Aug 15, 2016

When Thomas Pulled Into Central...

It was a little bit special down on Platforms 1 and 2 at Central Station yesterday....

Thomas the Tank Engine himself stopped by for the day so that diehard fans like Preschooler SSG could say hello whilst also learning about train safety as part of Rail Safety Week.

I know almost everyone has a horror story about catching the train in Sydney.  Delays, cancelled trains, overcrowded trains, incidents at train stations...  But Sunday was magical.  Nothing was too much trouble for any of the staff rostered on for the day.  Aside from the big ticket (free and fully booked out weeks ago) events, there were thoughtful things like pram parking, a place to wait with chairs, safety fencing and an endless run of Thomas DVDs.  There was face painting, balloon art and the sheer excitement for the children of having two platforms dedicated to their activities for an entire day.

The first half of our afternoon was dedicated to train safety education.  There were various stations that small groups were lead to so that everyone had a chance to participate safely.

The song and dance safety education session was decorated with wall to wall Thomas soft furnishings.

Preschooler SSG was also dressed to theme with a full complement of Thomas clothing as well as two of his favourite trains.

Then we were able to put into practice what we'd learned at the doors of an empty train.

Preschooler SSG had his moment in the driver's seat as a train driver kindly told him what was what.

And then he got to have a look at Thomas from the inside.

There was no time for lunch, just a packet (or two) of salt and vinegar chips from the endlessly fascinating vending machine.  Each child was given a show bag for attending the education session and I think that train in the photo is Freddie.  It's Preschooler SSG's new favourite and was such a lovely and generous surprise in the show bag.

The second half of our session was a ride on a steam train.

A real, classic steam train complete with comfortable wood framed seats in the carriages.

And real windows that you could open if you felt the need.

It was quite surreal chugging alongside modern day passenger trains.  The children loved the tunnels while I possibly dozed off with the sun in my face and the rhythm of the tracks lulling me asleep.  People waiting at the train stations we passed loved the spectacle too.  I felt a bit famous as they all whipped out their phones for photos as they waved us along.

Preschooler SSG did not want to get off and he did not want to leave the platform.

I finally persuaded him that the train needed a bit of a rest after all that hard work.

It was such a unique and special way for us to spend a perfect winter's afternoon.

It felt like a step back in time as we walked home past the steam train.  Men in overalls hopped on and off the train, an older gentleman looked very Fat Controller like in his black three piece suit and the sounds of the train at the platform were so different to the sleek swooshing, beeps and disembodied voice overs at the other platforms.

Did you go to any Rail Safely Week events this year?  Did you enjoy it as much as the children?

1 comment:

  1. I saw a couple pics of this you share on instagram - it looks like so much fun! I am definitely going to have to pay attention to any Brisbane events next year - toddler T is a huge fan of trains too.


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