Holiday Train an assault on the senses
In riding the CTA's Holiday Train, one has to be prepared for a bombardment of sight, sound and imagery.
And it helps not to be claustrophobic.
A few friends of Tattler took me up on my offer to meet-up on last Saturday's Holiday Train. (Thanks guys, great to meet you!)
We got on the first car at Roosevelt, which was already filled with families and kids of all ages. There was a general buzz in the car -- a good, Christmasy intoxicating buzz.
Elves, dressing the part in elaborate costume, handed out candy canes to every person who boarded at every stop. Two elves staffed every car -- 12 elves total. Santa's sleigh took up the spot for car 3 and 4 of the eight-car train. They are paid CTA employees, but there were other unpaid employees on board who were volunteering their time.
In my car, most of the windows were covered by decorations and exterior signs. In place of ads ringing the top of the car were seasonal joke ads and generally bad jokes.
After awhile, it seemed like the adults were enjoying the ride the most, and the kids got bored after awhile. On a train Martha was on, her godchild remarked that one of the "ads" didn't make any sense, when it actually was a joke a little over her head. A bad joke.
Some highlights were watching the faces of riders on the platform as it pulled into the station. We saw a mix of wonderment, joy, astonishment and downright confusion. One woman hesitated to board because she didn't think it was a "regular" Brown Line, despite the best efforts by the motorman to convince her otherwise.
Finally, we exited at Belmont and I dashed down the platform to get photos of Santa on the open car/sleigh. It looked like a paparazzi lineup. And no one hassled any of these photographers.
We all had a great time afterward over drinks and conversation.