published Thursday, April 25th, 2013

Thomas the Tank Engine ready to roll

IF YOU GO

What: Day Out With Thomas the Tank Engine

When: Next three Saturdays and two Sundays (April 27-28, May 4-5 and May 11). Saturday rides at 9, 10 and 11 a.m., noon, 1:30, 2:30, 3:30, 4:30, 5:30 and 6:30 p.m. Sunday rides at 10 and 11 a.m., noon, 1:30, 2:30, 3:30, 4:30 and 5:30 p.m.

Where: Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum, 4119 Cromwell Road

Admission: $15-$20

Phone: 423-894-8028, 866-468-7630

Website: www.tvrail.com, www.ticketweb.com/dowt

Pardon me, boy, is that Thomas the Tank Engine?

A train almost as popular with area residents as the Chattanooga Choo Choo will be stopping at the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum this Saturday to begin a three-weekend engagement.

Steve Freer, TVRM membership and marketing coordinator, says Day Out With Thomas, a series of rides pulled by the storybook tank engine, is the museum's most popular event each year, with an average crowd of more than 3,500 each day.

"The highlight of Day Out With Thomas is the 25-minute ride on a train led by Thomas the Tank Engine himself," Freer says.

Visitors also will have the opportunity to meet Sir Topham Hatt, the controller of the railway, play with wooden and plastic Thomas & Friends trains, color photos, make an engineers hat, view Thomas videos and hear stories from the Island of Sodor. There also will be a petting zoo, miniature golf, magic shows and blacksmith demonstrations.

Participants should arrive at least one hour before the scheduled train departure to take advantage of all the activities before boarding.

"Day Out With Thomas welcomes children of all ages, but typically the most common Thomas fan is age 2 to 6," Freer says. "As expected, it is geared toward families with fairly young children, but we've found out that many of these Thomas fans become lifetime railroad enthusiasts and return many times to TVRM for various rail trips."

Contact staff writer Karen Nazor Hill at khill@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6396.

about Karen Nazor Hill...

Feature writer Karen Nazor Hill covers fashion, design, home and gardening, pets, entertainment, human interest features and more. She also is an occasional news reporter and the Town Talk columnist. She previously worked for the Catholic newspaper Tennessee Register and was a reporter at the Chattanooga Free Press from 1985 to 1999, when the newspaper merged with the Chattanooga Times. She won a Society of Professional Journalists Golden Press third-place award in feature writing for ...

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