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CTA Holiday Train

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With it's debut for 2010 just 9 days away, has anyone seen a switch of train cars for the Yellow Line recently? chicago-l.org's roster was last updated on April 4, 2010, and shows 2893-2898 assigned there. But since 2891-2898 make up the CTA Holiday Train annually(most likely because they are specially outfitted for all the lights and other decorations for the Holiday Train), they should be at the maintainance yard now getting "dressed up".

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With it's debut for 2010 just 9 days away, has anyone seen a switch of train cars for the Yellow Line recently? chicago-l.org's roster was last updated on April 4, 2010, and shows 2893-2898 assigned there. But since 2891-2898 make up the CTA Holiday Train annually(most likely because they are specially outfitted for all the lights and other decorations for the Holiday Train), they should be at the maintainance yard now getting "dressed up".

Cars 2893-2898, the 6 cars used for the Holiday Train each year, were sent in September and October from the Yellow Line to Skokie Shops for preparation of the Holiday Train. As a result, 2889-2892 and 2899-2900 have been reassigned from the Red Line to the Yellow Line. I've seen them in service on the Yellow line for several weeks - one pair as early as mid-September.

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Guest DevalDragon

What does the holiday train do? Does it run around in regular service, or on a special schedule - ?

Forgive me - I'm still new to Chicago...

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What does the holiday train do? Does it run around in regular service, or on a special schedule - ?

Forgive me - I'm still new to Chicago...

As Kevin said, it's just a regular train that runs through each lines on a set schedule of days for each lines. What makes this train unique is the lights and decorations inside and out, the flatcar carrying Santa and his sleigh, and the Christmas Music streaming through the cars. Here is a photo of it from the past...

post-10-12897975374436_thumb.jpg

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With it's debut for 2010 just 9 days away, has anyone seen a switch of train cars for the Yellow Line recently? chicago-l.org's roster was last updated on April 4, 2010, and shows 2893-2898 assigned there. But since 2891-2898 make up the CTA Holiday Train annually(most likely because they are specially outfitted for all the lights and other decorations for the Holiday Train), they should be at the maintainance yard now getting "dressed up".

Last week I believe the yellow was running with 29??. Usually in the rush I see random train numbers that should be being used for Red line service. I have seen all different kinds of numbers in the past #2807 or a #2600 for example. It is totally random. You may even get a chance to ride a #2400 on the yellow if your lucky and that would be most likely used for purple line service. But as far as the holiday cars themselves, I'm told they get pulled late summer/early fall and get decorated. Then they return to service a few months into the new year.

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What does the holiday train do? Does it run around in regular service, or on a special schedule - ?

Forgive me - I'm still new to Chicago...

Here are two of the many videos about the Holiday Train. One tells you a little about the Holiday Train - its history and functions, and shows the train being put together. The other one has some nice nighttime shots of the train in service and waiting at the end of the line between trips.

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The CTA has announced the 2011 Holiday Train schedule http://www.transitchicago.com/holidaytrain/

It starts November 25, the day after Thanksgiving, just in time for holiday shopping.



  • Green Line - November 25, 26 & 30
  • Orange & Brown Lines - December 1, 2 & 3
  • Pink Line - December 7
  • Blue Line - December 8, 9 & 10
  • Red Line- December 14, 16, 17 & 20
  • Purple Line - December 15, 17 & 21
  • Yellow Line - December 22

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The CTA has announced the 2011 Holiday Train schedule http://www.transitch...m/holidaytrain/

It starts November 25, the day after Thanksgiving, just in time for holiday shopping.

Saw the train on Saturday on the Green Line. Despite the rain, Santa was outside in his sleigh, waving to passengers and people on the ground.

Even during the daytime when the lights aren't all that vibrant that train is really spectacular.

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Saw the train on Saturday on the Green Line. Despite the rain, Santa was outside in his sleigh, waving to passengers and people on the ground.

Even during the daytime when the lights aren't all that vibrant that train is really spectacular.

