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The Holiday Train Is Coming This Year — But You Can’t Ride It

The beloved holiday train and bus will still be decorated, but people won't be able to board. Instead, Santa will wave at children and their families.

CTA Holiday Train
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CHICAGO — The CTA’s holiday train and bus will return for 2020 — but you can’t ride them.

The holiday train and bus are beloved traditions in Chicago, bringing holiday cheer to travelers around the city. The train will return Nov. 27, complete with decorations and Santa. But there will be a big change due to the coronavirus pandemic: People won’t be able to get on board.

Instead, the heavily decorated bus and train will roll by, with Santa waving to children and families as they watch.

“Because our No. 1 priority is the health and safety of our customers and employees, we wanted to find a way to spread holiday cheer across the city, but do so responsibly,” CTA President Dorval Carter Jr. said in a news release. “Though customers won’t be able to get on board, we know that seeing the CTA Holiday Train and Bus in neighborhoods throughout the city will bring much-needed smiles, joy and hope for everyone.”

The train will feature six cars festooned with thousands of lights, signs and other decorations. Santa and his reindeer will ride on the outside, as usual.

The holiday bus will return Dec. 1. It will be decorated with hundreds of lights, and “Ralphie the Reindeer” — who has a bright green nose — will be on the outside, according to the CTA. Santa will come up through the bus’s roof to wave to families.

The holiday train will go on every line and the bus will go on routes throughout the city.

The holiday train and bus schedule is available online.

Block Club Chicago’s coronavirus coverage is free for all readers. Block Club is an independent, 501(c)(3), journalist-run newsroom.

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