Donations benefit the Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows Christmas Hamper.

Donations benefit the Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows Christmas Hamper.

West Coast Express runs two Santa Trains

Ride on Dec. 6 and on Dec. 13 for a with a new, unwrapped toy donation.

All aboard the West Coast Express Santa Train this year.

This Saturday, Dec. 6 and again on Dec. 13, people who get on the Santa Train with a new, unwrapped toy donation, worth about the same price as your train fare, can get a free ride into downtown Vancouver to do their Christmas shopping.

The special West Coast Express Santa Trains leaves Mission City station at 10 a.m. and will make all the regular stops along the West Coast Express commuter rail route until reaching Vancouver.

In late afternoon, the train then head back east to Mission, departing Waterfront Station at 4 p.m.

Unlike previous years, though, there will be no collection of food donations for local food banks, only toys will be collected.

Those will be given to the Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows Christmas Hamper Society.

An added attraction for the trip into Vancouver is the North Pole station, which opens at 3 p.m. in the Waterfront station in downtown Vancouver. The station will offer photo opportunities with Santa, and free egg nog, courtesy of Dairyland, for departing commuters.

Last year, about 3,400 toys were collected for needy kids.

Black Press Newspaper Group and Rogers Radio Group are co-sponsors of the event.

Last year, commuters in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows donated 654 toys and $475 in cash.