The West Coast Express Santa Trains will be operating on Dec. 9 and 16 this year to kick off the holiday season. (THE NEWS/files)

The West Coast Express Santa Trains will be operating on Dec. 9 and 16 this year to kick off the holiday season. (THE NEWS/files)

WCE Santa Train supports the Maple Ridge Pitt Meadows Christmas Hamper Society

An unwrapped new toy will get a return ticket downtown Vancouver on the West Coast Express

Need to do some Christmas shopping and would also like to support those in need in the community?

Then catch a train to Waterfront Station downtown Vancouver with the West Coast Express 23rd annual Santa Train event.

The Santa Trains will be operating on Dec. 9 and 16 this year to kick off the holiday season.

A free return ticket on board the Santa Train will be given to each person in exchange for a new, unwrapped toy donation for the Maple Ridge Pitt Meadows Christmas Hamper Society.

The train will pull into Waterfront Station at 11:15 a.m. where people will be able to wander downtown or see attractions like the Robson Square Outdoor Ice Rink, and the Vancouver Christmas Market at the Jack Poole Plaza.

After a day of Christmas shopping families can then return to Waterfront Station, or the West Coast Express North Pole Station, where, starting at 2:45 p.m. they will be able to enjoy holiday activities and a photos with Santa while sipping on egg nog.

The return train will leave Waterfront Station at 4 p.m.

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

2017 Santa Train schedule for Dec. 9 and 16:

(westbound arrival time)

• Mission 10 a.m.;

• Port Haney 10:19 a.m.;

• Maple Meadows 10:25 a.m.;

• Pitt Meadows 10:29 a.m.;

• Port Coquitlam 10:39 a.m.;

• Coquitlam 10:45 a.m.;

• Port Moody 10:50 a.m.;

• Waterfront 11:15 a.m.;

(eastbound arrival time)

• Waterfront 4 p.m.;

• Port Moody 4:24 p.m.;

• Coquitlam 4:29 p.m.;

• Port Coquitlam 4:34 p.m.;

• Pitt Meadows 4:44 p.m.;

• Maple Meadows 4:48 p.m.;

• Port Haney 4:54 p.m.;

• Mission 5:15 p.m.