As a Chicagoan, you've likely had the opportunity
to ride the El. But for just a few weeks each year, the Chicago
Transist Authority transforms one regular train into the Holiday
Train-a truly one-of-a-kind holiday opportunity for Chicagoans of
The six-car passenger train features an open rail car
carrying Santa along with his sleigh, reindeer and other festive
decor. The train is wrapped with a winter holiday scene and colored
lights outline the doors and window. Each rail car also features
illuminated signs with holiday messages.
Car interiors are decked out with bows, garland, red and
green lighting. Hand poles are wrapped to look like candy canes.
CTA employees pass out candy canes while holiday tunes blare in the
Customers look forward to this time of year, and thousands
have made it a part of their annual holiday traditions to take a
ride on the festive train, says CTA spokeswoman Catherine
The Holiday Train tradition began in 1992 when a Season's
Greetings sign was placed on the front of an out-of-service O'Hare
train that was used to deliver food to charities. A flatcar with
Santa and his reindeer was added in 1995.
As the Holiday Train grew in popularity, the schedule was
expanded to have the train run more frequently during December on
all eight lines.
The CTA offers the following tips to families taking part in the
Holiday Train tradition for the first time:
for the full Holiday Train Schedule. Normal CTA fares apply.
Caitlin Murray Giles is a full-time mother of three and part-time freelance writer living in Wicker Park.
See more of Caitlin's stories here.
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