Even Santa is following COVID rules on the CTA's Holiday Train and Bus


At the Damen Blue Line station last year, Santa was talking with his fans

Santa will be on the Blue Line 17-19!

Unlike the Chicago Transit Authority's (CTA) Holiday Train and Bus of the past, this year, because of COVID-19, both the bus and train will be “out of service" as they go around the city. But the delight and smiles seeing the special train and bus are reported to be the same as previous years. 

Unfortunately, photo sessions with Santa are temporarily suspended this year. 


This is the 2020 Santa Train*

“Each year, customers of all ages look forward to the arrival of the CTA Holiday Train and Bus,” said CTA President Dorval R. Carter, Jr. “Because our No. 1 priority is the health and safety of our customers and employees, we wanted to find a way to spread holiday cheer across the city, but do so responsibly. Though customers won’t be able to get on board, we know that seeing the CTA Holiday Train and Bus in neighborhoods throughout the city will bring much-needed smiles, joy and hope for everyone.” 

Santa's travels will have him going through all the neighborhoods on the various lines however it will not have the accompanying elf train. On the open-air flatcar, Santa will be in his sleigh waving to all along the way giving a hearty "oh ho ho," with his reindeers in the lead and accompanied by decorated holiday trees. 

While the cars will be empty, each is wrapped with holiday and seasonal images. Thousands of twinkling lights outline the shape of the train and windows, with more lights running across the car tops. 

This is the train schedule:

  • Red Line: December 8, 10 and 12
  • Purple Line: December 9, 11 and 12
  • Pink Line: December 15, 16 and 19
  • Blue Line: December 17-19
  • Yellow Line: December 21 

In addition to good cheer, the holiday continues a tradition begun in 1992 when a sign, “Season’s Greetings from the CTA,” was placed on the front of an out-of-service train. That train delivered food to various charities. 


This is the 2020 Rudolph Holiday Bus*

The CTA Holiday Bus since 2014
You’ll know this bus is near when you hear the sound of holiday music playing and a jolly “Ho-ho-ho!” from down the street. Look up and you’ll see Santa waving and greeting all the good boys and girls of Chicago from the roof-hatch of the bus.

CTA employees have transformed this 60-foot bus into a winter wonderland as a way to say “thank you” to customers and bring added cheer during the holiday season.

Look (or listen) for the CTA Holiday Bus during afternoons on the dates and bus routes listed below:

  • December 8-9: #66 Chicago
  • December 10: #126 Jackson
  • December 11-12: #12 Roosevelt
  • December 15-16: #62 Archer
  • December 17: #49 Western/#X49 Western Express
  • December 18: #79 79th
  • December 19: #3 King Drive
  • December 22: #28 Stony Island
  • December 23: #29 State
  • December 24: #J14 Jeffery Jump
Send us your photos if you have a chance to get any of this holiday traditions.
*Photo source: CTA


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