“Get on early” are Chicago Parent magazine’s words of wisdom for boarding the CTA’s Holiday Train today, Friday and Saturday.
Luckily, Forest Parkers get a first crack at the eastbound trains at the Blue Line terminus, 711 Desplaines Ave., starting at 4:28 p.m. on Thursday when it rolls into the station. The train departs for O’Hare at 4:57 p.m.
The festive six-car Blue Line train, decked out with Christmas lights and seasonal décor inside and out, quickly fills up with families and children for a trip around the Loop.
CTA employees pass out candy canes as holiday music plays during the trip. Santa and his sleigh — reindeer included — are set up on a flat-car in the middle of the train.
If you’d like to snap photos with Santa on Saturday, he’ll be on the Forest Park Blue Line platform between 2:30 and 3:30 p.m.
The CTA offers the following tips to families taking a ride on the Holiday Train tradition for the first time:
- Travel light. Many families make the Holiday Train a part of their holiday tradition and the cars get crowded. The CTA suggests that families use collapsible strollers.
- Board near the start of the line. Because the train will become more crowded as it travels down the rail line, the CTA recommends that families board at a station close to the beginning of the route. Note that rail cars toward the front or back of the train will be less crowded compared to those immediately adjacent to Santa’s sleigh.
- Don’t dawdle taking photos. The Holiday Train is an in-service train and has to stay on schedule, so it can’t dwell in stations. Don’t miss your opportunity to board because you are trying to grab a photo. Board the train first and then take photos of Santa or the train when exiting at your destination.
- Get photos with Santa. On select Saturdays, families can take photos with Santa at rail line terminals.