Thomas coming to Elgin County Railway Museum
World-famous star of children's TV shows and literature will be in St. Thomas for six days
Thursday January 06, 2005
Thomas the Tank Engine (photo)
By Sean Maraj
Thomas the Tank Engine will finally be huffing and puffing his way to the Railway Capital of Canada.
In an announcement made Wednesday, the favourite railway engine of thousands of children throughout the world, and the star of several children shows and hundreds of books, Thomas the Tank Engine, will be making a rare stop this summer at the Elgin County Railway Museum.
“We are bringing Thomas the Tank to St. Thomas for six days and it will be called “A day out with Thomas,” explained John Neal, one of the key organizers for the event. “Included with the train rides will be storytelling, media events, kids colouring contests and ... entertainment. We expect to draw in the neighbourhood of 20,000 to 30,000 people.”
From July 22 to 24 and July 29 to 31, visitors will be able to take rides on the world-famous engine from the museum to the trestle over Fingal Line, as well as enjoy a children’s play centre, arts, crafts and live entertainment.
Children will also be able to mail letters to Thomas and have their pictures taken with Sir Topham Hatt, the controller of Thomas’s railway. This visit to St. Thomas marks only the second time Thomas has made the trip to Canada -- previously the train visited the West Coast Heritage Railway in Squamish, BC.
Neal pointed out, for the children attending, the event will be a rare opportunity to have their imaginations and childhood dreams come to reality and will be an occasion they will likely never forget.
“Thomas has never been to this part of Canada. It’s a first for us,” he said. “A lot of young kids watch Thomas regularly on TV and they love the guy. This will be a chance to see a Thomas replica up close and they’ll be able to take their pictures beside it.”
Although Thomas’s visit is still several months away, Neal said the excitement is already building. He believed this visit would be a boon not only for the museum, but also St. Thomas and could be the biggest railway event to hit the city in more than a hundred years.
“It will bring a lot of attention to the museum and to St. Thomas,” he said. “In my opinion this is the biggest railroad event since Jumbo the elephant met his unfortunate demise (1885) -- this is a much happier event.”
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