CTA brass shared the Holiday Train Saturday with Santa Claus to deliver food baskets to local community groups on the West Side. Each holiday season, CTA employees donate the time and money to purchase the groceries and assemble the food baskets.
This year, the requests increased to nearly triple the number of requests from 2010. CTA will donate approximately 300 food baskets to 30 local community organizations. About 100 food baskets were delivered on Saturday.
Organizations receiving food baskets on Saturday as part of the special delivery from CTA President Forrest Claypool and Board Chair Terry Peterson are:
Human Resource Development Institute, Inc. (HRD), Healthy Families Chicago, Chicago Commons, The Inner Voice, New Creatures in Christ, Primo Center, Emanuel Community Outreach, Fraternite Notre Dame, Global Network Community Development Corp. and Life Span.
What it costs to run the Holiday Train
For all you Holiday Train haters out there, I asked the CTA what it costs to run the train every year. Here is the reply:
"An exact cost to operate the Holiday Train has not been calculated. Employees are assigned to the Holiday Train as part of their regular shifts to minimize labor costs. CTA employees at Skokie Shop decorate and put the train together. Because the Holiday Train is an in-service train, and most of the employees are scheduled as part of their regular shifts, the cost is minimal. Additionally, most of the decorations are recycled from year to year. The very small cost of the Holiday Train is more than offset by the enjoyment of CTA customers and Chicagoans."
What happens to the Holiday Train at the end of the season?
"When the Holiday Train season is complete, the lights and decorations are removed and most are stored for re-use next year. The green and red seat inserts are removed and also put into storage for next year; the regular seat inserts are re-installed. The decorations on the flat car - sleigh, reindeer, trees and gingerbread house - are also put into storage. The six rail cars are returned to regular service on the Yellow Line. The flatcar is a back-up work car used for carrying material used in the maintenance and repair of our infrastructure."