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After working the LCCA booth this weekend at Locomotion Weekend here in Pittsburgh, I have no doubt that Thomas is responsible for keeping an interest in trains alive for the young folks.  We had Thomas, Percy and a handful of cars as well as a trolley and LC Scout set.  What drew the kids to the table was Thomas.  When the kids were there Thomas was king for most.  They had fun changing his face as well as trying different cars on him.


Whether you like to believe it or not Thomas is responsible for at least getting the young folks to notice trains to start, it's up to us to help keep them interested.

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I will say what Lionel has done with the LC sets is pretty exciting too.  The remote was a big draw for the kids as well but Thomas got them to the table.


I can say this for the LC set, it ran non stop for 2 days with kids running full speed forward, reverse, and forward again.  The remote was dropped 4 or 5 times to a hard tile floor and the set just kept on running.  I was very impressed.

Marty- Same results here. Percy has been doing hot laps on our layout for weeks. Not a single issue. However, I did turn off the electronic chuff sound. The kids go nuts when they have a chance to run the train. The green machine has travelled the equivalent of Washington DC to Cleveland without a hiccup.


However- is it just NE Ohio kids or do all of them run it in reverse 80% of the time at speeds that would allow time travel if Lionel installed Flux Capacitors????


Last edited by rogerpete
Funny you should say that.  The LC set was running in reverse about 70% of the time.  Thomas we had locked in forward.  I'll post a video later that I shot.  It shows how the layout looked running about 70% of the time. 
The great thing was the kids were having fun.
Originally Posted by rogerpete:

However- is it just NE Ohio kids or do all of them run it in reverse 80% of the time at speeds that would allow time travel if Lionel installed Flux Capacitors????



Last edited by MartyE

I've known this all along Marty, but glad you had a chance to witness it and participate.


Many here complain about the fantasy, make-believe and licensed trains Lionel makes, as if these trains prevent Lionel from making what they want. Yet it is these products: the Thomas line-up, Polar Express, Peanuts and others that are reaching new customers. It make take some time, but this is where someone else's interest in trains will begin.


Too bad Lionel couldn't have gotten the Sponge Bob license. The starter set market is not MTH's strongest point (even though they do make quality sets, for certain).


Some years ago it was very easy to find these neat Sponge Bob figures in bubble gum machines for 50 cents... perfect size. I've incorporated these into some custom made Sponge Bob cars, which always get lots of happy reactions from kids. One of these days, I need to get a digital camera, learn how to use it and do some photos.


There's a vast divide between the sorts of trains commonly talked about here, and the sorts of trains like Thomas, that help grow the hobby, one train set at a time.

Last edited by brianel_k-lineguy

Thomas is cool - at least if you are five years old.  To many kids of that age, Thomas is trains, and vice versa.  I guess later it becauses the Pollar Express, etc., but at age five . . .


Among other things interesting to me about Thomas.  One of our several Thomas's had the mechanism that moves the eyesl back and forth break.  It is amazing how many (all) and how fast (near instantly) kids see that and remark on it!!!

A question for those who have experience with these Thomas sets:

If you were buying one today (for young grandchildren, in my case), would you lean toward getting one of the older sets with the moving eyes on Thomas, or would you go with one of the newer sets without the moving eyes but with LC control and, from what I understand, better sounds?

It seems to me, although the LC control would be great, the moving eyes are a great feature, but I'd like to hear from those who have experience with them.

Although I never got a Lionel Thomas the Tank Engine, Thomas is 100% responsible for my love of trains a model trains today. The older series when I was a kid was made with models, someday along the line, I received a TM Books "I Love Toys Trains" VHS tape and that year I asked Santa to bring me a Santa Fe Super Chief Set.

Many people my age, early 20s, and late teens, owe it to Thomas and Friends for our modeling addictions today. Hopefully, the new format of the show does not push more kids away from it and trains.

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