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Earle Baldwin

Lionel™ Thomas The Tank Engine

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[float=right]thomaslayout.jpg[/float]One of the true joys of the hobby for me is sharing my excitement for railroading with non participants, particularly children. It gives me great pleasure to see others develop an interest in our passion. Trains have always brought me great joy and I enjoy sharing this happiness with others. Exposing folks to railroading in all its forms opens their eyes to a world they most likely did not know existed and helps to ensure trains will continue to run on time and basements will continue to have model railroads in them.

 

An excellent vehicle for encouraging youthful interest in railroading is "Thomas the Tank Engine and Friends." Thomas has his roots in a series of stories written by a railfan father, the Reverend Awdry, for his young son. In them, he recounts the adventures of various pieces of railway equipment based upon British prototypes. The stories eventually morphed into a series of television programs which show Thomas and his friends navigating life's challenges on the Island of Sodor. Kids love the programs and the series features enough railroading to hold the interest of us adults as well. Over the years, the television series and merchandising have transformed Thomas into a major venture. Tourist railroads now feature events with life sized Thomas locomotives. In fact, my son thinks Thomas is a real locomotive because Strasburg Rail Road modified an operating former Brooklyn Eastern District Terminal 0-6-0T to look just like him. Needless to say, we have ridden behind Thomas on many occasions!

 

One of the better selections of offerings within the vast array of Thomas goodies is Lionel's O gauge Thomas themed trains. These pieces operate on traditional three rail O gauge track, permitting hobbyists with existing layouts to host our children's equipment on their own railroads as I have done. I find it amusing to put a long coal train led by a CSX SD70ACe/AC4400CW consist "in the hole" to allow Thomas to pass by with his coaches Annie and Clarabel in tow. Supplementing Lionel's O gauge line, Bachmann offers a very extensive line of superbly detailed Thomas equipment in HO and Tomix offers a rapidly expanding N gauge empire of Thomas items. Whatever your choice of scale, these lines of electric trains represent the next logical step up from the wooden trains seen in Toys R Us and many other train and toy stores.

 

The variety of Lionel's O gauge Thomas equipment is growing at a steady pace. The current selection of items is as follows:

 

6-30039 Thomas & Friends ready to run train set featuring Thomas, Annie

and Clarabel. It includes track, transformer and three figures.

6-18741 Thomas 0-6-0T locomotive

6-18733 Percy 0-4-0T locomotive

6-18734 James 2-6-0 locomotive with tender

6-28883 "Diesel" locomotive based upon Class 08 shunter

6-28900 Iron 'Arry and Iron Bert diesel locomotive two pack

6-30012 Expansion pack containing four freight cars

6-30069 Expansion pack containing three freight cars and one caboose

6-14267 Sir Topham Hatt Automatic Gateman

 

The ready to run set carries a list price of $169.99. The gateman is $79.99 and all other item numbers are priced at $119.99. All locomotives feature smooth running can motors, moving eyes and operating horns or whistles. Body construction is plastic so the pieces are somewhat prone to damage if handled roughly; therefore, adult supervision is recommended when they are being played with. Fortunately, Lionel was well prepared and I have been told an ample inventory of replacement parts is maintained at all times. Funds permitting, my best recommendation is to begin with the ready to run set, particularly for those without an exisiting layout since everything required to be up and running is included in the box. Also, the Annie and Clarabel coaches can be obtained only in this set and they along with Thomas seem to receive top billing in the television series so these three pieces should probably be the first to enter service on your own Thomas railway.

 

This system, or any item Thomas item for that matter, would be an excellent beginning for a budding railfan. If you have a son, daughter, Godchild, nephew, niece, nephew of a friend, niece of a friend, neighbor kid, etc, etc, etc and you would like to share your enthusiasm for trains with them, consider giving the gift of railroading this holiday season. They'll love you for it and you'll feel like a million bucks when you see their reaction. I know I do when my son sees the newest train Santa left for him on Christmas morning.

 

Best regards,

 

Earle

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I want that set SOOOOO badly!!! As you can see, I am a thomas fan myself. If only they had Peter Sam...:)

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It took them long enough! Now if only Marklin made it to the states....:)

 

Man, if Marklin designed the train sets they'd look fairly identical to the models used in the first few seasons of the show, since they originally provided the models :P

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Would be nice to see something other than just Thomas only sets [they need a James, Gordon, etc]. The only thing I see are the harry potter or Polar express starter sets.

 

Speaking of Thomas, I still can't believe they turned the tv show into an all cgi thing. To me the show is always with the actual model engines running, not some lame ass cgi crap ['season 13-15' which seems terrible based on a few eps i saw]. To me the first like 6 seasons are the best [didn't see much of season 7 and 8 so can't comment on those], everything else is meh.

