The West Coast Express Santa Trains are running, and for the 22nd year, volunteers Tanya and Bill Sawchuk were at the Port Haney Station collecting donations.
They had several bags full of 54 different toys, donated by people who offered the toys for the Santa Train in exchange for their train fare.
The toys support the Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows Christmas Hamper. Some people also donate food and even cash for the cause.
Last year, they supported almost 700 families at Christmas, said Tanya.
Last year, Bill said he had enough donations to fill the back of his Ford F150, and that’s what they are hoping for again next Saturday.
Passengers are asked to purchase a new, unwrapped toy ranging in price from $10 to $15 for each person boarding, and the fare includes all their transit for the day.
Bill noted most people are generous with their gifts, buying expensive toys.
One Maple Ridge woman used to bring stuffed animals and numerous knitted crafts she had made, but never rode the train.
“She probably spent all summer knitting it,” he said.
On Dec. 17, the Santa Train will again depart from Port Haney at 10:19 a.m., Maple Meadows Station at 10:25 a.m. and Pitt Meadows at 10:29 a.m.
Those riding into Vancouver are directed to attractions like the Enchant Christmas Light Maze and Market, Robson Square Outdoor IceRink, and the Vancouver Christmas Market at the Jack Poole Plaza.
There are also photos with Santa at Waterfront Station between 3 p.m. and the train’s departure. It will leave Waterfront Station at 4 p.m. to return, hitting all three local stops along the way between 4:44 and 4:54 p.m.
The Sawchuks expect it is going to be a busy day on the Santa Train.
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