Thursday, June 23, 2011

Thomas the Tank Engine

Due to our son's fascination, actually obsession is a more accurate word, with Thomas the Tank Engine we decided to take him to "A Day Out with Thomas".   We opted to go to the one in Strasburg, Pennsylvania, it is right outside of Lancaster and not too far for a day trip. We left a little after 6 in the morning and headed North on 81. I forget what town this is that has the giant paint can and tractor trailer in the air, but we always look for it when heading to New York.

The event was being held at the Strasburg Railway Station, we got there a little before 10am.  When we got there Thomas wasn't there so we walked around and looked at the Thomas activities.  There were tents with Thomas clothing that you could buy, face painting and Thomas tattoos, tents with Thomas movies playing, Thomas crafts...everything Thomas!

They had these little cars called "cranky cars". Ainsley wanted to ride but couldn't figure out how to crank the wheel so daddy had to assist.

Wythe didn't want to ride but he had fun watching his sister ride.


When Thomas pulled into the station Wythe fell to pieces. He started crying and screaming, laid down on the ground like he was having a tantrum. All the while saying "Thomas!"   Apparently when your favorite toy comes to life it is quite overwhelming!

Wythe is trying to compose himself but still rather shaky...he couldn't believe there was a real train!!

The price of admission included a ride on the Thomas train. We had a little bit of time before our scheduled ride so we walked around and looked at some of the activities. There was also a store with all of the Thomas trains and toys.

Finally,  our turn to ride!  One of the workers there suggested that we ride in one of the open cars as the breeze would be nice on a hot day.

Wythe was excited to be on "Thomas" but the noise of the steam blowing and of the whistle was a little much for him.

Fears are it is just plain ol' fun!

The ride is about 25 minutes and takes you out into the countryside. The scenery is lovely and peaceful, you pass several farms including some Amish farms.

At the end of our ride Wythe didn't quite understand why we had to get off....and didn't understand why we couldn't ride again!


 We also got to meet Sir Topham Hatt.  Wythe was excited about the idea but once it was our turn to meet him and have our picture taken...well, it brought back memories of Santa.

" wait a minute is Sir Topham Hatt for real???"

 "he moved....get me out of here!!!"

Now, he is happy. Away from the scary Sir Topham Hatt and back to watching the train come in and out of the station.   You could also get your picture taken with Thomas, they would take the picture while the train was loading and unloading. We decided to skip that, the line was really long and it was a very rushed process, probably not the best for two toddlers that were in a fragile, excited, emotional state!

 This was another really old train that you could take a short, like 100 feet , ride on .  This train has been in several movies but I can't remember which ones. The conductor was giving us the history of the train as well as some of the other trains they have restored at Strasburg Railway.

 Ainsley settled in for our short ride on the old train.

This is the wood stove on the train.  Peter loved it! 

We ate lunch there, you can bring a picnic or get food there. They have food vendors and a cafe that sells burgers and sandwiches.  We decided to buy tickets and take a ride on one of the other old steam trains.  You got a discount if you had bought a ticket to the Thomas event.  This train ride was about 45 minutes long and on a train that was over 100 years old.  When Wythe saw the train he dubbed it "Percy" even though it really wasn't.  The kids were pretty worn out by this point and the Thomas event was coming to a close so this ride was going to be our last activity.

I loved the interior of these cars!  This train had a dining car but we had already eaten so we sat in the regular coach.  The seats were cloth and fairly comfortable. You could adjust the direction of the seat by flipping the seat back forwards or backwards.  Each coach has its own wood stove to keep you warm in the cold months.

There were only a couple of people in our car and when we were moving it wasn't too hot. But thinking back to the olden days when people wore lots more clothing and imagining the car full of people, well, it would be pretty uncomfortable!  The sway of the car was pretty crazy too, you would be hard pressed to get down the aisle without crashing into people.  This ride went out into the countryside as well, just farther than the Thomas train.  It was a peaceful ride and so neat to think of people sitting in these very same seats in the late 1800's.

 These lights used to be gas but have been converted to electricity for safely reasons. I loved the detail of them as well as all of the wood paneling in the cars.


Ainsley was enjoying the ride!

but the sway of the train got her exhausted brother...

After that ride we headed back home.  We took a scenic ride home and stopped for dinner so it took us longer and made for a long day.  But what a great day!

'til next time...

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