2014 Holiday Train

2014 Holiday Train

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About the train

The Chicago Transit Authority is getting into the holiday spirit with our popular Holiday Train! Santa and his elves will ride the train passing out candy canes and season's greetings.

The spectacular train is an amazing sight - during the daytime and at night. The outside of the six-car train is adorned with holiday seasonal images. Thousands of twinkling lights outline the shape of the train and windows, with even more lights running across the tops of the cars.

Interiors of the cars are decked out with thousands of multi-colored lights, red bows, garland, and red and green overhead lighting. The hand poles are wrapped to look like candy canes.

As the train pulls into each station, Santa waves to the boarding passengers from his sleigh on an open-air flatcar carrying his reindeer and decorated holiday trees.

Charity food delivery

The Holiday Train also continues a more-than-20-year agency tradition of supporting Chicago communities. Every year, CTA employees embrace the spirit of the holidays and donate time and money to purchase groceries and assemble food baskets that are distributed to community organizations across the city. CTA will donate approximately 300 food baskets to 22 local community organizations.

Each food basket contains all the ingredients for a complete meal including a canned ham, potatoes, mixed vegetables, muffin mix, macaroni and cheese, fruit cocktail, green beans, corn and dessert. The Holiday Train delivers the food baskets on three separate days over the holiday season.


The Holiday Train will travel all CTA rail lines in November and December as part of regular rail service. Normal CTA fares apply.

The train generally operates from about 1pm to 8pm on weekends and 3pm to 7pm on select weekdays (schedules for each rail line will vary), and will make stops at all stations along the respective routes.

2014 Detailed Holiday Train Schedules
Detailed schedules are posted as they become available.
Green Line 11/28 - Fri
photo dayGreen Line 11/29 - Sat
Green Line 12/2 - Tue
Orange Line & Brown Line 12/3 - Wed
Orange Line & Brown Line 12/4 - Thu
Orange Line & Brown Line 12/5 - Fri
photo dayOrange Line & Brown Line 12/6 - Sat
Pink Line 12/9 - Tue
Pink Line 12/10 - Wed
Blue Line 12/11 - Thu
Blue Line 12/12 - Fri
photo dayBlue Line (+ photo-only stop on Pink Line) 12/13 - Sat
Red Line 12/16 - Tue
Purple Line 12/17 - Wed
Red Line 12/18 - Thu
Purple Line 12/19 - Fri
photo dayRed Line & Purple Line 12/20 - Sat
Red Line 12/22 - Mon
Yellow Line 12/23 - Tues

photo day = Photos with Santa

Travel Tips
To ensure everyone has an opportunity to see and take part in this annual tradition, the CTA has outlined a few suggested tips to make the most of the Holiday Train experience:
  • Travel light: with many families making the Holiday Train a part of their holiday traditions, small collapsible strollers are encouraged so that you and others have an opportunity to board the train.
  • Boarding: the train will become more crowded as it travels down the rail line; therefore, we recommend customers consider the following:
    • Board at a station close to the beginning of the route. Unlike other in-service trains, customers who board the Holiday Train often stay on board until it reaches the terminal and will take it back home if the train is scheduled to make a return trip.
    • Rail cars toward the front or back of the train will be less crowded compared to those immediately adjacent to Santa’s sleigh.
  • Taking photos: if you are planning to ride the Holiday Train and take photos from a station platform, don’t miss your opportunity to board the train! Board the train first and then plan to take photos of Santa or the train when exiting at your destination. The Holiday Train is an in-service train and has to maintain a service schedule; therefore it cannot dwell at stations for long periods of time.


Photos & Video from 2013 Holiday Train


Happy Holidays from the CTA - 2013 Holiday Video


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