Thomas the Train!

Updated on October 03, 2007
M.H. asks from Springfield, VA
10 answers

My son LOVES thomas and we are going to start buying now for Christmas. We want to get him the characters, track etc... There are a bunch of options and I was wondering what your experiences are. There are the diecast characters and tracks, the wooden, the wooden battery power and the remote control. Of course, none of them work with the other! Once you pick one, you are committed!
We are leaning towards the die cast sets because they look like they would "take a beating" a bit more than the wooden (and some of them are on clearance at Wal-mart right now). We were leaning away from the battery power because there is a lot more room for problems and breakage.
Any other Thomas fans out there? What are the pros and cons to what you have?? Even the videos are confusing because there are so many different narrators and it is hard to tell what you are going to get when you go to buy one!

Any help would be wonderful! Thanks!

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So What Happened?

Thank you all so much for your experiences. I am very excited about this Christmas! I think I am going to go with the diecast toys and take along stuff. I don't want to live in fear of the stuff getting wet and/or breaking! The paint coming off the wooden toys is really scary with all the lead stuff going on now! Don't assume that it is only China, it is only China that has been caught so far!

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answers from Jacksonville on

Like everyone else, the wooden train and tracks. My 21 month old son, Stephen, is just now starting to get into them. But my brother has a set but wouldn't pass it down to my son. My brother is almost 10 years old, so I know he doesn't really play with it anymore but won't give it up either.
The electric will only give out after a while.

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answers from Sarasota on

My boys are also major Thomas fans. We have the Take-Along Thomas stuff from Target. The tracks are kind of cheap, but the trains have lasted through 2 boys (currently aged 5 and almost 3) and all their rough play. The benefit is that there's a carrying case for the trains and tracks and they are able to take them to Grandma's house, hotels, etc. when needed. And you're definitely right about the lack of crossover options. My boys also have a wooden set at their grandparents house. Neither trains work well on either's tracks. But I also find they prefer playing with them in long, connected chains on the tile more than on the tracks anyway. The magnets are their favorite part I think! Anyway, they had 2 of the wooden trains that were recalled, but I've seen lots of plastic and metal toys being recalled for the lead paint as well so that may not be an issue. Only other thing I can think of is chewing. My youngest is still a toy chewer. He's constantly gnawing on some toy absentmindedly. That's not good with wooden toys, for obvious reasons. So if you have a chewer, that may be a consideration. Not sure if that helps too much, but that's our experience! Good luck!



answers from Sarasota on

Hi M.. My 3 1/2 year old has loved Thamas for quite some time. We have the train table, wooden trains, die cast trains, and the electric trains. He plays with them all. His favorite seems to be the electric trains with the blue plastic track. My 3 year old nephew also loves the electric ones. We have had no trouble with breakage. As a matter of fact, my nephew dropped his in the pool and it still works!!! You can get a ton of the movies on vhs at the goodwill on 41 and Myrtle for cheap. You can see what he likes then get the DVD. He will probably like anything Thomas that you get!!



answers from Sarasota on

My son is into Thomas big time! We started out with the wooden characters and track and they are still holding up after 3 years of his rough play-just don't get them wet. The Thomas "Take alongs" are those die cast ones that I see at Walmart (which we also have) that are on sale, but they are mini characters, not to say that they are bad, but they only fit on their plastic track. (as you have figured out) If I could do it over, I would do the take along ones for they are more available at stores like Walmart, Target and even Bealls. The wooden system is available through specialty stores and Thomas catalogs. You can get on their websit www.thomasandfriends or to compare prices. The take along characters hold up very well too!



answers from Pensacola on

Hi,my boys are older now 11 and 8, but we had, and still have, the wooden tracks and trains. They have held up great and out of all the toys they have had, these I am plannning on keeping for their kids. My 8 yr old actually still builds tracks occasionally.



answers from Pensacola on

My 3 1/2 year old loves these toys also. He has the wooden train tracks and wooden trains. The tracks are very sturdy and the trains have held up very well with one exception.... don't let them go outside :) The paint will start coming off the trains. Also, we tried getting him the battery operated trains and he kept trying to push them faster and eventually they broke.
Best of luck!



answers from Jacksonville on

Hi M.
Welcome to the wonderful world of Thomas! I have an almost 3 year old son who loves him and all his friends. We have been using the motorized (battery operated) ones with the blue track. Primarily because my son loves to watch them go around the track and is fascinated with figuring out how they work. My only complaint about them (and this may have more to do with my son than the actual toy) is that he has figured out how to take of the lids to remove the batteries in some of the trains. Some trains require a screwdriver to get to the battery but some don't.

We have taken the trains and tracks on several trips to see family and they have always come in handy. I have been able to find new and like new accessories (bridges, tunnels, r/r crossings, etc) on ebay and craigslist. I have also found some of the engines for less than walmart price at big lots, marshalls, and ross. You just have to be willing to look.

One last note, I recently noticed that they have come out with a new line called Trackmaster, I think. The only difference seems to be the track, which is a plastic brown one, not blue. The engines will work on the blue tracks because I recently bought one and all we have are the blue tracks.

Good luck and have fun!


answers from Ocala on

Be careful with the Wooden Thomas and Friends.

From the, U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission there was a Toy Recall a few months ago about the wooden thomas and friends.

RC2 Corp. Recalls Various Thomas & Friends™ Wooden Railway Toys Due to Lead Poisoning Hazard.

Go to this WEB SITE to read more about it.

I have 3 kids and they love Thomas and Friends.
We only have the Battery Powered Trains because they are made in




answers from Sarasota on

We have had it all and choose to focus on teh die cast vehicles. They have them in more stores. I can only find the wooden ones at toys r us and learning express (toys store at Ellenton OUtlet mall). My son likes to play with the electric/plastic ones and use the track but for the die cast he has a plastic mat that he likes to use. We picked it up at target and it stores away nicely. Also Target has exclusive thomas die cast items, we jsut picked up a few trains for xmas that I had not seen at any other stores.

If you choose to go with the wooden you can buy other brands, (brio and toys r us) and they are all interchagable. But VERY VERY VERY costly.



answers from Sarasota on

My son (who is turning 4 in November) has been a huge Thomas fanatic for over a year now. We have both the battery operated trains, the wooden ones and the die-cast trains. We prefer the die-cast. Even after replacing the batteries, the electric trains don't seem to work as well as they did when they were first purchased. With the die-cast trains, they are VERY portable (and quiet!) and have the take-along sets (we have a couple of them) that you can put several trains & cars in and some of the track - perfect for keeping your little one occupied quietly! Luckily, we didn't have any of the wooden trains that were recalled. The paint wears off of the wooden ones very easily and my son has gotten a splinter or two from building the track.

If you have any questions, feel free to contact me! It's a big choice, it can get expensive since they don't all go together.

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