In England · Parenthood

Day Out with Thomas at Colne Valley Railway

Thomas train ride

It started with his first birthday. My grandparents sent our oldest son a Thomas the Tank Engine toy that talked when you pressed the funnel. Then… the dam cracked and Thomas started seeping into our lives little by little. The five-minute episodes of the show provided him a little joy when he was sick. He received a Tidmouth Shed toy for Hanukkah. Eventually the dam broke. Now our home is flooded with the #1 blue engine and his friends. Toys. Books. Stickers. We even used removable decals and Thomas bedding as rewards for transitioning into a big boy bed. Of course he received Thomas briefs for being an ace at potty training. Sometimes his Thomas t-shirt is the only way we can convince him to get dressed in the morning.

I’m a little embarrassed to admit it all. But his enthusiasm for Thomas is infectious (especially with the British version; the American shows are dreadfully obnoxious), and my husband is delighted to share his childhood train hobby with his son. So it is. HIT Entertainment, who owns the rights to Thomas, totally gets this. Enter: Day Out With Thomas.

Heritage railways host these events, which feature engines with the faces of character trains, a live Fat Controller to interact with guests and other activities. Thomas pulls a line of coaches so visitors can take a ride. It’s a two-year-old’s dream. It made Father’s Day an easy kill this year.

Thomas the Tank Engine Colne Valley

We drove about 40 minutes to the Colne Valley Railway. This was my first visit to a heritage railway, so I have no idea if they’re all supposed to look like junk yards for decrepit engines and train cars. But no matter. THOMAS WAS THERE!

Daisy the Diesel Passenger Train

So was Daisy.

Toad and Mavis at Colne Valley

Toad and Mavis, too.

Hello, Fat Controller

And, hello! Someone got to meet the Fat Controller.

Walden was so proud to recognize Thomas’s whistle, and I got some satisfaction in letting him see how trains really work. (It doesn’t run on batteries?) It’s certainly a day his father won’t ever forget! I hope it sticks in his memory, too.

Wanderlynn was nominated for Circle of Moms Top 25 Military Moms 2013! Voting takes but a click, and you can do it once a day between now and July 4, 2013. Would you take a second to vote? Click here. Thanks! 

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4 thoughts on “Day Out with Thomas at Colne Valley Railway

  1. This is so awesome. How are the British and American versions different? I find them all kinda pointless and annoying. Is there any moral or conclusion to any of them? What did Sir Topham Hat do to have such CONTROL with the words “useful engine”?

    I won’t pretend to know any other engines’ names (everyone is currently “Thomas”) but it does give me a few minutes to completely zone out, and by golly, that makes Thomas and Friends, VERY USEFUL ENGINES INDEED.

  2. I’m glad to hear you had such a lovely day! I’m one of the volunteers at the Colne Valley Railway and it makes us smile when we get to see that people really enjoy all of the work we put in. Thank you for sharing!

  3. Jenn, the stories are exactly the same. Thomas is still, as a character, totally annoying. The difference is the dubbing. The British accents are so much less brash than the Americans. We fired up Netflix at 5am in Minnesota to buy ourselves a few more minutes in bed, but American Percy made me want to jump out a window.

    Each tale does have a tiny little moral lesson to it, though they’re all about pleasing The Man, doing what you’re told and being a good friend. I suppose it could be worse.

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