By Kiwanis Club of Rockland | Dec 02, 2013
The Kiwanis Jingle Bell EXPRESS aboard Maine Eastern Railroad in Rockland is this Friday and Saturday, Dec. 6 & 7.  Order tickets online at, or by phone at 207.596.6725.

ROCKLAND -  Although some trains are sold out, there are still tickets available for the Friday trips aboard the annual Kiwanis Jingle Bell EXPRESS.  There are also tickets available for one of the Saturday trips.

Now in its fourth season, the Rockland Kiwanis Jingle Bell EXPRESS morphed from the popular Polar Express event sponsored for several years by a different organization.  The Kiwanis Club took over the railroad-themed spectacular to ensure the continuation of what has become a Christmas tradition for midcoast families.

The two-night, five-trip schedule aboard Maine Eastern Railroad will be Fri. Dec. 6, with two train times; and Sat. Dec. 7, with three train times.

In addition to Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus boarding the train, the trip includes a visit to the North Pole, where riders get to observe the activities at Santa’s Workshop from inside the train.  Train conductors will read a story and every child will receive a bell to commemorate their journey.  Families enjoy Christmas carols on the ride back to the Rockland depot, where cookies and hot cocoa await the disembarked passengers.

It takes more than 100 volunteers to produce the show, including approximately 50 elves on performance nights, according to Kiwanis president and JBE co-chair Katie Tarbox of Spruce Head.  The rest of the volunteers include those who are in costume on the train, or who perform countless hours of behind-the-scenes functions like baking cookies, decorating, lighting, and set up.

Committee co-chair, Margie Kinney of Thomaston, said the purpose of the JBE is to provide a unique experience and to create memories.  She said that there are always new families who take the trip, as well as a lot of repeat customers.  She noted that several of the younger volunteers have been involved for a long time.  “We’ve watched so many of them transition from wide-eyed riders sitting with mom and dad, to costumed entertainers dancing and playing at Santa’s Workshop”, she said.

While the local service club retains a portion of the ticket revenue for their charitable giving efforts, the rest goes to cover the cost of the train’s operation.  The use of the North Pole location comes through the generosity of the Thomaston Historical Society.

Tickets are $19 per person, including service charges.  Children under the age of 2 years ride free.  Tickets and information can be obtained online at, or by calling 207.596.6725.

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WHAT: Kiwanis Jingle Bell EXPRESS – Train ride to North Pole and Santa’s Workshop

WHERE: Railroad Depot at 4 Union Street, Rockland, Maine  04841 – Call 207.596.6725 - ORDER ONLINE AT MAINEEASTERNRAILROAD.COM

WHEN: Dec. 6 – 5:00 & 6:30 PM --- Dec. 7 – 4:30 & 6:00 & 7:30 PM

PRICING: $19 per person – Children under 2 ride free in lap

NOTES: Reservations Encouraged - 200 passengers per trip - Tickets sell quickly

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