Our Family’s Love of Trains

Trains have become a big part of our family life. This is mainly because FunDad is fanatical passionate about trains. It’s been interesting to see how my husband’s love for trains has become something we share as a family (and I love that!). Below are some of the ways we incorporate my husband’s passion into our family life:

  • Watch passing trains at train crossings
  • Look for different types of trains and name them
  • Go on train rides
  • Visit train museums
  • Read train books
  • Play with train toys

{Riding on a steam train at Spring Bluff (near Toowoomba) in Queensland}

Train at Srping Bluff

{Thomas the Tank Engine garden sculpture at Laurel Bank Gardens, Toowoomba}

Thomas the Tank Engine Feature at Laurel Bank Gardens Toowoomba

{Riding on The Valley Rattler, starting from Gympie}

The Valley Rattler -- Gympie

{Turning the train – The Valley Rattler, Gympie}

Turning The Valley Rattler at Gympie

I can already see a strong bond forming between my husband and the children as he shares this passion of his. It’s a special thing, and I know the children will have many wonderful memories from the times spent with their Dad.

Linking Toys to Real Life Experiences

I look for ways to link toys to real life experiences. For example, pulling out the plastic animal figurines after a trip to the zoo and linking my husband’s love for trains with play at home. In this way, I hope our family can connect the dots as we live life, leading to using products for their value, rather than purely for their existence.

{my son riding on a train}

riding on a train

{my son playing with trains}

playing with Thomas the Tank Engine Play Set Trains

Thomas the Tank Engine toys are wonderful for open ended play which allows my son to incorporate his own imagination as he plays. I was fascinated as I watched him play for a few minutes (which is something I don’t do often enough!).

“Thomas runs clickety clack on Trackmastertrack that I click clack.”


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  • Reply
    Mrs Tully
    September 27, 2011 at 9:42 am

    Oh my, my son would love love love this! He’s been obsessed with Thomas for over a year! (Longest obsession ever, considering he’s only 2!) We haven’t had a train experience yet, but hubby was suggesting the other day that one of our holiday experiences should be the Richmond Vale Railway!

  • Reply
    September 27, 2011 at 9:53 am

    Last year we went to a Thomas the Tank Day and saw Thomas and Edward and had a ride on Toby! My girls loved it and my eldest girl loved the fact that we were riding on Toby and that she could stick her head out the window and watch where we were going. Loved every second of it!

  • Reply
    September 27, 2011 at 10:42 am

    Our Thomas obsession runs through (G) Daddy and (O) Son,
    The credit card shudders when their shopping is done,
    Every month we head to Ipswich for the Handmade Expo,
    For a ride on the steam train (“Black Gordon” according to O),
    Each January we make a trip to the Rail Museum,
    To play on the biggest Thomas that we’ve ever seen,
    Our engines go with us, both in home and out,
    Henry and Gordon are favourites, without a doubt,
    Daddy builds tracks, each one better than the last,
    O plays for hours, Thomas trains are a blast!!

  • Reply
    Zoe Shelford
    September 27, 2011 at 11:51 am

    my son is somewhat obsessed with trains. Every blue train he sees is Thomas. We usually take fortnightly trainrides just to see his face light up.

  • Reply
    September 28, 2011 at 7:40 am

    Our love of trains started when we first moved to QLD 8 years ago. My son had to visit the Mater hospital twice a week and we would go by train. At the train station there was a train shop and we would always go after to look at the awesome collection before we went home. Now my youngest (4) is train obsessed and even though my friends find it strange we have been known to catch a train to ‘somewhere’ and back home again just for the thrill of riding in a train.

  • Reply
    September 28, 2011 at 8:42 am

    When my son was born we lived right next to a train line, and so many a night we would stand outside and watch the trains go by (they were quieter than his cries at first, and eventually distracted him). We now spend many a weekend at Mooroduc Railway riding the steam train. And the best treat of all for both mr 3 and Miss 2 is to go for a ride on a train (just one stop) to the park.

  • Reply
    September 28, 2011 at 9:30 am

    My 2 yr old son loves Thomas although we haven’t found a track we could afford to buy him 🙁 he is hoping Santa will being him one and I’m hoping Santa can afford to. It’s so hard on one wage but we r doing out best to hopefully insure Santa delivers his wish. Id also love to take him to see a real Thomas one day but haven’t gotten around to it, I’ve heard of so many great experiences that I would love to see mr 2 face the first time he comes face to face with the real thing

  • Reply
    Janet West
    September 28, 2011 at 9:32 am

    We have had a lot of train adventures but the one that really stcks out was on the V-Line from Melbourne to Ballaratt. Little one was so excited to go on a REALLY FAST train but she fell asleep even before we left Melbourne station. She then slept the entire way to Ballaratt, we put her in the car…drove her to our accomodation and she didn’t move until 8am next morning. When she did wake up, the first thing she asked was “when does the FAST train leave” ? Needless to say, we had to do it all over again and this time she only slept for 1/2 of the way.

