The Chicago Transit Authority is getting into the 2016 Christmas spirit with their popular 25th annual Holiday Train that starts up this weekend! Santa and his elves will ride the train passing out candy canes and season’s greetings up until December 23rd. 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. The Holiday Train also continues a 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. This year, the requests increased to nearly triple the number of requests from 2010. CTA will donate approximately 300 food baskets to 30 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 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.
The rides start this weekend on the Red Line this Saturday. Southbound Red Line trains start at the Howard Station at 4:43pm and are scheduled to arrive at 95th Street at 5:56pm, while northbound Red Line trains start at the 95th Street Station at 6:29pm and are scheduled to pull into Howard at 7:42pm.
The rest of the schedule is below; times are not yet available, but mark your calendars.
• Saturday: Red Line
• Nov. 25-26: Green Line
• Nov. 29: Green and Orange lines
• Nov. 30-Dec. 3: Brown and Orange lines
• Dec. 6-7: Pink Line
• Dec. 8-10: Blue Line
• Dec. 13: Red Line
• Dec 14: Purple Line
• Dec 15: Red Line
• Dec 16: Purple Line
• Dec 17: Red and Purple Lines
• Dec 22: Purple Line Express
• Dec 23: Yellow Line