New Metra Holiday Trains Are Chugging Through Chicagoland: Here’s How to Catch a Ride


Decked out in red and green lights both inside and out, new Metra holiday trains are spreading holiday cheer to passengers and passerby alike. They’re a new addition for 2023 designed to brighten up the commute or make a trip into the city extra special.

The trains are being used for special events with Santa and Mrs. Claus, which have sold out (as have most of the 2023 Polar Express train options). However, the trains are also being used in regular service. If your family hops aboard the Metra this season, you may find yourselves in a twinkling train car with lights and holiday music!

Metra train engine decorated with red and green holiday lights.
photo courtesy of Metra

Want to try and catch a decorated train? Check out Metra’s decorated train schedule to see train numbers and times.

The BNSF Metra line will run five trips each day beginning Monday, December 4:

  • Train 1220, the 7:26 a.m. arrival at Union Station
  • Train 1227, the 11:33 a.m. departure from Union Station
  • Train 1260, the 2:16 p.m. arrival at Union Station
  • Train 1233, the 2:33 p.m. departure from Union Station
  • Train 1273, the 5:40 p.m. departure from Union Station

The Rock Island Line to Joliet and the Metra Electric line to University Park also have quite a few trips scheduled.

The Milwaukee District North, Milwaukee District West, North Central Service, Union Pacific North, Union Pacific Northwest, and the Union Pacific West lines have a few one-off trips scheduled, too. Metra suggests checking back for updates to the schedule.

While these aren’t full-on Polar Express events, they certainly add some fun festivity to any train trip, whether you’re headed to a nearby downtown or going into Chicago. If you catch one of these holiday trains, please let us know what you think by commenting below or tagging us on Instagram!

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