This is what happens when you fall asleep on the recliner with PBS running….
…you wake up to Thomas the Tank Engine and find out it’s actually pretty awesome.
No wonder so many small kids are into this modern TV version of some quaint old stories.
I work at an arts and crafts store and our Thomas engines and accessories are quite popular. A few friends’ kids have been heavily into Thomas.
And we have some full sized Thomases trundling about…
In the United States there are seven traveling Thomas engines: one that is a “real” steam locomotive and the other six that are dummies. All were built or rebuilt by the Strasburg Rail Road. The dummy engines usually consist of a steam or diesel locomotive operated as a pusher, with an unpowered Thomas engine at the opposite end. Thomas’s whistle is powered by the train’s compressed air system. Two are narrow gauge, while the other five are standard gauge. While in transit between events, Thomas’ face is covered. Both standard and narrow gauge units are transported from location to location via flatbed truck. Thomas appears in full dress at Day Out With Thomas events hosted by railroads in arrangement with HiT Entertainment. Many of the larger railroad museums and tourist railroads across the United States host Day out with Thomas events periodically. The same trains are also used for the three Canadian events (in BC, Alberta and Ontario). The National Railroad Museum in Green Bay, Wisconsin was the first railroad museum in the United States to host a “Day Out With Thomas” event, unveiling a small Thomas replica in December 1996, in September 2014 a full-scale unpowered replica of Percy has also been built.
The stories began in 1946, Thomas is based on an engine from 1913, the TV series began in 1986, with Ringo Starr as storyteller.
Yeah, THAT Ringo.
After John Lennon turned it down.
The stories are simple, quiet in that Fred Rogers way, full of faerie tale repetition (the kind of wordplay that helps us remember rhymes, poetry and songs), and have Life Lessons of a Positive Nature at their core.
Carry on Thomas and Friends!
This is why PBS and its free educational programming is so important.
Here’s a day with Thomas here in PA…