Which Train Set and Table?

Updated on July 02, 2008
K.K. asks from Allen, TX
28 answers

We are trying to decide which train table and train set to get for our 2 yo. He is fascinated with trains lately and for his 2nd b-day we have decided to get a train table. He has some Geo trax and a few Thomas trains (he loves both) that have been passed down to him by friends, but before I start a real set for him, I thought I would get your recommendations. I know Thomas is a lot more than Geo Trax, but do you all think the Geo sets will be as enjoyable? It seems like Thomas is everywhere-

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D.K.

answers from Dallas on

I have a Thomas train table that I would like to sell. My kids have had it and played with it, but they are now too old for it. We paid over $200 for it. I would be willing to let it go for half of that. I will also throw in the trains that we have left. Please give me a call if you are interested, I would be willing to meet you or deliver it as well. I also have the entire Thomas the Train book set that I would like to sell. Thanks D. ###-###-####.

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K.O.

answers from Dallas on

I went the geotrax route with my son. We never got to play with it, because it was so BIG. If we'd had an entire room to devote to it, it would have been great. I'd say go the Thomas route.

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D.S.

answers from Dallas on

We started my now three year old on Geo Trax at Christmas. He loves them. I wouldn't get a train table for the Geo Trax unless you don't plan on expanding the set. We have the one large set and some additional track pieces and trains and what we have would not fit on a train table.

Have fun!

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N.R.

answers from Dallas on

My sons have both. It's good either way you go. The Thomas is easier simply because they are smaller. But my boys age 2 and 6 love the geo trax because they can control them with a remote. We had two, almost entire, sets of Thomas trains. The magentic ones and the battery operated ones. I think I prefer Geo Trax, more fun for me to play with them! Hehe.
But seriously you will win whichever set you pick. I ended up keeping the Geo Trax, my husband and I separated and I gave him the Thomas magnetic set, we donated the battery operated ones. One downside on the Thomas battery operated ones is that on some of the trains it was a real pain to open and insert the batteries. Just FYI.

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C.M.

answers from Dallas on

We have both the Imaginarium table and train set and the largest Geo Trax set. My son (now almost 3) likes the wooden set ok, but he just loves the Geo Trax set. The tables for the wood sets are too small to be very creative with your track setup. Also, the elevated wood tracks fall apart easily when bumped into and it's hard for little kids to reach across the table without messing it all up. The Geo Trax set we can set up on the floor and he is able to crawl all over it without knocking it apart because it clicks together. He also loves being able to control the cars with the remote. FYI: not all Michael's stores sell Thomas stuff. The one in N. Plano on 121 & Preston does. They have all the cars and a nice selection of track and accessory sets ... great for birthday gifts too!

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K.S.

answers from Dallas on

FYI - At target there is a train set for about $25 that has wooden tracks, a few trains, cars, wooden people, etc. The bonus is that your Thomas trains will fit on the tracks, but it is cheaper than buying the Thomas wooden tracks. It is on the Thomas aisle in a green box. I think the brand is something Tree.

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C.S.

answers from Dallas on

I have a train table if you need one. My son is five now and has gone onto other things. We used the same table that Barnes and Nobles used - we have two sets - one plastic Thomas that we traveled with and the wooden set - not sure we are ready to sell that just yet.
Be careful though - some of the Thomas/other cars do not inter change into the tracks. Buy same cars designed for the tracks you buy.
Found Toys R us to be the best resource/selection.

Let me know - I am in Waxahachie though. Will send you picture if you like. One side is not good - we glued on his tracks and he didn't like it but top side is good. Color:red/green/yellow. Was getting ready to list on Craig's list. It worked wonderful when he used it.
C.

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M.B.

answers from Dallas on

Geo Trax for sure! They will play with if forever and they can last with the remote controls and sounds for hours at a time!

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B.W.

answers from Dallas on

Have you checked out Brio? That's the one we collected.

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B.H.

answers from Dallas on

We have everything Thomas. The positive about Thomas is (1) You can buy compatable track at a much cheaper price though IKEA. Most other trains will run on the same track, brio and other off brands. The negatives are (1) only the expensive wooden trains work on the wooden tracks. (2) Everything Thomas is expensive.
Walmart has a plastic version that is also battery operated. I would stay away from that because it's cheaply made and with the batteries they offer little imagination and free play. In general you want to stay away from anything battery operated. You curtail free play in general. You want toys that your kid can manipulate and use scenarios they want to play out.
You can buy Thomas at Micheals Craft stores in Southlake when they have 50 or 40% off coupons. You'll eventually need specialty track, which is sold through Thomas pieces.
My boys are 6 and 7 and don't take them out as much as they used to. But that train set was great, my husband even built track with the boys. If you want to email me I have some Thomas stuff you can buy and if your boy stays with it you can continue buying it here and there like we did. B.

