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The one thing my three year old daughter wanted for her Christmas was a choo choo train, she didn't inform me of this until the week before Christmas. She had played with my friends sons Thomas train set a couple of weeks before and she loved it. I took Lily to see Santa and she told him that she wanted a choo choo train, what was I to do? I couldn't afford to get her anything else, all her presents had been bought and wrapped. I quickly rang Lily's mum and asked her if she had bought her the drum set I originally asked her to get, luckily she hadn't, so I asked her to get her a Thomas train set instead, and write it "from Santa" (the last thing I wanted was her to think Santa didn't get her what she asked for).
==What is it?==
This is a circular track with a platform and a lever on the track so you can stop and start the train when it pulls into the station to drop off its load (note, the train will still be running but unable to move when this lever is pressed). The train is a battery operated plastic Thomas the Tank Engine and fits one AA battery to operate it (this is inserted by unscrewing the screw underneath the train and removing the top of the train. There is a little lever on the train to switch it on or off. The brown plastic track is easy to fit together, the pieces just simply click into place, the track is also compatible with other similar Trackmaster tracks, so you can mix and match. The station is a replica of Elsbridge Station seen in series 1-4 of Thomas and Friends. The station sits at the side of the track, either on the inside or the outside, whichever you prefer. You have to stick the Elsbridge Station sign on to the platform and this just slots in place, also you have to stick the decals on and the instruction leaflet explains exactly where they go.
Lily's mum bought this from Toys R' Us and paid £18.99, which is not too bad really, and I have seen them on amazon.co.uk for £21.99 plus £4.95 delivery. She was going to buy another engine for it but these retail at £11.99 each, which is a bit expensive for one train.
Lily loves this and she was so grateful to Santa for getting her the thing she asked him for (the look on her face was priceless). This is a great starter kit and for under £20 it ensures you're not breaking the bank if your child doesn't play with it much. At first I was surprised she asked for it, but now that she has it and still plays with it, I am tempted to build up her collection, as on its own, the novelty soon wears off (there's only so many times you can send a single train round a track stopping and starting it at the platform, before the boredom kicks in).
This track was actually the first Thomas track that my eldest son ever received and this is a perfect introduction track for any child to the track master range. The track master range if tracks are the ones suitable for the motorised engines in the Thomas sets and that is why we purchased this as we knew our little boy would love to see Thomas move all by himself.
With this set it is very basic and what you receive is 1 track master Thomas engine. This requires 1 AA battery that is not included and you need to lift the top case of Thomas to insert them. This is simple to do and the case fits back on easily and securely meaning they are hidden from little one and Thomas is ready to go. The train is an exact copy of Thomas from the TV show so easily recognisable to little one and it has a crank on the back of the engine which little one slides backwards and forwards to turn Thomas on and off.
The Thomas engine is made of strong durable plastic and we still have it now 3 years later and it shows no signs of wear although he has been in many crashes and accidents cause by 2 of my boys who have given poor Thomas a lot of rough play. Thomas has wheels at the bottom which roll him along the track in the grooves provided to keep him on course but he can also be used off the track. He runs well across both carpet and wooden flooring without any struggle and goes on forever. The batteries last really well we have only had to change them twice in 3 years and he has had a lot of use as I mentioned so this is fantastic.
You also receive 10 pieces of track master track which is also made of plastic and has grooves cut into it to guide the engines across the track. This track set is very simple and to form a whole track can only be put together in 1 oval circuit set. The pieces all have connector pieces on both sides and can be put together very easily and once in place create a flat level track so there are no bumps to stop the engines from moving. These are also very easy to pull apart when you want to dismantle the track and put it away.
Then simply put Thomas on the rails flip his switch and watch him chug round the circuit over and over. There is 1 piece of the track that has a switch on it and this is so once the station is in place you push the switch and this stops Thomas at said track and outside the station. The switch is easy to turn on and off so easy for little hands to do so they can play independently with this set. This apart from the engine is the only interactive part of the set and as the set is so simple you can really tell it is for a starter set rather than a more advanced one.
Finally with the set you receive a station piece this is simply a bit of plastic moulded in the shape of a building. There are no interactive parts and it does just sit at the side of the tracks for show but my son loves it all the same. This also has lasted the test of time 3 years on and my son still uses it now when he sets up his track he puts it at the side along with other accessories he has gained over time.
Over all this is a basic starter set you do not get a lot with it but for the price it is great for a Thomas fan. As the track can be connected to any other track master set it can be expanded as the child gets older and you can also use any track master engine on this track so there are lots of ways to put it to more use.
My son received his when he was 1 although age recommendation is for 3 years plus we found if we set the track up for him there were no small pieces and he absolutely loved it. This was actually one of his best birthday presents and it lasted a good 9 months before we decided to buy him any more accessories as he never seemed to get bored of it.
This set retails at around £18 but I always see it on offer in Tesco and on Amazon and I would suggest shopping round as we picked this up for around £10 and that is a much better price to pay for this starter set.
This beginner set is the perfect introduction to the world of Thomas & Friends TrackMaster. Little engineers can send Thomas chugging around the track and right up to the Station to make special deliveries. Set includes Thomas the Tank Engine motorized engine, station house, 8 pieces of curved track, 1 piece of straight track and 1 piece of stop track.Not suitable for children under 36 months due to small parts Age range: From 3 years. depth: 78 cm width: 50 cm height: 7 cm