Thank you for that video of the holiday train (with JEANNE SPARROW NO LESS THANXZ that is a COLLECTORS DREAM). CTA does publish timetables for every line, all you have to do is ask the customer assistant polictly now and your request will be fulfilled. the CTA doesnt official tell you that, but if you get them, they will truly become future collectors items. Also go to youtube.com/ctaconnections and type in Holiday train in the search box for past trains and please watch the Decemeber edition of connections on youtube for details of the 2011 holiday train

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2012 Schedule for the CTA Holiday Train is posted, if you're looking to get a look at or take a ride on it this year(Units #2891-2898)

11/23/12: Green & Orange Lines(Schedule)

11/24/12: Green Line(Photos w/Santa)(Schedule)

11/28/12: Green & Orange Lines(Schedule)

11/29/12: Orange & Brown Lines(Schedule)

11/30/12: Orange & Brown Lines(Schedule)

12/1/12: Orange & Brown Lines(Photos w/Santa)(Schedule)

12/5/12: Pink Line(Schedule)

12/6/12: Blue Line(Schedule)

12/7/12: Blue Line(Schedule)

12/8/12: Blue Line (Photo Only stop on Pink Line)(Photos w/Santa)(Schedule)

12/12/12: Red Line(Schedule)

12/13/12: Purple Line(Schedule)

12/14/12: Red Line(Schedule)

12/15/12: Red & Purple Lines(Photos w/Santa)(Schedule)

12/18/12: Red Line(Schedule)

12/19/12: Purple Line(Schedule)

12/20/12: Yellow Line(Schedule)

12/22/12: Red & Purple Lines(Schedule)

I will link individual rail line schedules as they are available on this thread...

The CTA Holiday Train has concluded it's run for the 2012 Holiday Season and will return in 2013...

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2012 Schedule for the CTA Holiday Train is posted, if you're looking to get a look at or take a ride on it this year(Units #2891-2898)

11/23/12: Green Line(Schedule)

11/24/12: Green Line(Photos w/Santa)(Schedule)

11/28/12: Green Line(Schedule)

I will link individual rail line schedules as they are available on this thread...

The Friday 11/23/12 and the Wednesday 11/28/12 Holiday Trains are actually Orange/Green trains originating at Midway and changing to Green downtown, making a round trip on the Green and then changing back to Orange for the trip back to Midway at day's end.

The Saturday 11/24/12 Holiday Train operates entirely on the Green line with photos with Santa.

DH

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The Friday 11/23/12 and the Wednesday 11/28/12 Holiday Trains are actually Orange/Green trains originating at Midway and changing to Green downtown, making a round trip on the Green and then changing back to Orange for the trip back to Midway at day's end.

The Saturday 11/24/12 Holiday Train operates entirely on the Green line with photos with Santa.

DH

Well with the additional Orange Line Holiday Train service, I wonder if the Brown Line will get one exclusive day of it's own, because now the Orange Line gets the Holiday train five days this year. The Red Line has it for five days this year, which is the most I've seen it assigned to one line.

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Well with the additional Orange Line Holiday Train service, I wonder if the Brown Line will get one exclusive day of it's own, because now the Orange Line gets the Holiday train five days this year. The Red Line has it for five days this year, which is the most I've seen it assigned to one line.

The scheduling is probably affected in part mostly to arranging inside storage for the train during its off-hours.

The Red line should get the most dates as the line is the busiest, don't you think? The Red/Purple combo is real popular and really loads up going north into Evanston. The southbound trip is really work, over forty station stops from Linden (Santa's favorite 'L' station) to 95th/Dan Ryan. New York operators call their "D" train ....the Dog for the same reason I've been told.

Hey if you ride, come up front and introduce yourself from the "Bus Forum, rail."

DH

Hey, I just saw your revision for Friday and Wednesday, LOL!

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The first two days, last Friday on the Orange and Green lines and last Saturday on the Green line with three photo stops, went well for the 21st annual edition of the CTA Holiday Train. Operation of a train on two lines is "old hat" now to regular riders on the Orange line and I didn't hear of any riders getting lost when the train "magically" changes from Orange to Green. Of course if anyone missed the announcements, an easy transfer to a Pink line train put things back in place for them. On Saturday, the day started with photos with Santa at Harlem/Lake and the train left with a full load. The second photo session took place at Ashland/63. The Holiday Train then moved out of service, without passengers to the third photo session at Cottage Grove, East 63rd. Parked on the south track, the seven-car consist showed that with some adjustments, an eight-car train could be berthed there. Now moving in darkness, the northbound return trip picked up a number of devotees, especially on the final few stops moving west through Oak Park.

On Wednesday, this week the Holiday Train makes its final Orange-Green line run for the season. Orange-Brown line runs are scheduled for Thursday through Saturday this week with the photo sessions at Midway and at Kimball on Saturday.

PHOTO: The Holiday Train sits bathed in sodium vapor light, at Cottage Grove/East 63rd, awaiting its departure.