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G.F.

answers from Dallas on

I have 4 kids and they all love the Thomas trains. There are so many to choose from and each one has their favorite. The Thomas trains are well made (we buy the little cast iron ones at Target called "Take Alongs"). We bought a generic table at Target. However, the kids never put the trains on the table. They spread them out all of over the floor in the living room or their bedroom and have more fun doing that. It is great to see all of the kids playing together.

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R.I.

answers from Dallas on

I love our geotrax. We bought them for our son when he was two and we have built on it for years. He will be 6 next week and still loves to play with it.

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K.G.

answers from Dallas on

I have two boys one 7 and one 4! I got the thomas table and all of the trains when my oldest was 1, he loved them. They still played with it. We just put it up in the attic yesterday while cleaning and painting the game room, they were so sad. I was like hey its been in here for 7 years you have played with it. It still looked pretty new ( my boys are pretty good about taking care of thier toys too) but it lasted so long and I plan on keeping it and letting them give it to thier little boys when or if they have them! German toys that are wooden last forever! My brother who will be 40 next year still has a wooden train set from when he was little too! Geotrax is nice set but Thomas will last longer better investment!

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H.H.

answers from Dallas on

We bought the Imaginarium Sound City Railway table and train set from Toys R Us for my son's 2nd birthday. We've had it for about 1.5 years and it's still in great shape. He absolutely loves it!!! It's great b/c he can also use Thomas trains and tracks as well. We use Michaels coupons to purchase Thomas stuff since it's so pricey. The Sunday paper usually has a 50 or 40% off coupon....be on the look out. It's a great way to save some money and collect all the Thomas engines at the same time :)

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L.S.

answers from Tyler on

I think you need to figure out if your son is into Thomas or into trains. My son LOVES Thomas. He is all about Thomas. He has the Thomas bed and we go and ride on Thomas when Thomas comes to town. My son also has several of the DVDs and Thomas books. He knows all the characters and talks about the Island of Sodor all of the time. In terms of a train table, I built my own with plywood and just painted the table top a solid green. From 2 - 4, I had the train tracks nailed down so that they would stay secure. He turned 5 this year and he asked me to take the tracks apart so that he could start manipulating the tracks himself - although he is not happy that the bridges won't stay up by themselves.

I think at age 5, he would be more interested in the GeoTrax now - because of the more interaction with them. But he loves Thomas so much that I am glad that he has had Thomas to play with. And, as someone else said - I bought most of it on ebay or at yardsales. Plus, rrgifts.com often has Thomas sales. And of course, you ask for Thomas stuff from other people at Xmas!

Good luck!
L.

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J.J.

answers from Dallas on

My son has the Thomas Wooden set. He LOVES it. We love it because it is simple to use and something his grandmas can continue to buy pieces for him. You can buy a starter set and go from there.

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M.P.

answers from Dallas on

My son had the Geo Trax and really liked them. You can change up the tracks on those and have them go different ways - just like the Thomas set. I think both are enjoyable. Speaking of train tables.....we are selling ours and if you are interested send me an email and I will send you a picture of it. It is a Kidcraft table with the two very large trundles underneath that roll out from either side....holding all the trains, toys, etc. $95.00 - my email is [email protected]____.com

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K.P.

answers from Dallas on

Hi K.. Well, I thought I'd let you know what we did for our 2 yr old and what she happened to like best. We actually bought the Geo Trax big main station set for Christmas last year. It was the $90 set. She loved it. We set it up in our dining room floor. The only problem was that she wanted to push the trains around the track. You can do that with Geo Trax as well as remote control, but since it was on the floor, it was hard to push them around. We started thinking we might have been better off buying a train table instead. She played with the Geo Trax daily and then one day, we were at Toys R Us and game across a huge sale! They had their Imaginarium train table and set of trains (all in one box) on sale for $69. I also had a $10 coupon! So we bought it! It took awhile to put together, but it is her favorite thing she owns. She plays with that train and table every day. It came with over 100 train pieces and wood tracks. We actaully taped the tracks down to the table so she would quit getting frustrated trying to put them back together. It came with one battery operated train that pulls the others around too. Besides the trains, it comes with little people, helicopter, airplain, boat, cars, cranes and stuff too. It also has two huge drawers on both sides for storage. She just loves it. We are about to take the wood train set down and see if we can fit Geo Trax set on the table too. It is too big for the table, but surely we can make a smaller track and fit it on there. Overall, I really think Geo Trax is a fantastic set and you can buy a lot to go with it too. For the age though, he might enjoy the train table so he can be more physical pushing them around and able to stand up to do it instead of laying on the floor. As far as the Thomas set is concerned, it is sooo expensive! You get a whole lot more bang for the buck with the Imagainarium set. Good luck and whatever you decide, he'll love it.

