Parenting: A Rail adventure
THOMAS and friends prove perfect hosts to young fans
Our Day Out with Thomas dawned surprisingly clear and bright so we decided we’d pack a picnic. We drove to Bo’ness & Kinneil Railway in a state of high excitement. Our three-year-old Meghan had been to the Thomas Day two years previously but her little brother Sam (11 months) and cousin Dylan were yet to have the pleasure of meeting the little blue train.
We’d booked our tickets online knowing how busy it could be and our train was leaving at 2:30pm. However, as there were lots of activities laid on for the day included in the price of our ticket, we arrived at Bo’ness for 11:30am. This was perfect timing for our first event – giving Thomas a drink.
As the Fat Controller (who’s rather thinner than the stories suggest) appeared, the children were encouraged to line up and fill their buckets to give Thomas his drink. Once Thomas had had his fill he chugged back along the line until his next appearance.
Next up was the bouncy chute and merry-go-round which were both perfect for the older two, while Sam was quite happy to watch as they whizzed around on the top deck of the bus waving to him.
As hunger pangs set in we decided it was time to find a spot for our picnic. You could also eat in the Station Buffet but as it was such a nice day we were glad we could sit outside. We found the ideal position at the picnic tables adjacent to the platform – perfect for waving to Diesel and Robert as they chugged past.
We didn’t quite get our timing right for the magic and puppet show after lunch so instead headed for the Imagination Station where Meghan was happy to colour in, Dylan to play with Thomas train sets and Sam to crawl around and attempt to trash all of the above.
As our train ride was imminent we opted to pay a quick visit to the museum before we boarded. How we regretted not discovering this gem earlier. The Museum of Scottish Railways could have entertained Dylan and Meghan for most of the day. Climbing on and off real trains, pressing buttons and even sorting the post on The Royal Mail Train, this is definitely on our list for a return visit. The only thing that got them out was the prospect of their train ride and the face painting and tattoos that awaited them at the other end.
With plastic flags at the ready we boarded for our trip to Birkhill. The journey took 20 minutes which was about right for two three-year-olds who were just beginning to get twitchy. As we alighted at Birkhill they raced up the hill to get their faces painted and their arms tattooed (temporarily, naturally).
Another turn on the merry go round and the bouncy castle, some quick family photographs and we were ready to return on the 4pm train.
As we left the station armed with our free Thomas gift and our Junior Engineer Certificates all the adults agreed that the day had been a huge success. Although there were hundreds of people there, we only queued for about five minutes for any of the activities and it was also brilliant value for money. I wonder if the Rev W Awdry would ever have believed the phenomenon he created?
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Weather for Edinburgh
Wednesday 19 June 2013
Temperature: 9 C to 18 C
Wind Speed: 16 mph
Wind direction: West
Temperature: 12 C to 20 C
Wind Speed: 8 mph
Wind direction: East