I’ve shared before my boy’s love of trains and our recent trip to see Thomas the Train. We stop and look at trains, we have 2 basic wooden train sets, we rode on trains many times! Our boy just loves trains!
Thanks to TOMY we were able to their brand new motorized train track a try – the Thomas and Friends Big Loader Track. My kids have played it literally every day since we got it!
This track features Thomas, Percy and Terence in Sodor! There is one motorized car that shifts between all three trains as they go around the track to their job duties. Once you put down the metal guides on the motorized piece and flip the switch on, placing it on the track with the arrow facing Thomas, the track can pretty much run itself.
The motor goes under Thomas and picks up Percy taking him to the coal dispenser, loading it in his train, dropping it down the ramp where it puts it in Terrence’s track to pick up later. Once Percy is back at his spot the motor transfers over to Thomas and off he’s goes!
Thomas backs in to Terence’s portion of the track and the motor shifts to Terence so he can use his scoop (make sure the scoop bucket is inserted in the track!) to load Thomas with the coal from the track. Once it goes up the loading dock, they roll right into Thomas’ train. Once Terence is back in his spot, the motor transfers to Thomas and away he goes down the track to turn around to back into the coal bin where he dumps the load back into the beginning! Once completed, the whole process repeats.
While the track can run itself, there are guides along the track that allow the child to make changes to the track route. Want Percy to pick up and drop off another load? Hold the button until he gets there and he’ll head back for anther load. Did Terence miss a few pieces in his load? Hold the button until he gets there and he’ll head back to load the remaining pieces in his track.
Things to note:
- The coal balls are small. If you have a young child, this will be something to be mindful of. We’re very intentional to make sure the baby is out of the area Incase the balls roll away.
- The arrow on the motor will point toward Thomas when you start the route. The arrow will be backwards when you get to Terrence (and Percy) as it hooks into Terrence’s front to keep it attached.
- The track needs to be on a flat surface, otherwise it’ll trigger the directional pieces and cause the train to switch directions without it being your intent.
- Terence’s Loop. The lift bucket on Terence’s train needs to be in the track rivet and the yellow bucket needs to be flush to the track to work properly. In addition, make sure the yellow piece and brown piece don’t have any friction or it’ll hinder the ability to move. Also make sure that the white throughway is snapped in properly so it can control is lift properly.
Once you navigate the way the track runs and it’s particulars, this is a lot of fun. The track sticks together with ease and stability. Due to the motorized car and the particular placement of some pieces, setting up and resetting if it derails needs some adult assistance the first several times.
Our five year old daughter, can manage it pretty well once we practiced it a few times. The engineering is very clearly done with intentionally to make this work with ease but with that, it comes with a slight learning curve. This is a 3+ toy but that portion can be a little overwhelming for the younger ages.
While the track can feel self-run and moderately underwhelming to adults, kids seem to have a blast with its ability to run itself. Our kids and their friends, enjoy the fact they have control over the cars even on a basic level. As a parent I can see the excitement of that without it being overwhelming.
When I asked the kids what they think of the track, our 3 year old told me how much he loves it! He loves having Percy and Thomas at home and this interactive track! Our 5 year old really enjoys playing with it too! She says that she loves being able to reroute the trains to pick up more pieces or go back for the left behind pieces.
The Thomas and Friends Big Loader track is available on Amazon for $39.99.