Santa at Midway Orange Line between 3:05 p.m. and 4:05 p.m.) & Dec. 16
  • #49 Western/#X49 Western Exp. on Dec. 19 (Photo session with Santa at 79th and Western between 4:25 p.m. and 5:25 p.m.)
  • #79 79th on Dec. 20 (Photo session with Santa at Ford City Mall between 3:25 p.m. and 4:24 p.m.)
  • #3 King Drive on Dec. 21 & Dec. 22 (Photo session with Santa at 95th and Chicago State U between 3:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m.)
  • #87 87th on Dec. 23

Riders can find the holiday train using CTA Train Tracker and the holiday bus using the Holiday Bus Tracker.

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