Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority Serving Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, and Philadelphia Counties

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SEPTA's in the Holiday Spirit

Heather Redfern
SEPTA Press Officer

Deck the trains and the trolleys, fa la la la la, la la la la.

'Tis the season to be jolly and thanks to the efforts of several operators, some SEPTA vehicles are dressed in "holiday style" ready to transport passengers to a merry wonderland. With yards of garland, bright strings of lights, tons of tinsel and more, Bus number 8361 on Routes 109, 123 and 124; Media/Sharon Hill Trolley car number 100; Norristown High Speed Line (NHSL) car 143; Route 15 Trolley number 2320; Route 10 Trolley number 90220; and Trolley number 9104 on Routes 11, 13, 34 and 36 look more like Santa's sleigh than your average SEPTA chariot.

"Decorating the vehicles is one way our operators spread holiday cheer along their routes," said General Manager Joe Casey. "After a long day at work or when returning home from the hustle and bustle of shopping, seeing the twinkling lights and other trimmings as the bus, trolleys or train pull into the stop makes our customers smile."

SEPTA's holiday vehicles need a little more than Santa's magic for their festive makeovers. Trolley operator Gary Mason has decked out the Routes 15 and 10 for years. And for the past two years, bus operator Deina McLaughlin - a 13-year SEPTA employee - has adorned the NHSL. This year the Authority discovered that the talent for decorating runs in McLaughlin's family when she was joined by her sister Denita Birton, a 21-year SEPTA veteran, to roll out the holly, bows, ribbon and wreaths on the NHSL, Media/Sharon Hill Line and Bus number 8361.

The sisters went with a red, blue and silver - SEPTA's colors - on the bus and made the NHSL a "Candy Land", placing red, white and green cellophane on the lights to mimic a candy cane.

"We had a lot of ideas and color schemes and bounced them off one another," said McLaughlin. "When we first hung the garland and lights, we weren't sure what the results were going to be. In the end, the outcomes were worth the tedious work. It was a fun and enjoyable experience."

The resulting "oohs" and "aahs" from customers mean that McLaughlin and Birton are up to the decorating challenge next year.

SEPTA vehicles brought even more joy to residents of the Greater Philadelphia region this year than just via a jolly ride. Clear Channel and Parx Casino hosted a three-day "Stuff-A-SEPTA Bus" toy drive for Toys for Tots at the Bucks County casino. From Friday, December 14 through Sunday, December 16, listeners of six Clear Channel radio stations filled three SEPTA buses to their ceilings with new, unwrapped toys, all of which will be distributed to deserving children in the community.

The Route 10 Trolley is lit and ready to hit the tracks.

Operator Gary Mason decorated the Route 15 (above) and Route 10 trolleys inside and out.

Sisters and bus operators Deina McLaughlin (left) and Denita Birton decorated this Media/Sharon Hill Line car, as well as a NHSL car and a bus.

Bus #8361 is wrapped like a present.

Almost 700 people filled three SEPTA buses with over 1,200 toys for Toys for Tots (Photo courtesy of Clear Channel).