Dashing Through the Snow and Over the Rail Lines it Goes, the CTA Holiday Train is Now in Service

November 29, 2013

CTA provides tips on how to make the most of your Holiday Train experience

Santa and his reindeer are making their way throughout Chicago aboard the CTA Holiday Train, which debuted today on the Green Line and will operate across all eight rail lines through late December as part of regular rail service – normal CTA fares apply. Now in its 22nd year, the Holiday Train is a festive and one-of-a-kind tradition that’s unique to Chicago and is a fun way to enjoy the city during the holiday season. 

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.

The Holiday Train’s schedule for each rail line is listed below and is subject to change. Customers can also track the whereabouts of Santa and the Holiday Train by using CTA Train Tracker, which will feature a candy cane next to its estimated arrival time information.

Rail Line


Green Line

November 29-30 & December 3

Orange/Brown Lines

December 4-7

Pink Line

December 10 & 11

Blue Line

December 12-14

Red Line

December 17 & 19

Purple Line Express

December 18 & 20

Red/Purple Lines

December 21

Yellow Line

December 23


Detailed timetables for the Holiday Train are posted on CTA’s website at transitchicago.com/holidaytrain. For information about all other CTA routes and schedules, call 312-836-7000 or visit transitchicago.com.

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