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Would be nice to see something other than just Thomas only sets [they need a James, Gordon, etc]. The only thing I see are the harry potter or Polar express starter sets.

 

Speaking of Thomas, I still can't believe they turned the tv show into an all cgi thing. To me the show is always with the actual model engines running, not some lame ass cgi crap. To me the first like 6 seasons are the best [didn't see much of season 7 and 8 so can't comment on those], everything else is meh.

 

Gordon & James would be my primary purchases.

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Would be nice to see something other than just Thomas only sets [they need a James, Gordon, etc]. The only thing I see are the harry potter or Polar express starter sets.

 

Speaking of Thomas, I still can't believe they turned the tv show into an all cgi thing. To me the show is always with the actual model engines running, not some lame ass cgi crap ['season 13-15' which seems terrible based on a few eps i saw]. To me the first like 6 seasons are the best [didn't see much of season 7 and 8 so can't comment on those], everything else is meh.

 

A James, Gordon, Edward, Duck, Peter Sam, etc. would be awesome!:cool: I am also disappointed with how Thomas has turned out in recent years. Not only should they use real models, they should let someone like Christopher Awdry(The Reverend W.'s son, who also writes Thomas stories) actually write the stories, so they aren't the crap dished out lately. I actually am suprised that little of Christopher's stories are actually used. I love Rev. W. Awdry's books, and seasons 1-6 of the Tv series. Anything past that is garbage in my eyes. It's a real shame.

 

By the way, wouldn't it be awesome if Thomas was a locomotive on the LIRR?

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I'm more a fan of the 'big engines'.

Agreed, I saw one episode and it's like they are totally 'new' as in the characters didn't learn a thing from the previous ones and it's geared for pre-k kids. I get it's a kids show, but even the original few season are still fun to watch when we are much older.

Lol, too many foamers would want to chase after it.. nah, probably best we don't.

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I'm more a fan of the 'big engines'.

Agreed, I saw one episode and it's like they are totally 'new' as in the characters didn't learn a thing from the previous ones and it's geared for pre-k kids. I get it's a kids show, but even the original few season are still fun to watch when we are much older.

Lol, too many foamers would want to chase after it.. nah, probably best we don't.

 

I'm more of a fan of the 'smaller engines', more specifically those that are on Skarloey's line. I completely agree that Thomas should be a show for all ages, not just kindergarteners. I will only watch seasons 1-6 for the rest of my life, because George Carlin and Alec Baldwin at least got that right...

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i remember watching thomas and friends show when i was younger. it was my favorite show. the first few seasons were really cool. i still have a collection of thomas and friends tapes. i used to collect them. for the people who collected the tapes: do you remember at the end of tape, it would have a sing along song. one of my favorites was "island song". remembering this reminds me of my childhood ;)

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Well youtube has pretty much all the episodes [at least the UK version]. I missed a lot of the season 5+ eps. I only know of the first 4 cuz of the shining time station show.

Damn, to have known george carlin was Mr. C/r and known for the 7 dirty words really was a true wtf after all these years.

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do you remember at the end of tape, it would have a sing along song. one of my favorites was "island song". remembering this reminds me of my childhood :)

 

I remember that! My favourite song would have to be "accidents happen". I still have over a dozen thomas tapes and dvds. In fact, while I am typing this, I have "Thomas goes fishing" in the backround. :) (the ringo starr version)

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I'm proud of all my engines. Even the diesels.

 

Why are you following me?:confused:

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Color Red? ;)

 

The main thomas stuff I have are the ertl diecast metal ones. I've got the first 10 Thomas-Douglas. I also have some others like bertie and trevor the tractor. I haven't touched them in years since i moved. I wonder if they are worth anything now? If i can get a good price for them, i'd probably sell them on ebay or something.

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i have lionel's older Thomas set, in G (and labeled for "Shining Time Station") and an extra, stand alone "James" (three guese why he's my favorite)

 

I've also got a large collection of Horby Thomas products. I have Thomas, Gordon, James, Percy, Duck and Diesel; and some compatable non thomas equipment, such as the London, Midland and Scottish 6200 Princess Royal and a British rail class 37 (looks like a deltic, but has a V12 engine) 37-073.

 

The Hornby Thomas models are by far my favorite...to me, they're more realistic. I've only had Thomas and Percy and had them on my living room mantlepiece as static display without any track, but I can't find them. I bought them both in 2006.

 

In the near future I'll get my hands on a Thomas loco once again and buy a pair of Slants from Island Model Works' website, and maybe the HO-scale R17s. The Thomas models are OO scale BUT can run on HO scale track.

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Lol, I was going to say that as my 2nd guess.

 

Very true. I'm in no hurry to sell mine either since they've been sitting around for well over maybe 10+ years now. I am curious to know how much in value they went up though. I think I even have some ertl Batman returns stuff [4 figures and 4 vehicles].

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