All aboard the holiday express!
The CTA’s holiday train and bus are ready to embark on their annual journeys throughout the city — and this year, commuters are welcomed to rejoin in the fun.
The CTA announced Tuesday that passengers will be allowed to ride the festive transports this season after riders were barred from boarding the holiday train and bus in 2020 because of the pandemic.
“After a two-year wait, we know there is a great deal of excitement and anticipation for the return of this Chicago tradition,” CTA President Dorval R. Carter Jr. said in a statement. “We want to remind everyone that all customers should celebrate safely and responsibly, including wearing masks when onboard the Allstate CTA Holiday Train and Bus.”
Mask-wearing is already a requirement to board the CTA’s fleet. The transit authority also asks passengers to be “courteous, respectful and patient” with others and to practice social distancing when possible. It also said strollers will not be allowed on the holiday train or bus so there’s more room for riders, and people will be prohibited from taking photos with Santa Clause and his elves.
The six-car holiday train, lit up like a Christmas tree with thousands of lights and features holiday scenes and a flatbed carrying Santa Claus and his reindeer, is a staple of the season in Chicago. It will travel all eight rail lines, beginning service on the Green Line Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, and will continue through Dec. 22, the CTA said.
The holiday bus, which is decorated as a miniature village with lights and holiday-themed seating, will travel 14 different routes throughout the city. It will take off Nov. 30, starting on the No. 56 Milwaukee route, and end Dec. 23 on the No. J14 Jeffery Jump route.
The CTA also announced a special holiday train featuring Santa and his elves, which will make two runs downtown Dec. 5 and 12.
The CTA holiday fleet schedule can be found at transit.chicago.com/holiday. Riders can also track the train and bus in real time by going to transitchicago.com/traintracker and transitchicago.com/holidaybustracker.