“ Brand: Thomas & Friends / Type: Accessories - Vehicle Wash „
This is one of the most difficult to come by pieces for Wooden Thomas. It is however well worth looking for, as it is definitely a favourite piece for both of my boys ( ages 2 & 5) as well as for any visitors they may have.
The Sodor Scrub and Shine is a wonderful engine wash. The trains drive up the ramp and the child turns the knobs to spin the foam rollers and push the train through. The foam is very solid and while soft enough not to damage a wooden train, it does not seem to be easily torn or damaged itself. My son has had this toy almost 3 years and the foam, like everything else is like new still.
As well as turning the foam rollers the knob also turns the plastic window which is almost half filled with blue liquid. This creates bubbles and makes it appear as if the train is going through soapy water. meanwhile the engine scrub makes washing and drying sounds. Lights at the bottom of the unit will indicate "wash", "rinse", and "dry". When the child is done they push a button which raises a section of track to let the train pass through the car wash type strips. This also makes a bell sound. If using battery trains though, they will get stuck in the car wash until the child pushes the lever to let them through.
This is one of our very favourite pieces and this toy is used on a daily basis. I am not certain if the batteries have ever been changed or not, but I do not think so. The paint is perfect as is everything else on this toy, and it is clearly made to last. It will work with almost all wooden train sets.
The one problem with this toy is that for some reason the manufacturer made both ends of this engine wash female. So unless you want to use this on a branch line with a dead end, you must buy a set of adaptor tracks, which at the moment are only £3 from Amazon. It is not a major issue, and not enough to warrant deducting a star, but I do think it was a mistake in design.
I bought our car wash from ebay USA with some other Wooden Thomas Toys and got a remarkable price including shipping. I paid under £ 40, for this, the level crossing and a wooden train from the Thomas range, all brand new but with damaged boxes. They are also available from Central station Toys in Australia, but I would expect shipping to be very dear, leaving ebay USA as likely the best option.