Thomas’s ‘boiler-ache’ brings joy for hundreds of families
By: Robin jones
A minor problem with the boiler on Thomas the Tank Engine at the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway's Days out with Thomas September 22-23 event meant that the little blue engine was confined to Winchcombe station and unable to pull the railway’s seven-coach trains to and from Cheltenham Racecourse.
But he was able to shunt the ‘troublesome trucks’ at Winchcombe and spent plenty of time in the station, allowing youngsters to get up close and personal with their railway hero and visit the footplate to see his fire and controls.
‘Diesel’ and one of the railway’s other steam locomotives handled trains over the seven miles to Cheltenham.
The delighted volunteer organiser of the event Andy Smith said: “For safety reasons we decided not to risk letting Thomas pull trains. But as it turned out, this was one of our best ever Days Out with Thomas events, even though it poured with rain on Sunday.
“What at first seemed to have the makings of a disaster, ended up being a huge success.
“It seems that our visitors were overjoyed at being able to spend so much time with the engine and every time he came into the platform a huge crowd gathered as families took pictures of their youngsters next to Thomas and the Fat Controller.”
One mum summed up the feelings of many visitors when she told organisers that you can’t actually see Thomas when you are on a train being pulled by him, although of course you can hear him chuffing.
“Our children were thrilled at being able to be next to him and visit his footplate while he was in the station. And seeing him shunting the trucks was great fun – we took hundreds of pictures!”
Andy Smith added: “Given the fun that families were clearly having, we are seriously thinking about following the same formula for future Thomas events.
“It’s certainly an irony that the solution to a problem has ended up a virtue, potentially becoming an even more successful way forward for the future!”
Thomas and Friends will be visiting the railway again next year on June 22-23 and September 21-22: just one of a host of events taking place on the railway during 2013.
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