  • Reply
    September 28, 2011 at 9:33 am

    We’re lucky where we live is within a 20 minute drive to Puffing Billy. Every year we’re blessed to be able to ride on it free of charge (with 4 kids I’m grateful) thanks to the CFA group we are involved with.
    All of my children, ages 12, 11, 5 & 2 (and myself) sit holding tight with our legs out. The smiles & excitement of the kids leaves me smiling for days after. It’s a night i look forward to each year. It’s made even more special as it’s close to Christmas when we go and quite a few of the residents who live along the line put on their Christmas lights as we’re coming past 🙂

  • Reply
    September 28, 2011 at 9:33 am

    I went with my boyfriend and his family, my dearest friends, to Cairns, where we took a train trip up to Kuranda. The smile on my friends’ sons face was priceless as the train went around all the bends in the track, straight past a roaring waterfall, through the blackest of tunnels. We stopped briefly at a gorge where we watching the water tumbling through the rocks below us. An old train, without air conditioning, on an amazing route up the mountains with spectacular views of Cairns below and surrounded by nature. A beautiful trip that made us smile, especially the young ones!

  • Reply
    lesle Dragomirovic
    September 28, 2011 at 10:10 am

    Back wen i was a child i was taken up the mountains to the huge steam trains i can still remember the smell we even had a turn at shouvelling the coal in..I just remember being amazed at how it all worked and the smell lol oh n they had a lovely licorice shop too we each got a bag of that before leaving has stuck with me for 20 odd years…Now my son is a thomas fenatic i wondered were he got it from until i just wrote this post 🙂

  • Reply
    Cara iliou
    September 28, 2011 at 10:18 am

    I would love this for my son. He has never been on a train as we live in Darwin and the only train we have is the Ghan. But one day I would love to take him on the Ghan and show him how fun riding on trains can be.

  • Reply
    September 28, 2011 at 10:22 am

    We’ve had a few train trips over the years, but just recently (and I mean recently, like last Saturday!!), we were lucky enough to ride the only wood-steam engine left in the world – The North Borneo Railway. We are currently on holidays in Malaysia Borneo, and it wouldn’t be a true family holiday without a ride on the iconic railway. The carriages are in a true Brittish Colonial style, with breakfast and lunch served, while you ride south through some Sabah jungle.

    Both boys had a great time, sitting with heads out the windows, searching for water buffaloes, and even enjoying a bit of the steamy smell of the engine.

    What a great addition to our Borneo Jungle holiday!

  • Reply
    September 28, 2011 at 10:46 am

    Unfortuently our only train trip as a family was an Unhappy one 🙁 The City Rail trains that service the central coast are very family unfriendly, so theres practically no pram access and with 2 kids under 3, thats a massive pain!!! However my daughter does love thomas, and is begging me to give her a baby brother, so she can play with his Trains LOL…. Daddy says Thomas is a boys toy, so we arent allowed to buy any 🙁 but if we won them, that would be a complete other matter 🙂 I also personally think that Hubby has a Vandetta against trains, since he was 8, annd he used to carry a little blue bear EVERYWHERE, but he dropped it on the train tracks and couldnt get it back 🙁 LOL a very longtime grudge 🙂

  • Reply
    September 28, 2011 at 11:43 am

    Hi, have you heard of Wascoe Siding, in the blue mountains NSW there is a track, haven’t been there but my boys would love to go, cheak out this site …

  • Reply
    Nee Say
    September 28, 2011 at 7:25 pm

    Great giveaway! My boys love the steamtrain ride from Swanbank (near Ipswich). It’s a great family outing on a Sunday. They also love the Railway Workshop Museum. We took my youngest to see Thomas there for his second birthday & I’ve never seen him so excited 🙂

  • Reply
    September 29, 2011 at 8:08 am

    2 events just this week…

    1. Thomas broke down while we were on him in the sleet and snow on the Zig Zag railway… Three year old Joe was the most patient because he knew the Fat Controller would help Thomas be “really useful”

    2. Last night I crawled into bed with my little trackmaster after he had a nightmare and he said “Mummy, I love you more than playing trains.” I can’t top that playing trains is his absolute favourite thing… After me!

  • Reply
    September 30, 2011 at 7:37 am

    My boys are Thomas MAD. They would LOVE this. Particularly my autistic son who learned his numbers and colors from the different engines. We found an old engine to play on at Kadina in SA when we were holidaying from NSW once. He spent hours on it. We took the Country Link train to Sydney a few days ago & my son spotted track stickers on the concourse that he recognised. While I was busy looking at timetables, he had discovered a separate room which had some engine displays and had scored himself and his brother a City Rail Thomas safety activity book.

    Most of our teachings on manners and behaviours revolve around not being like Stanley or Diesel 10.

