The Allstate CTA Holiday Train returns starting Friday, Nov. 23rd – and Austin will be among its first trip.
New this year is a second six-car train, Elves’ Workshop Train, which will follow the Holiday Train on Saturdays, the busiest days, to help ensure everyone has an opportunity to experience this one-of-kind tradition.
As the train pulls into each station, Santa waves to the boarding riders from his sleigh on an open-air flatcar carrying his reindeer and decorated holiday trees. Both trains will be wrapped with holiday and seasonal images. Thousands of twinkling lights outline the shape of the train and windows, with more lights running across the tops of the cars.
The special holiday trains will be running on the Green Line on Nov. 23 (Friday), Nov. 24 (Saturday) and Nov. 27 (Tuesday) and on the Blue Line on Dec. 6 (Thursday), Dec. 7 (Friday) and Dec. 8 (Saturday); they generally operate from 3 to 7 p.m. on weekdays and 1 to 8 p.m. on weekends (though schedules for each rail line may vary).
For more information about the other times the trains will be traveling throughout Chicago, click here.
The Holiday Bus will operate on 13 of CTA’s 129 bus routes. It will feature “Ralphie the Reindeer” — his bright red nose and antlers, too. Strings of lights will outline the bus and its windows, while Ralphie is brought to life with 3-D antlers atop the bus and a ruby light affixed to the front of the bus.
Inside, the bus features multi-colored lights, holiday-themed seating, candy-cane striping and artwork created by students from Charles H. Wacker Elementary. In the very back of the bus will be Santa and his sleigh, where there will be scheduled photo sessions with Santa.
Be on the lookout for the #91 Austin bus on Thursday, Nov. 29; the #66 Chicago bus on Tuesday, Dec. 4; and the #126 Jackson bus on Thursday, Dec. 4. The bus will generally operate from early afternoon through early evening on select (schedules for each route will vary), and will serve all posted stops along the respective routes.
For more information about specific times on each of the bus routes – including photo sessions with Santa – click here.