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J.S.

answers from Dallas on

Hi K.,
I just sat down to the computer to put a train table on Craig's list when I read your question! If you're interested in seeing it, let me know ([email protected]____.com). I'm listing it for $65 and it's in really good condition. I have pictures if you're interested. The table can be used with any train track set. It also has drawers underneath for toy storage.

My son was also into trains big time! He loved Thomas a lot, but also was interested in just about every other train. We ended up with several different sets -- Thomas wooden and also the take-along set that was available at Target. We had Imaginarium too (the wooden works with the wooden Thomas trains, and some of the accessories, too). We did not have Geotrax, but a lot of his friends did and he loved those too.

Good luck!

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K.M.

answers from Dallas on

Hi K.:

When my son turned two, he got the Thomas train table and lots of tracks, trains and engines. He loved it for many years.

However, when I wanted to add more tracks, I went to Target and their wooden tracks are the exact same as Thomas tracks - at a much, much better price.

My advise is to not get the Thomas set. Your son won't care that you bought a $400 Thomas table - he just wants the trains! As long as you buy trains that all connect with magnets, you can use all the brands you like. That way, you can save up to buy the big Thomas items, like the Roundhouse!!!

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D.C.

answers from Dallas on

For a 2nd birthday, either set is good -- depends on other factors you want.

Thomas -- Pros: more choices, more interchangeable brands, fit on a train table, easy to take on the road. Cons: More expensive, they want EVERYTHING Thomas, tracks come apart easily.

GeoTrax -- Pros: easy to put together, tracks stay together, remote control is cool. Cons: Large pieces, so doesn't travel well, doesn't really fit on a train table.

If you go the Thomas route, you can get a good used train table (see other posts). If you buy new, I would buy one with the storage bins underneath. If space is a consideration, there is also a fold-up table that slides under the bed -- an excellent idea because the big tables take up a lot of room, plus stuff gets stacked on them that isn't train related. You can also buy tracks, etc that aren't Thomas at IKEA and Target (less than $30 for a complete set) and then add on the Thomas special trains and stuff. Go with the wooden, not the plastic travel set. Also, there are great Thomas movies out there to play along with the toys. Finally, you can go to "Day Out with Thomas" at the Grapevine railroad.

Thomas is also good if you have a lot of friends and relatives who want to give him gifts because you can find stuff EVERYWHERE. Just make sure to emphasize that he has the wooden, not the plastic. Fortunately, Target also now carries the wooden ones, so even the cost conscious can do that. The few travel ones (wrong size) that I got, I turned into decorations by gluing them to a lamp base.

For a two-year old, it can be frustrating that the Thomas tracks don't really stay together. We took away the arches for a while because that was the most frustrating. You can glue or tape the tracks in place, but that ruins it for later building. My best find was a connector called SureTracks that holds them together. Check them out at: http://store.woodenrailwayadventures.com/suretrackclips.html

If you go GeoTrax, you can go to the Mattel Toy Store Outlet over in Ft. Worth and get some for a really good price. Also, be sure to print out the latest coupon at: http://www.mattel.com/matteltoystore/Coupons.asp
The toy store is open W-S from 10-6. Also a great place for Fisher Price, Hot Wheels, Matchbox, Barbie, Dora, Polly Pocket, etc. They have stuff for Batman, Cars, and SpeedRacer right now.
GeoTrax also comes with a DVD on trains that is fun to watch.

I would also recommend a great DVD called "There Goes a Train." It's a guy named Dave that does an excellent series on all kinds of stuff like trains and garbage trucks and, well, everything a boy could love. I think you can get them at Toys R Us. Dave does a good job of explaining things at a kid level without talking down to them and it's palatable for adults to watch, too. I learnt a lot about trains.

