11/16/2012 02:11 pm ET Updated Nov 16, 2012

CTA Holiday Train Schedule 2012: Santa's Coming To Town (PHOTOS)

It's time to party! The CTA's holiday train is turning 21 this year -- and on Friday, the agency released its schedule for this year's festive run.

Offering an excuse to skip the big-box Black Friday sales, the holiday train -- in all its garland-wrapped, reindeer-inclusive glory -- is set to hit the Green Line on Nov. 23, in addition to Nov. 24 and Nov. 28. According to the CTA, the train will operate between 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. on weekdays and 1 and 8 p.m. on weekends.

(Scroll down to check out photos of the CTA holiday train.)

The schedule continues as follows, with more detailed plans to follow on the train's site:

  • Nov. 29-Dec. 1: Orange Line & Brown Line
  • Dec. 5: Pink Line (plus photo-only stop on Dec. 8)
  • Dec. 6-8: Blue Line
  • Dec. 12, 14, 15, 18, 22: Red Line
  • Dec. 13, 15, 19, 22: Purple Line
  • Dec. 20: Yellow Line

The holiday train tradition began in 1992 when a "Season's Greetings from the CTA" sign was affixed to the front of a train delivering food to charities. The train first carried passengers in 1996 and, since then, has become just one of the city's most popular trademarks of the holiday season.

The train is so revered that it inspired a play, opening Nov. 24, based on locals' experiences of catching a ride on the colorful, cheerful chariot.



The CTA's Holiday Train In Action