Several seasons of a holiday ritual will continue with the Jingle Bell Express on Friday and Saturday, December 3 and 4.

The Kiwanis Club of Rockland has taken up hosting the annual family Christmas train ride aboard the Maine Eastern Railroad train this year. For the past five years dedicated volunteers helped run the Rockland Toy Library Polar Express. The Jingle Bell Express will replace the Polar Express.

Starting at the train passenger depot on Union Street in Rockland, pajama-clad riders will board one of three trains each night for a journey to the North Pole to see Santa's outdoor workshop from the train windows. Santa will board the train to greet passengers at the North Pole.

Trains depart at 4:30, 6 and 7:30 p.m. on Friday, December 3, and Saturday, December 4. The trip will last an hour.

Tickets are $18 per person through noon on Wednesday, November 24. There will be no ticket sales from November 25 through November 28. Tickets will be $20 per person beginning on Monday, November 29. A $1 processing fee will also be added to each ticket.

Tickets can be purchased from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Thursday, at the Maine Eastern Railroad offices at 4 Union Street in Rockland or by calling 596-6725. Reservations are strongly suggested.

Children younger than two years old may ride free. For more information, visit or