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Chicago Holiday Train

Updated on November 16, 2014

Chicago's Holiday Train

Get on the Holiday Train! The Chicago Transit Authority operates Santa's Holiday Train every year, taking tourists and locals alike around the city and spreading a bit of seasonal cheer! If you are a Chicago local or if you're visiting from out of town, the CTA Holiday Train is a great and inexpensive way to see the city!

Santa Claus is coming to town - riding the CTA

Information from The CTA website

The Chicago Transit Authority is getting into the holiday spirit with the 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 that carries his reindeer and decorated holiday trees.

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 1 p.m. to 8 p.m. on weekends and 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. on select weekdays (schedules for each rail line will vary), and will make stops at all stations along the respective routes.

2013 Schedule!

For specific times, check the CTA website where they will be posted as the dates get closer. In the meantime watch the videos and look at the photos below to get your fix of the Santa train!

Green Line 11/29 - Fri

Green Line 11/30 - Sat

Green Line 12/3 - Tue

Orange Line & Brown Line 12/4 - Wed

Orange Line & Brown Line 12/5 - Thu

Orange Line & Brown Line 12/6 - Fri

Orange Line & Brown Line 12/7 - Sat

Pink Line 12/10 - Tue

Pink Line 12/11 - Wed

Blue Line 12/12 - Thu

Blue Line 12/13 - Fri

Blue Line 12/14 - Sat

Red Line 12/17 - Tue

Purple Line 12/18 - Wed

Red Line 12/19 - Thu

Purple Line 12/20 - Fri

Red Line & Purple Line 12/21 - Sat

Yellow Line 12/23 - Mon

Holiday Train Video

Have you seen the Holiday Train? Share your stories!

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    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I would love to see it, how cool is that! :)

    • Ben Reed profile image

      Ben Reed 

      6 years ago from Redcar

      Looks like great fun.

    • Cinnamonbite profile image


      6 years ago

      I had no idea! Unfortunately, I'm visiting Chicago in May next year so I'll totally miss it, but I will be catching a train once I get there to go West.

    • bikerministry profile image


      6 years ago

      Awesome, I love trains. What a great theme idea. Blessings.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Awesome train journey for holidays, Chicago train looks fun to ride.

    • CruiseReady profile image


      6 years ago from East Central Florida

      What a nice way to help people get into the holiday spirit!

    • squidoopets profile image

      Darcie French 

      7 years ago from Abbotsford, BC

      Looks like a lot of fun to ride the holiday train, I remember doing that when i was little :)

    • JenOfChicago LM profile imageAUTHOR

      JenOfChicago LM 

      7 years ago

      @javr: Thanks for the blessing javrsmith!

    • javr profile image


      7 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Planes, trains, automobiles and EL. This lens has been blessed.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      a fun tradition!! Miss it.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      This looks like a lot of fun

    • Senora M profile image

      Senora M 

      7 years ago

      Cool. Wish I lived near Chicago to see this!!

    • justholidays profile image


      8 years ago

      Wow! I dream about a holiday train... So, if I want to see my dream come true, I must go visit Chicago during holiday season... Hm... Food for thoughts ;)

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      I accidentally rode it one year when I didnt have kids and it was actually fun. The kids just had a blast on it.

      Made the train ride a little less boring and now I plan on taking my 2 girls on it this year :)

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      I have not heard of it. I lived there in the 70's. Were they doing it then?

    • lasertek lm profile image

      lasertek lm 

      8 years ago

      I have never really seen the Holiday train but a friend once told me about it. The Holiday train seems interesting and truly kids will enjoy this. Can't wait to bring my kids over. 5*

      Hope you could visit my lenses as well. Thanks

    • Kate Phizackerl1 profile image

      Kate Phizackerl1 

      8 years ago

      Not something I'd heard of

    • TreasuresBrenda profile image

      Treasures By Brenda 

      8 years ago from Canada

      Sounds like fun, I cannot imagine how amazing this must be for little children.


    • Laura Schofield profile image

      Laura Schofield 

      9 years ago from Chicago, IL USA

      We'll have to do this this year. We just took the Metra yesterday to Union Station for the "A Christmas Carol Train Tour" (yes, Christmas in July!) and the little ones loved the metra ride itself the best.

    • michelledurakis profile image


      9 years ago

      Very cool lens. Thanks for joing the christmas spot. I am from chicago myself.


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