CBS 2 Chicago wbbm7801059 670 The Score

Local

CTA’s Holiday Train Arrives In Time For Festive Season

The CTA's festive "Holiday Train" was back in business this week and will appear on all L lines in the coming weeks. (CBS)

The CTA’s festive “Holiday Train” was back in business this week and will appear on all L lines in the coming weeks. (CBS)

roberts250 Bob Roberts
Bob Roberts is a native of Wilmette who has worked in Chicago media...
Read More
Lastest News Headlines:

Get Breaking News First

Receive News, Politics, and Entertainment Headlines Each Morning.
Sign Up

(CBS) — Santa is beckoning riders aboard the CTA’s Holiday Train — a one-of-a-kind, gaudily decorated train that anyone can ride.

The train began four weeks of trips across all of the CTA’s lines Friday.  Leaving from the Orange Line terminal near Midway Airport, it switched over downtown to the Green Line for the balance of the day.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Bob Roberts reports

Workers at the CTA’s Skokie shops labored for more than two months to put together this year’s specially wrapped and brightly lit holiday train, which is composed of six cars for riders, and two for Santa and his sleigh.

Some have called it “the train the grinches couldn’t kill,” because of the outcry that occurred when a handful of CTA managers once tried to discontinue it as a belt-tightening measure.  The CTA’s Catherine Hosinski said no thought was given at any point this year to discontinuing the train, despite the CTA’s touch-and-go finances.

“It’s become a holiday tradition,” she said.

“Kids love it.  Adults love it,” Hosinski adds. “It really does brighten your day. I’ve gone home from work kind of exhausted, and when you see it, it just washes away the day and puts you in the holiday spirit.”

The train also has been known to create traffic jams along the Kennedy, Eisenhower, Stevenson  and Dan Ryan Expressways as it runs on paralleling  L lines.

Volunteer elves pass out candy canes to riders; on special trips, it will bring food baskets to the needy.  Over the next four weeks, it will visit each line several times.

The CTA tried unsuccessfully to find a sponsor for the 2012 Holiday Train.  It is actively pursuing potential sponsors for the 2013 holiday season.