To warn you if your two-year old is into trains -- mine started at age 2 and we now have about every type of train known. My son is 7 and we have Thomas, GeoTrax, a Disney monorail, O-gauge, and HO-scale. We have movies about trains, books, T-shirts, etc. We have been to Day Out With Thomas and tons of train shows. It's a bit overwhelming at times, but fun to know that he has such a dedicated interest. When he grows up, he plans to be Santa Claus during the winter and drive a steam train the rest of the year.

Have fun! The train sets can even be addicting to the adults as you try to build more and more elaborate railways that interconnect.

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K.S.

answers from Dallas on

My son (3) has enjoyed Thomas since he turned 2, The best thing about it is that it is not only a toy like the Geo trax. Thomas has movies, t-shirts, bedding, room decor, story books and a whole little world. My son knows all of the characters and thuroughly enjoys them. If you want to start a set, start a Thomas set. If the cost is a problem, check e-bay there is a lot there for Thomas stuff.

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J.G.

answers from Dallas on

I would get the cheapest train table you can find. I believe Target and Walmart both sell them. The wooden tracks are compatiable with all of the wooden Thomas trains. We bought the train table and wooden tracks at tent sale and would gradually purchase Thomas trains. Micheal's sells Thomas trains and you can use the 40% off coupon to purchase them and other accessories. My boys are now 5 and 7 and don't play with it as much but still love their trains and had hours of entertainment with them.

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J.B.

answers from Dallas on

We bought the Imaginarium set at Toys R Us when it was Half price. UNDER $100! It was worth it. THe tracks aren't the greatest, but it comes with trains, cars, helicopter, etc. My son is playing with it right now! You can always add Thomas tracks. It also has nice drawers to store the extra trains that he's not using.
Hope it helps!
J.

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T.S.

answers from Dallas on

My son, who is 5 now, loves his Geo Trax and has had it since he was 2. The Geo Trax can continue to grow and grow. He also has Thomas but some of the tracks do not go with each other. For the money Geo is the way to go in our opinion.

SAHM of one son ~ T.

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A.M.

answers from Dallas on

I have a son who is in love with trains, his 4th b-day is 2 weeks away and we are on our 3rd train bday party. We bought him geo traxs when he was 2, he enjoyed it but, like yopu said Thomas is everywere, he left geo traxs behind,and started on thomas. I thnk you should go with thomas. Retail stores sell the diecast ones that are not that expensive. Target has a good selection. I woulden't suggest getting thr Thomas table though, its about $100 more and the regular ones work just as well. Geo tracks also take up alot more room, so keep that in mind. Hope this is helpful.

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L.G.

answers from Dallas on

Hi K.,
I have a little girl who is fascinated w/ trains and we bought her a train table for her 2nd B-day last Sept. She plays with it every single day, loves it! We decided against the Thomas set because of the expense. I don't know much about the Geo Trax, but the brand we bought was Imaginarium from Toys R Us and it is all wooden with two pull out drawers, one on ea. side for storage. It was actually on sale for around $80, normally around $119 or so. Hope this info. helps you!

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J.Y.

answers from Tyler on

As far as the table goes, we bought plans for one on ebay for like 5.00 and made it ourselves, it is very sturdy, and we know the paint on it is not lead :\ I had the paint matched to Thomas colours and painted it myself, it looks great. I also got the stickers of Thomas to put on the band around the table that are removeable and Jackson has fun moving them around.
As far as trains go, we got a generic train that will run on Thomas tracks, it had a complete set of tracks and trains and some of the bigger things like bridges and water tower etc.... Then we added more Thomas compents etc.... What I like about the Thomas set is we have commeorated his birthday with the Birthday engine and car , and went to the aquariaum and so bought the aquairum cars etc.... When we go someplace we look for a Thomas train that will tie in with what we did to help Jackson remember what we did and where we went. I also have small red bins under the table that we got from one of the Big Box building stores and they are canvas and easy for Jackson to tug around on his own. These hold the tracks , cars, and extra buildings..... All of the tracks and things you buy will not fit on any of the tables all at once but that keeps things interesting. Sometimes we move all of the trains and tracks off the table and use the table for finger painting etc... because we put the dry erase board as the table top base. Jackson loves to do that. Also when you buy a table , look at the size of the lip around the table that will keep the trains and tracks from falling or being pushed off. You want at least an inch or two on there.
Good luck with whatever you decide. Imagination is a great thing for kids to use and any toy that encourages healthy play is a good thing.

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