ROCKLAND, Maine — The seasonal passenger excursion schedule at Maine Eastern Railroad has come to an end, but there are still opportunities to ride the vintage train before it is put up for the winter:
• The railroad will run its annual shopping train to Rockland on Saturday, Nov. 26. The trip is designed for adults and families seeking an alternative way to do Christmas shopping.
Rockland’s Main Street boutiques, restaurants, galleries and museums are just a block or two from the depot.
Round-trip tickets from Brunswick, Bath and Wiscasset are $42. Fares for seniors and children are discounted.
• The Kiwanis Jungle Bell Express will run Friday and Saturday, Dec. 2-3. Train departure times from Rockland are 4:30 p.m., 6 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. The trip departs the historic brick passenger depot in downtown Rockland for a short ride to the North Pole and Santa’s Workshop, where lively elves dance and frolic as they prepare the treasures Santa will deliver Christmas Eve.
Along the way, families will ride in gaily decorated passenger coaches while train conductors read a story and lead the group in singing. Upon arrival at the brightly illuminated North Pole, Santa will board the train with a few of his elves and pass out a special gift to every child.
Advance tickets through noon Wednesday, Nov. 23, are $18. Tickets will be $20 beginning Monday, Nov. 28. A $1 processing fee will be added to the price of each ticket.
• The Candy Cane Train, sponsored by and a fundraiser for Tri-County Literacy in Bath will run 9 a.m., 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 10-11. Departing from the downtown Bath passenger depot, the Candy Cane Train will run to the Wiscasset waterfront where costumed elves will perform dances for passengers.
In addition to Santa Claus walking through the moving train to spend time with children, a roving group of singers will entertain passengers. Plenty of elves will keep an eye on the activities and put little ones into the holiday spirit.
Cookies and hot cocoa will be served, and candy canes given as a special treat.
Tickets are $17 and can be purchased by contacting Tri-County Literacy in Bath at 443-6384. For more information visit http://www.candycanetrain.com or http://firstname.lastname@example.org.
• For the second consecutive year, Maine Eastern Railroad will team up with the News Center teams at WCSH-6 in Portland and WLBZ-2 in Bangor with a special train event to help draw attention to the annual Coats and Toys for Kids campaign.
With Togus the Cat as the star attraction, participants may drop off donations of new and lightly used coats, and new, unwrapped toys at three train stops — Brunswick Station, 16 Station Ave.; Bath Station, 15 Commercial St.; and Rockland Station, 4 Union St. Collection boxes will be available at all three locations and Togus’ human, News Center reporter Don Carrigan, is expected to broadcast live from each location.
The visit with Togus does not include a train ride. Instead, those who bring donations will see Togus and have their photo taken, either on the train, or in the station.
For information about tickets or to make reservations for the Shopping Train or Jingle Bell Express, call 596-6725.