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Ages 1 -10
This is another piece we bought because we were basically trying to duplicate a set up my son loved at a local toy shop. Unfortunately, not only was the set out of ourprice range, it did not include all the extra pieces such as this anyway. We love wooden trains anyway, but I noticed there were always children waiting to play with the one set up in the shop, and I think it was because it had so many extras like this.
The piece itself is just a wooden base with built in section of track and a plastic coal bin on top. You wind the handle and the loader part moves back and forth and makes a rumbling noise. It just gives the children something else to play with when driving the trains about. They like to stop the trains to fill up with water and fuel. My oldest of course knows that coal is the trains power source, or food. The youngest just likes the noise I think. It is sturdy and well made and has lasted for years despite the youngest throwing it off the table a few times and trailing it about with his trains.
As I have already confessed more or less to playing with the trains myself, my own thoughts are it adds to the appearance of the whole layout, but not much interst for an adult to play with, LOL. Still the boys enjoy it and I do thik extra bits and accesories really add to the play value of a train set.
There is no paint on this piece and it was not included in the recalls a few years back, so there is no worry at all for safety. This piece will attach to Wooden Thomas, ELC, Brio, Asda, Tesco or Ikea tracks as well as most other wooden train sets. The track has the lines or railroad ties etched in which are characteristic of the Wooden Thomas range.
As a side note, by shopping for bargains and buying alot of bits second hand, we were able to build a very large layout with many accessories for far less than buying a packaged set. I'd really reccomend buying bits and pieces and creating your own layout if you can. We even built our own train table from an old door painted up. It works brilliantly and is large enough to use all the extra bits.