The student news site of Jones College Prep High School


The student news site of Jones College Prep High School


The student news site of Jones College Prep High School


All aboard the holiday train

Jones students rearrange their schedules in hopes of catching a ride on the CTA’s annual holiday train

One of Chicago’s well-known holiday attractions is back in business on Friday, Nov. 24–the CTA holiday train!

The holiday train began on the Blue Line in 1992 when a “Season’s Greetings from the CTA” sign was placed on the front of an out-of-service train to deliver food to various charities.

“The vibes are just straight ‘winter wonderland’ and it’s so cutely decorated it feels like you are stepping into the North Pole,” said Giselle Coronado ‘24. 

The train includes festive elements such as workers dressed as elves who pass out candy canes, cars lined with twinkling lights, a carriage with Santa Claus, and Christmas-themed advertisements and decor.

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“I like how happy everybody is when they get on the train because it feels very festive and even after a long day of work or school, people are still in a good mood,” said Sophie Kantoff ‘24.

Many members of the Jones community use public transportation daily and they appreciate the holiday spirit that the decorated trains bring to their school commute.

“It’s a nice surprise to see everyone celebrating something and having a good time even though it’s just a normal ride on the train,” said Kantoff.

Some students have even incorporated the holiday train into their holiday traditions and try to go every year. 

“The first time I went was when I was in around third grade and the last time I got on it was sophomore year,” said Coronado. “I think it is absolutely awesome that Chicago does this annually.”

Other students mentioned going out of their way to check the schedule and planning a ride on the holiday train, but sometimes, they still didn’t catch the train. 

“I have tried getting on it a couple of times but it’s always very hard to catch. Most of the times I have seen it, it’s usually for a different train line,” said Arlette Dez ‘24. 

While over 2,000 rail cars operate daily, only a few are the coveted holiday train.

“I think it’s really hard to get because the times are very specific. If you don’t match them up exactly with when you will be at a certain station, you have no chance,” said Ava Marcus ‘24.

To combat the defeat of riders missing the train, the Chicago Transit Authority has released a schedule outlining dates that the spirited train will be on each line with the time it leaves in each direction. 

The CTA train tracker app also includes candy cane emojis next to the holiday train to help riders track its arrival time.

Although it can take planning for some, many still manage to ride the train and experience its colorful lights and festive wallpaper. 

“Once I did catch the holiday train and it was very festive on the inside, with a lot of lights and a lot of people,” said Hernandez. “I even saw Santa riding toward the middle and saying hi to people.”

The holiday train has significantly increased students’ spirits as Jones nears finals, so students hope that the CTA employs more festive trains in the future.

“I think the CTA could do it for other holidays, like a Halloween train would be very cute,” said Hernandez.

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Alma Marshall '24, Journalism III
Samantha Dombar '24, Journalism I

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