It's an opportunity for a free ride on the West Coast Express.
On two Saturdays, Dec. 8 and 15, people can bring a new, unwrapped toy to any West Coast Express train station and receive a same-day return ticket for the Santa train.
Now in its 16th year, the Santa train is set up to collect toys for Christmas-support organizations in the communities the train serves. Locally, donations go to the Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows Christmas Hamper Society.
"The donations given in each community remain in the community," said SkyTrain and West Coast Express representative Jennifer Siddon.
"I think that's part of the reason it has become so beloved in the communities."
Children under four years old are not required to bring a new unwrapped toy for their free ride, but those above age four wanting a free ride do. As Siddon notes, riders can be quite generous.
"Santa Train passengers are pretty special and have been known to donate more than one toy per person," she said.
Santa himself will be on both of the days' westbound trains, then find him for photos in the West Coast Express concourse at Waterfront station an hour before the departure of the train for the return trip home.
Billed as "fun for all ages" and "extremely popular" by the organization, West Coast Express staff will also be supporting a food drive by collecting non-perishable food donations from Dec. 8 to 15.
Trains leave at the same time on both Dec. 8 and 15. Westbound departure times are: Port Haney 10: 19 a.m.. Maple Meadows 10: 25 a.m., and Pitt Meadows 10: 29 a.m.
Trains will depart Waterfront coming eastbound at 4 p.m., arriving in Pitt Meadows at 4: 44 p.m., Maple Meadows at 4: 48 p.m., and Port Haney at 4: 54 p.m.
"When we first launched the Santa Train 16 years ago, we carried about 1,200 passengers over the two-day event and now we are carrying more than 2,500 passengers on the two Saturdays," said Fred Cummings, president and general manager of West Coast Express.
"West Coast Express passengers have embraced the Santa Train because it's a fun-filled way to give back to families in need in their communities."
@ Copyright 2013