Chicago’s Annual Santa-Driven CTA Train Has Taken To The Tracks For Its 30th Year

Elliot McGowan Elliot McGowan

Chicago’s Annual Santa-Driven CTA Train Has Taken To The Tracks For Its 30th Year

Even Santa takes the L!

One of Chicago’s most cherished Christmas events is back and has returned to its original format! Santa’s holiday train trip around Chicago is always one of the most eagerly anticipated activities providing affordable fun for all Chicago families. The Chicago Transit Authority’s train and bus are decorated inside and out with festive decorations and thousands of lights to make them glow as they glide and glimmer around Chicago.

While in years gone by passengers were serenaded by the jolly elves and invited on board, last year the CTA Holiday Train was “out of service” with no passengers able to board in order to keep the event safe and socially distanced. Santa and his elves still showed up all across Chicago with Santa and his reindeer upfront in his open-air sleigh so excited onlookers could safely greet Santa from afar!

After the inevitable changes last year this year the CTA Holiday Train and CTA Holiday Bus have returned to normalcy bringing even more Christmas cheer to Chicago and Santa, accompanied by his new helper Ella the Elf, is now rolling through Chicagoland neighborhoods for the 30th year.

Face masks will be required this year no matter age or vaccination status and in the cent that either the train or bus becomes too crowded, CTA has warned it may not stop to pick up additional riders.

This year two special downtown Chicago runs will take place on Sunday, December 5th and December 12th when it will circle the Loop for several hours giving riders a chance to take plenty of holiday pictures.

The train will also continue its decades-old tradition of donating food baskets to local community organizations as it whizzes around Chicagoland. Families can look out for the holiday train which will travel all 8 lines starting Friday, November 26 through Wednesday, December 22nd.

The CTA Holiday Bus will travel 14 different routes serving all areas of the city from Tuesday, November 30th through Thursday, December 23rd.

Normal CTA fares will apply when riding either the CTA Holiday Train or Holiday Bus.

Below is a breakdown of information taken from the Chicago Transit Authority’s website:

2021 CTA Holiday Train Schedule

  • Green Line: November 26, 27 and 30
  • Brown Line: December 1-4
  • Orange Line: November 26, 28, December 1-4
  • Red Line: December 7, 9 and 11
  • Purple Line: December  8, 10 and 11
  • Pink Line: December 14 and 15
  • Blue Line: December 16-18
  • Yellow Line: December 22

2021 CTA Holiday Bus Schedule

  • November 30, December 1: #56 Milwaukee
  • December 2: #77 Belmont
  • December 3: #22 Clark
  • December 4: #22 Clark/#97 Skokie
  • December 7-8: #66 Chicago
  • December 9 : #126 Jackson
  • December 10-11: #12 Roosevelt
  • December 14-15: #62 Archer
  • December 16: #49 Western/#X49 Western Express
  • December 17: #79 79th
  • December 18: #3 King Drive
  • December 21: #28 Stony Island
  • December 22: #29 State
  • December 23: #J14 Jeffery Jump

See more: A Chicago Winter Bucket List: 10 Essential Winter Experiences In Chicago

Tags: christmas, winter
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