Santa Trains happen Dec. 8 and 15

The annual event sees tickets on WCE exchanged for a new, unwrapped toy for the Mission Christmas Bureau

The West Coast Express (WCE) Santa Trains will be departing Mission for points west Dec. 8 and 15, with tickets offered to passengers in return for new, unwrapped toys.

Now in its 16th year, the Santa Train collects toys on behalf of the Christmas bureaus throughout the communities WCE serves including Mission.

In 2011, more than 3,900 toys and $1,260 in cash donations were collected along the route.

“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, WCE’s president and general manager. “WCE passengers have embraced the Santa Train because it’s a fun-filled way to give back to families in need in their communities.”

The trains leave Mission at 10 a.m., and depart eastbound from Waterfront at 4 p.m.

Santa will be on board the morning train to Waterfront Station to visit with kids of all ages, and he can be found in the WCE concourse at Waterfront Station from 3 to 4 p.m. for photos.

WCE is also supporting a food drive in the northeast sector by collecting non-perishable food donations at any of its stations from Dec. 8-15.