CHICAGO — Replete with twinkling lights, holiday music, Santa and "elves" passing out candy canes, the CTA Holiday Train rolled through the Blue Line's north and southbound O'Hare stops Thursday.
View the schedule for all Friday stops here.
View the schedule for all Saturday stops, including the UIC-Halsted Blue Line run, here.
"I thought it was really sweet once I saw it pull up," said Jennifer Ateca, 27, who was packed into a car on the holiday train Thursday for about 16 stops, after boarding at Monroe and planning to end her commute at Harlem.
Ateca, a medical insurance sales rep, said she usually listens to music on her phone but because she'd taken so many photos of the train, decked out with tinsel and red and white wrapped poles, the battery on her phone was running out by the time she'd reached the Damen stop.
"But I like Christmas music, so it's OK," Ateca said, adding that she'd even texted a friend who no longer commutes downtown to tell her, "I'm on the Santa train!"
CTA rail worker Pennie McCoach has been working on the holiday train since 2001.
McCoach said her elf name is "Mary."
"It's part of the character, I look forward to this to every year," McCoach said while dressed in an elf outfit and passing out candy canes.
McCoach said she and about 12 CTA workers normally put in about 18 days per season on the festive train.
The workers are taking a break from their regular duties as being motormen, customer service representatives and repairmen, McCoach said.
"I enjoy it and am great at it. The adults like it more than the kids," she said.
Now in its 22nd year, the Holiday Train began rolling the day after Thanksgiving, and plans to end its season Dec. 23 on the Yellow Line.
Find the CTA Holiday Train at these Wicker Park Blue Line stops Friday:
Damen, southbound to Forest Park, at 4:46 p.m.
Damen, northbound to O'Hare, at 6:45 p.m.
Division, southbound to Forest Park, at 4:48 p.m.
Division, northbound to O'Hare, at 6:43 p.m.
Find the CTA Holiday Train at these Wicker Park stops Saturday:
Damen, northbound to O'Hare at 4:36 and 8:08 p.m.
Division, northbound to O'Hare, at 4:34 and 8:06 p.m.
"Santa" will be available for photo sessions from 2:30-3:30 p.m. Saturday at the Forest Park stop and at the O'Hare stop from 5:20-6:20 p.m. The jolly man will also visit the Pink Line at Cermak from 12:45 p.m. to 1:20 p.m. Saturday.