David Harrison

post-1303-13539767561214_thumb.jpg

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The first two days, last Friday on the Orange and Green lines and last Saturday on the Green line with three photo stops, went well for the 21st annual edition of the CTA Holiday Train. Operation of a train on two lines is "old hat" now to regular riders on the Orange line and I didn't hear of any riders getting lost when the train "magically" changes from Orange to Green. Of course if anyone missed the announcements, an easy transfer to a Pink line train put things back in place for them. On Saturday, the day started with photos with Santa at Harlem/Lake and the train left with a full load. The second photo session took place at Ashland/63. The Holiday Train then moved out of service, without passengers to the third photo session at Cottage Grove, East 63rd. Parked on the south track, the seven-car consist showed that with some adjustments, an eight-car train could be berthed there. Now moving in darkness, the northbound return trip picked up a number of devotees, especially on the final few stops moving west through Oak Park.

On Wednesday, this week the Holiday Train makes its final Orange-Green line run for the season. Orange-Brown line runs are scheduled for Thursday through Saturday this week with the photo sessions at Midway and at Kimball on Saturday.

PHOTO: The Holiday Train sits bathed in sodium vapor light, at Cottage Grove/East 63rd, awaiting its departure.

David Harrison

Great photo David. And nice to hear no one got tripped up with the change of the train from Orange to Green during the Orange-Green run. I never really had an opportunity to ride the Holiday Train personally because of work scheduling but always managed to get glimpses of it. Maybe this year I can maneuver my free time to make an attempt when it's on its Red-Purple runs. Here's hoping.

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Great photo David. And nice to hear no one got tripped up with the change of the train from Orange to Green during the Orange-Green run. I never really had an opportunity to ride the Holiday Train personally because of work scheduling but always managed to get glimpses of it. Maybe this year I can maneuver my free time to make an attempt when it's on its Red-Purple runs. Here's hoping.

Thanks Jajuan. Make sure you get on the head car so we can talk some. The route combination isn't too hard. We make several announcments about the change. But when both sides of the Loop are in operation, only the Van Buren and Well street sides need attention. We have a quick remedy....."Transfer to the following Orange line train for Van Buren and for Wells." Of course on the weekends when they were doing track work, that option wasn't available. Lastly, we've had the Pink line running opposite to us..

That southbound Red/Purple run is the longest possible....41 stations if all the ones on the north side are open. One year I counted them in the station announcements, LOL. The northbound runs will be packed. So packed that no one can get on after Lake in the subway and the Mart on the elevated. If we really get delayed, rail control can send the following trains around us at Fullerton. Something to the effect...."The Red line train on the inside track will leave before the Red line Holiday Train on the outside track." The one's in a real hurry "jump ship" real quick, LOL.

DH

Last years Holiday Train at Linden, Purple line, Santa's favorite 'L' station.

CTAHoliday.jpg

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.......

Last years Holiday Train at Linden, Purple line, Santa's favorite 'L' station.

Nice photo. Not sure what year that shot was taken (2010?), but it wasn't last year (2011). The wrap design is different. As I recall from pictures I've seen and taken, in 2011 the vinyl wrap also extended across the front of the train.

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Nice photo. Not sure what year that shot was taken (2010?), but it wasn't last year (2011). The wrap design is different. As I recall from pictures I've seen and taken, in 2011 the vinyl wrap also extended across the front of the train.

11/20/2010 was the date; 1729 was the time, according to iPhoto. Just shows that some have keener eyes than myself. And I'll readily admit to missing a lot of the little stuff. Thanks for pointing that out. I'm still at the stage of being amazed that the cars aren't coupled numerically.

CTA used to have a noted yardmaster who was keen on arranging all the cars in the Linden yard in chronological order. i heard switchmen used to dred getting that yard assignment. That's a yarn of urban legend status.

DH

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Thanks Jajuan. Make sure you get on the head car so we can talk some. The route combination isn't too hard. We make several announcments about the change. But when both sides of the Loop are in operation, only the Van Buren and Well street sides need attention. We have a quick remedy....."Transfer to the following Orange line train for Van Buren and for Wells." Of course on the weekends when they were doing track work, that option wasn't available. Lastly, we've had the Pink line running opposite to us..

DH

Do you always get to work the Christmas train? Is that part of your job for CTA? That sounds like fun ... and a nice break from the mundane.

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Do you always get to work the Christmas train? Is that part of your job for CTA? That sounds like fun ... and a nice break from the mundane.

Just saw Holiday train leave Austin heading inbound while I was on outbound Green Line. Some guy was on platform taking pics with phone. Or maybe it was Ridgeland. I actually.got on the Holiday Train Saturday to.take a peek.

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Do you always get to work the Christmas train? Is that part of your job for CTA? That sounds like fun ... and a nice break from the mundane.

Train is largely volunteers. Operators are chosen based upon their Rail Rodeo competition performance. I am retired.

DH

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