Get us in your inbox


All aboard! The CTA Holiday Train schedule has arrived

Written by
Stephanie Bernstein

Each holiday season brings back annual traditions like seeing The Nutcracker, arguing with your family, going ice skating and riding the CTA Holiday Train.

This year's seasonal El train is decorated with lights, holiday prints and Santa riding atop an open-air flatcar, waving to riders on the platform.

RECOMMENDED: Our complete guide to Christmas in Chicago

The tradition began in 1992, becoming an annual occurrence that brings joy (and jam-packed commutes) to Chicagoan children and adults alike. The Holiday Train also delivers food baskets to charities throughout the city that hold holiday food drives.

Last year, the CTA introduced a second themed set of cars called the Elves' Workshop Train that hits the rails on Saturdays. Just like the Holiday Train, it's covered in garlands, bows and lights, though you'll also find Santa's Elves greet boarding passengers. In true North Pole fashion, the Elves Workshop Trains will follows directly behind Santa, mirroring the Holiday Train's route.

Not near an El station? There's also the Holiday Bus, which runs along several different routes from November 28 to December 23. The exterior print features Ralphie the Reindeer, complete with three-dimensional antlers atop the bus and a bright red light at its front. Inside, commuters can enjoy multi-colored lights, holiday-themed decor and artwork from Skinner West Elementary students. You can even snap a photo with Santa aboard the bus on select dates.

Take a look at the complete CTA Holiday Train Schedule below:

Courtesy Chicago Transit Authority

For more information and complete, visit the CTA Holiday Train and Bus website.

Want more? Sign up here to stay in the know.

Latest news


    The best things in life are free.

    Get our free newsletter – it’s great.

    Loading animation
    Déjà vu! We already have this email. Try another?

    🙌 Awesome, you're subscribed!

    Thanks for subscribing! Look out for your first newsletter in your inbox soon!