(THE NEWS/files)                                Tanya Sawchuk and her daughter Mackenzie hand out candy canes at the West Coast Express Santa Train.

(THE NEWS/files) Tanya Sawchuk and her daughter Mackenzie hand out candy canes at the West Coast Express Santa Train.

Here comes the Santa Train

Dec. 8 and 15. from Mission to Waterfront Station.

Holiday shoppers can kick off the season aboard the West Coast Express Santa Train.

In exchange for a new, unwrapped toy donation, worth about the same as a WCE pass, you will get a free return ticket to Waterfront Station, downtown Vancouver and back.

This year the train comes to town Dec. 8 and 15.

The train will depart from Mission at 10 a.m. and arrive at Port Haney at 10:19 a.m., Maple Meadows at 10:25 a.m., Pitt Meadows at 10:29 a.m., Port Coquitlam at 10:39 a.m., Coquitlam at 10:45 a.m., Port Moody at 10:50 a.m. and arrive at Waterfront at 11:15 a.m.

There will be enough time to wander downtown, see attractions like the Robson Square outdoor ice rink, or visit the Vancouver Christmas Market at Jack Poole Plaza.

At 2:45 p.m. Waterfront Station will turn into the North Pole Station with activities for children and a chance to get a photograph taken with Santa Clause.

Dairyland will also provide eggnog that you can drink while waiting for the trip home.

The train will depart Waterfront station at 4 p.m. and arrive at Port Moody at 4:24 p.m., Coquitlam at 4:29 p.m., Port Coquitlam at 4:34 p.m., Pitt Meadows at 4:44 p.m., Maple Meadows at 4:48 p.m., Port Haney at 4:54 p.m. and finally Mission at 5:15 p.m.

Toy donations will go to the Maple Ridge Pitt Meadows Christmas Hamper Society.

Around 700 families are supported by the West Coast Express toy drive each year.