  • Reply
    Susan @ Living Upside Down
    October 2, 2011 at 9:02 pm

    My youngest (now 7) is a train spotter in the making. We have a huge collection of old train magazines (easy to find for bargain prices at 2nd hand bookshops) and an insanely large collection of train books. Seriously. It takes up a third of the kids bookshelf space.

    The annual Steamfest celebration at Maitland is usually held within a week or two of his birthday, so we dutifully head out to Maitland each year as part of his birthday gift. I’ve lost count of the train-related outings we’ve been on.

    I’d love to be able to take him on the Ghan or Indian Pacific one day. He’d be beside himself with excitement. We’ve caught the train to Sydney several times and he spends the entire 2.5 hour trip with his face pressed against the window commenting on every station, set of points, siding and train that passes. I’d also love to stay at Neville Siding next time we visit Orange – they have converted the old station and some carriages into accommodation. I’m sure he’d be too excited to sleep. 🙂

  • Reply
    Heather J
    October 3, 2011 at 10:57 am

    Gorgeous :). Our family (my hubby, me, our two girls aged 3 & 19 months) love taking trips on the Swanbank Steam Train: a ride full of rattly, clackety-clacky, whistly, soot-in-your-hair sensory goodness. Would be such a joy to replicate this in their play time with a train set all their own :).

  • Reply
    October 3, 2011 at 11:18 am

    I used to work for QR and hope to give my young child experiences of catching different types of trains.

  • Reply
    October 3, 2011 at 2:11 pm

    My boys are mad about any and every train,
    It seems its they’re only thing on the brain.
    We live in Cairns and took the Kuranda Scenic Rail
    Anything less would be Mummy’s epic fail.
    Passing thru tunnels and a stunning waterfall
    My little boys had an absolute ball!
    I never hear the end of it,
    Their obsession with trains just wont quit.
    Everyday its “Mummy, lets go on the choo choo”
    Am suspecting their little sister will be train mad too.
    Having Thomas bags, cups, plates, shirts and shorts,
    Trains seem to be their waking thoughts.
    My boys would LOVE to win this set,
    I’d be the best mum- thats a sure bet!

  • Reply
    October 4, 2011 at 1:09 am

    my son wants to go on a train trip,
    where he has lots of toys to play with on the train.
    where he can eat lots of chupa chup,
    where he can eat lots of chocolates.
    Thomas, james and percy should be his fellow passengers,
    he can play with them and have lots of fun.

  • Reply
    October 4, 2011 at 9:05 am

    We are hoping to take our kids on the valley rattler in gympie, being on the sunshine coast it’s not really that far from us!

  • Reply
    Lisa Chapman
    October 5, 2011 at 10:04 am

    I took my 5 year old son to The Workshop Rail Museum on the weekend. We had the best day Seeing all the old trains and getting to sit inside them, Looking at my sons face light up when he seen the huge model railway was awesome. We played in the play ground and then my son played cops and robbers with the other kids. We are looking forward to going and seeing thomas the tank engine soon.

  • Reply
    October 5, 2011 at 11:23 am

    Love the ways you incorporate your husbands passion into family experiences.

    This weekend the train museum at Port Adelaide has free entry as part of The Port Festival. Mummy has a stall at the artist market so I’m ‘hoping’ daddy will take advantage of the free entry and take bub to the train museum for a train ride for special daddy and bub time. We are trying to give our daughter mixed gender toys so that she can experience all kinds of things and a Thomas the Tank Engine train set would be perfect!

  • Reply
    Joyce @ TOT: HOT OR NOT
    October 5, 2011 at 1:13 pm

    We went on a train in Norway through the fjords! It was a wonderfully scenic trip, marred only by giggle-worthy ‘Nordic folk take’ interpretation in the middle of a waterfall. It was like a bad Norska ad and something we still laugh about.

  • Reply
    Kym - Mumma's Mini Me
    October 5, 2011 at 3:54 pm

    Trains are something that children look at in wonder and this goes for both boys ands girls. My eldest daughter loves trains and we have a little talking light up Thomas that fits in her little hand and it provides so much fun for her, lucky Santa knows that girls like trains too. We want to go to a local miniature train ride that I think she will love…just have to schedule in a date with Sparky when he is not working. I think a train ride into the city would be something she would love too…maybe at Christmas to see the big Christmas Tree.

  • Reply
    October 6, 2011 at 11:03 pm

    My almost-2 son has just discovered Thomas, and we’re having so much fun introducing him to the world of Thomas! He likes Thomas, Harold and Bertie… such a boy! I can’t wait to take him on the steam engine an hour from here in a couple of months time.

  • Reply
    Fun for My Thomas Train Fan
    November 2, 2012 at 8:33 am

    […] Drop train set for this year’s Ultimate Trackmaster Search.  Son and I did a similar thing last year and it’s so much fun because it brings a different and creative aspect to familiar play. A year […]

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