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‘Definitely a nice change’: Commuter rail conductor decorates train car with Christmas cheer

Riders were treated to a bit of holiday cheer Wednesday morning after a train conductor decorated the inside of a vehicle. Todd Douglass

These are the troubles passengers sometimes face during their daily commutes.

But riders on a commuter rail train bound for Boston this week had a much more cheerful experience — one that came with free candy canes.

Commuters who boarded the Lowell Line early Wednesday were greeted by strings of Christmas lights and other holiday decorations that were put up by a conductor hoping to spread some joy.

The impromptu display included red and white paper chains that draped across the train’s aisle and what appeared to be a white Christmas tree set up on a table at the front of the train car.

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According to Tory Mazzola, a spokesman for Keolis Commuter Services, the MBTA’s commuter rail operator, the decorating was done by the employee on his own time and wasn’t an idea that percolated within the transit agency’s offices.

“[The] Commuter rail has so many dedicated conductors who go above and beyond their primary passenger safety duties,” Mazzola said in a statement, “as evidenced by this Keolis employee.”

Mazzola said they’d hoped the festive display would stay up for the full day. However, “after hundreds of passengers were able to enjoy them, they were later taken down to eliminate confusion.”

A picture of the holiday-themed train car was posted to Reddit on Wednesday by passenger Todd Douglass.

Douglass said he was on the train leaving Lowell, bound for Boston, when he noticed Christmas lights in the next car over as he stepped on board.

“I went to check it out since it was warm and inviting,” he said in an e-mail to the Globe. “They had a table with a tree, cookies, and juice boxes. The employees were dressed in holiday attire and playing Christmas music the whole ride in.”

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Douglass said they were “just having a good time,” laughing and taking pictures with passengers, and even handed out candy canes as a parting gift once the train pulled into North Station.

“It was honestly the nicest MBTA experience I’ve ever had,” he said. “Definitely a nice change from the daily grind, sourness of commuting, and stress of the workday.”


Steve Annear can be reached at steve.annear@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @steveannear.