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My eldest son is train mad and at four years old he has a lovely wooden train set which all the family keep adding too. I love the fact no one is ever stuck on what to buy him as there is always something to get for his train station. One of my son's favourite pieces is the Bigjigs central station that is certainly a wow factor when it comes to his set. For me I feel it is more than a station it offers a lot of imaginative play to my son and others even on its own.
The station does come in a few pieces but the main piece is the station which measures roughly 41.5cms by 30cms. This is something to take into account for storage. Attached to the side of it via wooden pegs is the station entrance which alone measures roughly 21.5cms by 7cms and stands 12.5cms high. The station entrance has two sets of double swinging red doors which open onto the station platform. The helipad and lift which comes as one is also attached to the side of the station and is roughly 11cms by 9.5cms. It is also the highest part of the whole set measuring 22cms high. These three pieces make up the main station. Altogether the station measures 50cms by 30cms.
The set also comes with four pieces of two way track as the station can be entered from both ends and there are three platforms. There are a few accessories with this set you get four wooden cars, a wooden helicopter and a lovely wooden departure sign. These all make up a fun and wonderful piece to add to most wooden train sets.
*****What the central station has to offer*****
This beautifully wooden made station has lots of things to offer a child. The station has three covered platforms which are covered with clear plastic canopies with some coloured detail on them. The tracks themselves are left plain whilst the platforms are painted light blue and have the platform numbers painted on the ground. This station can have four trains in at a time as there are four lines inside the station.
The entrance to the station as I have mentioned has two red plastic double doors which swing. If your child does have some small figurines you would be able to walk them through the door to stand on the platform. They would have to rather small though as the doors are only 8cms in height. The front of the entrance is nicely painted but leaving it quite plain. The other side of the entrance is a little more decorated as this is inside the station; there is a green clock painted on and a shop front on one side and the ticket office on the other. All this little detail is proof on how well thought out the product is.
The station does have a car ramp to one side of it which gives you entrance to the above and lines to mark out the spaces. The exit from the car park is via the lift which has the helipad painted on the top of it. The lift is a working lift and there is a dial on the side of the tower which winds the lift up via a thin yet strong piece of string.
The sides of the station are beautifully decorated; the back has two tunnels with the track going underneath into the station. The back of it is painted in a lovely red with doors and relevant signs painted on. The side with the car ramp is painted in yellow with a cafe entrance painted on and an advertising poster alongside it. Inside on the wall next to platform four is the entrances to the ladies and gents toilets, the lost property room and the waiting room all of which have been painted on with great detail.
The accessories are also all wooden like the station itself. There are four cars all a different bold colour we have yellow, red, blue and green. They are small cars measuring roughly 6cms in length and fit perfectly into the spaces in the car park. There is also large red wooden helicopter that is a bit bigger than the cars provided and sits nicely on the H on the helipad.
My favourite accessory has to be the wooden departure sign though. It measures roughly 13.5cm by 10.5cms in height and 2 to 4cms in depth. It is made up of seven pieces of wood and thankful was assemble on purchase! Along the top is a green piece with Departures written on it. Below is four rotating pieces of wood which can be rotated by the round red peg on the side. Each one is correspondent to a numbered platform. Each four platforms can be departed to the following places Bristol, Folkestone, Derby and London.
*****My son's opinion*****
My son instantly loved this station and as there aren't really any pieces to put together he could play with it instantly. Adding the helipad and station entrance is a simple task that my son can manage alone. He loves to add the rest of his wooden track around the station and he often makes it the focal point of his track. To begin with he didn't have enough trains to fill the station as you need four but over time he has and now he has more they often queue up to get into the station! The thing he loves most is he can loop his track right round the station coming in one end and exited through the other side. He spends many hours playing with his station and sometimes will even play with it, without any extra track. He enjoys the fact there are interactive pieces like the lift which he found easy enough to move up and down twisting the dial.
I love the fact this station offers lots and gives my son a good chance to use his imagination. As well as using the trains on it he also has the option to use cars on the car park and up and down the lift. So I love to watch the many things my son has on the go at once.
For me I do love the look of the station and the thought that has gone into the detail. I have taken my son too many stations and one in particular was the North Yorkshire Moors railway at Pickering and I feel this station does have a little old feel like that. The colours used on this station are lovely and bright which I like against the contrast of the natural wood of the track. I also love the fact this station does come with a few extra accessories in particular the wooden departure sign. The thing that attracted me to buy this for my son was it was more than the usually stand still stations you can buy for train sets this one was an interactive one too.
It is also compatible with many leading wooden train sets as well as its own. We have a few different makes in my son's set as different people have bought him bits over time. So we have tried it out with KidKraft, Early Learning Centre, Brio, Chad Valley and Tescos and they all fit fine.
My son has owned the Bigjigs central station for a good few months now and it still looks fantastic. It is made from very good quality strong wood and you can tell this just by feeling it and comparing it to other makes of wooden train set pieces. The only little thing I would have to point out is too much pressure on the plastic canopies and they do crack we have found this out thanks to my youngest son who is only two years old! That said it does have a recommended age range of three years old and above.
I purchased this last year from little wooden wonders via Amazon and I think it cost me around the forty pound mark. It is available at many wooden online toy shops too. I am unsure if it is out in the shops I suspect you may be able to find it in those wonderful independent wooden toy shops though. I know many of you will think £40 for a station is steep but it is a wonderful piece that offers so much more. The quality is outstanding in my eyes as are most Bigjigs items.
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