Sydney : Day Out With Thomas at Trainworks

Travel Period : 1 May – 7 May 2014

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Day 4 Sydney Trip

Why Day Out With Thomas? 

I introduced Dar to Thomas and Friends when he was nearly three and it became his first favourite cartoon story, sparking his interest in trains since. He was so crazy about them for about a year plus. He read the storybooks, watched the animated videos and built tracks for his collection of Thomas and Friends.


He had outgrown it since and switched to a love for real trains but it still has something special in his heart. Hence, it was great for us to be able to include this event into our Sydney trip. We told him we were going to visit Thomas in Australia so he specially brought along the toy Thomas, packed in his Thomas and Friends backpack.

Special Trains 

# Locomotive 3642

We walked outside the main museum area and found the other sections set up for “Day out with Thomas” —a special “Thomas and Friends” Theme for the Day.

Walking up a platform, we saw kids gathered at a parked train. We hastened our footsteps to walk there and discovered a steam locomotive, 3642 with a face plastered to its engine. We were not sure which character of Thomas and Friends it was referring to though.

Dar and Vin queued but didn’t need to wait for long because everybody was civil-minded and got down quickly after exploring so others could have a chance. They climbed up onto the cab of the train and was pleased to be able to look at the switches there. The staff let Dar took up the shovel to scoop some coal.

Steam locomotives are fueled by burning combustible material, usually coal, wood or oil, to produce steam in a boiler, which drives the steam engine. 


# The Fat Controller

We met ‘The Fat Controller’ while walking out towards Thomas. Of course, we jumped at the opportunity to take a picture of Dar with him!

The Fat Controller (named Sir Topham Hatt in the USA) is the head of the railway in The Railway Series of books written by the Rev. W. V. Awdry.


# Thomas The Tank Engine

Thomas was the highlight and why we came here for. It was parked at the huge open space beside a kids playground and people could sit on benches or the grass to munch their food.


We queued up and waited patiently to go up to the engine of Thomas. It was not a real engine but a prop but still it was nice to take a look. I would have preferred if they had decorated a real engine to look like Thomas though.

Vin said, if it was like the earlier Locomotive 3642, people would not be able to queue and take photographs since it must be parked on a rail. I nodded…true.

Beside checking out the driver’s compartment, the child was supposed to pull at a rope to make Thomas go “Woooo…..woo!”

Vin wanted to take a picture of us outside the platform and thus didn’t queue with us. He passed the camera back to me while he waited down at the exit. When it was our turn, I was prepared to take a picture of Dar and wanted him to pull the rope but he stood around blankly looking at the switches.

I had to guide him to hold the rope and try to pull but still, he did not get it. I was panicking because I was afraid the long queue behind me would start yelling at me to move on. However, this was a one-time picture for Dar, to be able to stand on Thomas the Tank Engine. I really need a picture to frame this moment. Finally, Vin walked up from the other side and helped me to guide him. I was grateful that the people behind me and the staff was very patient with us. They didn’t hurry us to quickly take a picture.


Back to this, I got my shot happily and headed down to the exit with Dar where we queued again to get a picture with the front of Thomas, his grinning face with Dar.

# Lunch and Surrounding Activities

We had our lunch of some sandwiches and biscuits which we had brought along by sitting on a nearby bench. They were selling some snack food such as sausages but we didn’t try them. Other people were queuing up at an area to take a mini-Thomas ride for little kids. We only had some time before our booked steam train ride so we didn’t have the chance to try that.


# Steam Locomotive Ride

We had booked our steam train ride via online purchase before we arrived in Sydney. As they had pre-assigned seating and limited seats, it is best to get your tickets early to avoid disappointment.

Our train ride at about 1.15pm was almost ready and we headed towards “Sodor Station“. A small mock station outside the Trainworks area. The sun was glaring by this time so we were glad to give Dar the sunglasses we bought at Paddy’s Market to wear.


We got onto our assigned seats and waited until everyone boarded. The steam train then started chugging out smoke and off we went!

“Woo…wooo!!” It sounded out.

This was not our first steam locomotive ride (we rode one in Switzerland) but this covered one has the true vintage feel with the wooden walls, doors and metal grilles in between cars.


The scenery was not much. Just rural lands with trees and structures. There was a breeze and glaring sunlight and after a while, it feels pretty much the same. I guess it’s just the feeling of ‘Donald’ (one of Thomas’ Friends) pulling us along, that felt exciting for the kids.



When we reached the end of the journey, we were told to move towards the connectors and watch Donald the Engine move to the other end of the carriages so ‘he’ could pull us back in the same direction! We were quite excited and waved at him moving past. Dar was so happy to see him.

The last car we were on became the first one now. Vin quickly brought Dar to the back to watch how they connect Donald to the Car we were on.


It was interesting as it switched tracks and came slowly back in to connect. We felt a bump and were soon pulled back the same direction to Sodor Station again.


With that, we ended our exploration of  Trainworks. We caught the cab we booked after some confusion and managed to reach Picton Station in time. From Picton Station, we went to Campbelltown Station. After several hours, we arrived at Circular Quay where we took a ferry to Watsons Bay.

It was truly a Day of Transportation for us!  — Metro, Taxi, Steam Train, Metro, Ferry! We were dead tired when we reached the hotel but still need to pack our bags to check out the next day for Blue Mountains.


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