Thursday, June 3, 2010

Trains, Trains, and More Trains

My son George has always been a train enthusiast.

He sleeps, eats and dreams trains.

The purchase of his first train set was the introduction to an obsession. We have totes and totes of wooden tracks, blue tracks, gray tracks and Geotrax. And he's good at it too. He doesn't stick to simple figure eight tracks or layouts that just fit on the train table, he sits on the floor, he thinks, he envisions, he designs and he creates. I have never seen him build the same track twice and it's never something I could come up with. His tracks contain, loops, bridges, intricate turns, intersections and multiple levels.

And it's not just Thomas trains, it's Geotrax trains, its  all trains in general, trains stores, trains clubs and even train books. Everything trains.And he knows all the parts to the trains, by name and what they do, he even teaches me a lesson now and then. We can take him to ride the River Line, The Septa or the PATCO and he loves it but it's all the same.

But his favorite by far is still the Strasburg Railroad. When that large steam engine pulls into the station and blows it's whistle his face lights up like its Christmas morning every single time. The Strasburg Railroad is located in Lancaster which takes you on a nice drive through Amish country and it's definitely worth the ride. My kids love to go and ride the steam engine, it takes you on a 45 minute ride through rolling farm hills and country side. You can ride in the closed car or open car. My son's favorite part is at midpoint in the ride when the train changes directions via the switching engine.

You can watch the engine that was pulling the train at one end, switch to the opposite ends. Don't let the journey stop with the train ride. Hop across the street to The Railroad of Pennsylvania Museum. We didn't even know about this museum until our 3rd trip to the railroad and it's definitely worth the visit. Take a tour through the museums 100 locomotives and rail cars on display, most of which you can board and experience first hand.

The museum even includes an interactive children's corner.

Your train enthusiast can play engineer, loading coal into the train.

 The Strasburg Railroad is probably most famous for it's Day out with Thomas event it hosts a couple of times a year.The famous blue engine will be making it's appearance at the Strasburg Railroad the week of of June 12th through the 20th.

I don't know if it's the train ride or the fact that I'm fueled by my son's excitement and interest in trains, but we always have a great time when we go. At $18 a ticket for adults and children over the age of 2, you get to ride the coach pulled by Thomas, meet Sir Topham Hat and take a 20 minute train ride.
Want a money saving idea? Have your kids watch as Thomas rides into the station and then board the train pulled by Strasburg's own locomotive. This ride is double the time and costs less, children 3 and under are free, ages,3-11 are $7 and ages 13+ are $14. Not bad, they won't even know the difference, they'll have just as much fun and you just saved money for snacks or a souvenir, which beware, especially on Thomas the Train event days, there are plenty.


If your child loves trains and refers to the trains as if they were his friends, like mine does, this is going to be a journey he will never forget.

After all, George's first word was train.

Okay.....well, it should have been.

The Strasburg Railroad has some great events happening in July. Check out their website for more information.


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