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Expanding Your Wooden Railway
Wooden Railway is a great open ended play system. It is easy to get started and easy to expand. Young train fans are always looking to expand and we have suggestions below that will help you to do so economically.
The Thomas & Friends characters are a great way to keep your layout fresh and exciting. Children love to recreate the Thomas stories and it develops a whole new dynamic when a new character is added. We are assuming your child already has Thomas, he is the main train on the track. After Thomas, we suggest looking at some of the other core characters like Henry, Gordon, Edward, James, Percy, or Toby. You can’t go wrong with any of these, one or more of them show up in every episode and most train fans over 3 know them by name, color, number, personality, number of wheels, etc….You must be more careful when picking out one of the secondary characters. They each have their own personality and your child may not like them. In addition, some of the diesel characters are plain naughty, and you know where that can lead when children are in their creative mode. When it 's time to pick out a secondary character we recommend asking your child to suggest several of his favorites, then choose from that list.
Many children love to make the loooong train. If you need to bulk up on trains without spending a lot of money take a look at the High Speed Train, the Big Engine, or the Maxim Cars.
When it comes time to expand your wooden track layout we suggest you save money with the Maxim Wooden Track. The track is not identical to the Learning Curve track, but is high quality, has a lifetime guarantee, and they all fit together great. The first tracks to consider, when expanding, are the switch style tracks. Tracks such as Curve Switch, Short Curve Switch, and Switch Track, will allow you to branch off your existing track and allows you great flexibility. We also suggest you bulk up on Straight Track, Long Curves, and Short Curves. Bulking up can also be done, by purchasing one of our Track Only Sets. If you have a turntable or plan on adding several accessories, you will eliminate a lot of frustration by adding Adapter Track to your collection. The m-m adapter and f-f adapters will save you a lot of time and track re-configurations.
The many destinations, bridges, and tunnels available offer a great focal point for fun around the layout. While Learning curve offers well designed and constructed accessories, they can be expensive. We suggest a balanced approach mixing in Maxim product when they offer a comparable product. For instance, our most popular item, the Maxim Train Roundhouse, is an excellent product and considered a great value. Cranes are very popular, but when it come time to expand Cranky the Crane and the Sodor Cargo Crane each by Learning Curve, are the best play values. Some other long time favorites include the Learning Curve Drawbridge Maxim Mountain Tunnel, Maxim Golden Gate Bridge, and Learning Curve Coal Station.
As you expand your wooden railway, it becomes increasingly important to get the toys off the floor. A train table dedicated to your child’s play becomes the focal point for hours of fun without disrupting other household activities. Train activity tables have been designed especially for the wooden railway. Train tables typically have a “lip” around the perimeter to help keep the toys on the table and are sized to make the play surface accessible to young children. Not only can the tables be used for trains, they are a great platform for any construction toy such as Lego’s, Lincoln Logs, etc.
We recommend the solid wood tables from Nilo, Learning Curve, and of course Wooden Railway Adventures. Because the activity table is subjected to continual pushing and pulling, we suggest and carry only tables made of solid materials and substantial fasteners.
If you are ready for advanced empire building continue here.
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All Thomas the Tank Engine photos are courtesy of:
© 2012 Tomy (Learning Curve International, Inc).
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Based on The Railway Series by The Rev W Awdry © 2007 Gullane (Thomas) Limited
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