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I posted this in another thread last week and got several e-mails about what a good idea it was, requesting a bit more detail about the conversion. . . . 


My two-and-one-half year grandson required about three seconds last holiday season to figure out how to run remote Thomas, after which he was inseparable from the train or the remote for the next week.  With his big sister's help (she loves Thomas, too), he can even put Thomas and Clarabel, etc., back on the track when the inevitable, frequent de-railing events occur.


But neither child really mastered the couplers - all through the holidays last year there were constant interruptions for Daddy or Granddad to "fix the train."  Constant.  On the third morning I got up early and converted Thomas and three cars to ball-type magnetic couplers from Learning Curve wooden Thomas trains.  I literally cut them off some spare wooden train rolling stock and made the coupler mountings shown below.  In order to have sufficient "pull" for the larger O-gauge, I had to augment their magnetic power by placing small neodymium magnets behind the ball magnets to increase their power, as shown below.  They work well and my grandkids already knew how to work them and had no problems.  Far fewer interruptions.



I made a set of seven couplers like that shown below.****  Enough for three cars and one Thomas.  They fit where the originals did, using the original screws, and I have saved the original couplers so I can re-installed them if I ever want to . . . 


This season we will have Thomas - and Percy - around the tree, in a double-rail loop so each kid can have a train.  I will make another seven couplers for Percy. 


***If you do this make this modification, make sure you epoxy or superglue those added magnets in place as I have here: small neodymium magnets are considered a potential infant choking hazard by our government. Although I personally think that is overblown (they are nearly impossible for small fingers to get off even if not glued down and even difficult for me to detached, they hold so firmly) I went ahead and glued them in place.



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Great idea and very nice work.


I have a 2 year old at home who also loves the Thomas trains, especially the wooden ones. I'm in the process of making him some rolling stock and accessories for his layout. If you're interested in doing this mod without sacrificing your other wooden trains, you can get similar (and stronger) magnets to what are used on the wooden Thomas trains online. There are several craft stores online which sell them for a pretty reasonable price.


In doing my research for the builds, the neodymium magnets were said to be very fragile and capable of shattering if dropped. Hopefully something not to worry about in this application, but a word to the wise.

Originally Posted by Silver Lake:
The "choking" hazard is more a matter of fear of swallowing one then another later. The strength of these magnets is enough to tear the walls of a human's intestine wall to attract to the other magnet. Gorey stuff.
Yes in this instance the government is correct in its warning but it is a misnomer.

Yes, and it could happen and that can be nasty.  It's best to be prudent when kids might be around them.  


BTW I have two sets of the banned small-BB magnet sets that our government got so worked up about - I keep them at work.  Terribly distracting toy, just a lot of fun to play with.

Guys, I know it is fashionable to "blame the government" for everything, but in this case I think you have to blame us physicians.  The American Academy of Pediatrics and one of the Gastrointestinal Societies raised the alarm after seeing several such cases.


They also noted that "time was of the essence" in getting treatment after an ingestion.


So, perhaps it was good that our government listened?


If anyone wants a reference, I can supply one.


OGR Publishing, Inc., 1310 Eastside Centre Ct, Suite 6, Mountain Home, AR 72653
800-980-OGRR (6477)

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