While shopping in B &M we came across a number of track master accessories and one of them was this airport set. This is not a full track, but just one piece that clicks into place with any of the track master track pieces you can purchase separately. We paid £8 for our airport piece which I think is very reasonable considering the fun my boys have received from it. There are a number of variations available all based on main landmarks around the island of Sodor.
Once you have your track master train track built up you can choose to put the airport wherever you like. It has the same attachments as all of the track pieces so slides into place in exactly the same way and remains stable the whole time. The airport is basically a moulded piece of plastic with simple detail to make it look like an airport. With signs that let little one know just what it is my son recognised it straight away and was very excited. Then you need to put Jeremy the plane in place. By sliding the stick into a small whole on his body, and then placing this into the small entry at the top of the airport you are ready to go.
The idea is that the train races around the track as it always would, but as it approaches the airport you flip a small switch which stops the engine outside of the airport so the train can make their delivery. Again it does not matter which track master train is used on the set as it is compatible with any of them. When the train comes to a stop the moving wheels set of the mechanism for the plane to turn around magically by itself. As it is on a rod it spins around and around without any obstruction. My children were amazed the plane spun around in circles without them having to touch it. When you want the train to move away from the station simply flip the switch the other way. This releases the engine and in turn the plane will stop circling the airport, and the train is on its way to make the next delivery.
It is a simple piece and for that reason it is not used for large periods of time by my sons. They have so many other track master sets that this seems to only get used for short periods, or until the engines have made a few deliveries. The good part is that it can be used with any track master set as it is compatible with all the track pieces it can be placed anywhere. It only takes seconds to put into place and the same again to remove it so it does not matter how often they want to change it. I find it still gets a lot of use but just for short periods of time and often.
Our only downside is how easily the plane snaps from the airport base. When you first receive the set you have to attach the plane and its stick on to the top of the airport. This means that even with the slightest knock the plane falls off and the stick needs to be reattached to the airport. This is very easy to do and even my five year old can replace the plane back to its original place, but it can be annoying when little one is halfway through a story. The rest of the set is very well made. The airport is made of durable plastic so it can withstand knocks while it is being moved around, and it can also be wiped down very easily. The plane itself is a good size, and modelled perfectly on Jeremy the Jet from the series.
We would recommend this track master piece to any child that enjoys playing with Thomas. You do need to already have a track master set for it to click into place, but even with a simple starter set it is compatible. Having a look online it seems it is a little hard to get hold of now, but it can be found on eBay and we found ours in our local B & M store. It is a very simple piece with limited playability but my boys really seem to love it. It helps make a plain track more exciting and was well received by my children.