The 17th annual West Coast Express Santa Train will be rolling into town on Dec. 7 and the 14 this year.
Each year the West Coast Express offers free rides to Waterfront Station and same-day return with the donation of one new, unused and unwrapped toy or cash donation per each person, in exchange for a ticket, which will work like an all-day transit pass while in Vancouver.
All toys collected here will go the Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows Christmas Hamper Society, which will then distribute them with Christmas Hampers or at Rudolph’s Gift Shoppe.
Last year: 242 toys and $39 were collected at Port Haney Station; 345 toys and $220.25 at Maple Meadows station; and 155 toys and $2.45 at Pitt Meadows station, for a total of 742 toys and $261.70.
This year the emphasis will be on items for teen and babies.
In addition, the West Coast Express will be holding a separate food drive for the Friends in Need Food Bank.
From Dec. 7-14, bins will be placed at the entrance to all outlying West Coast stations for canned goods and non-perishable food items. Items can also be dropped off in bins located at our charity train partners – including the Black Press Newspaper Group and Rogers Radio Group (Star FM, Country, and Sonic).
The train will be leaving Mission City station at 10 a.m. on both days. It will leave Port Haney station at 10:19 a.m., Maple Meadows station at 10:25 a.m., Pitt Meadows station at 10:29 a.m. before picking up people in the Tri-Cities area and heading to Waterfront station for 11:15 a.m..
Santa will be on board the morning train to visit with the children and prior to boarding the train for the ride home he will be available at Waterfront Station for photo opportunities where there will also be eggnog, refreshments, candy canes, crafts and music.
• For more information call the West Coast Express at 604-488-8906 or visit www.westcoastexpress.com.