On two Saturdays in December (Dec. 8 and 15), the popular West Coast Express Santa Train will be back on track, offering free rides to passengers in return for new, unwrapped toys.
Now in its 16th year, the Santa Train collects toys on behalf of Christmas bureaus throughout the communities West Coast Express serves, including SHARE in the Tri-Cities.
In 2011, West Coast Express collected more than 3,900 toys and $1,260 in cash donations, according to a press release.
"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."
Want to come along for the ride? Bring a new, unwrapped toy to any West Coast Express Station on either Dec. 8 or 15 and in exchange, you will receive a same-day return ticket for the West Coast Express.
The Santa Train is fun for the entire family. Santa will be on board the morning train to Waterfront Station to visit with kids of all ages, and will be found in the West Coast Express concourse at Waterfront Station from 3 to 4 p.m. for photos.
West Coast Express is also supporting a food drive in the northeast sector by collecting non-perishable food donations at any of its stations from Dec. 8 to 15. While food donations are greatly appreciated, to hop on board a Santa Train and receive a free return-ticket, each passenger must donate a new, unwrapped toy.