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Getting Started with Wooden Railway



The Wooden Railway is a great open ended play system with many benefits for young children. This getting started guide is designed to help you economically start your railroad empire by mixing the products made by Learning Curve and Maxim Enterprise.

Most children are familiar with the wooden railway through Thomas the Tank Engine. Thomas & Friends, are made by Learning Curve (now owned by RC2). Learning Curve makes a whole range of high quality trains, vehicles, buildings, bridges, and sets. Children love to watch the Thomas Tank shows, then spend hours creating and recreating Thomas adventures.


Also on the market you will find very good compatible products from Maxim Enterprise. Maxim makes a large variety of wooden train tracks, buildings, bridges, and sets. They also have a small selection of trains and vehicles. Maxim products are generally ½ the price of a comparable Learning Curve item.


First Step
Both Maxim and Learning Curve offer sets as an economical way for customers to get started. By bundling the track, trains, and a few accessories they are able to offer significant discounts over buying by the piece.


If you are just interested in testing the waters we suggest one of our Track only Sets. Along with these sets we recommend one of the Maxim trains, and some of the Thomas & Friends Character cars. You can’t miss with any of the core characters such as Thomas, Percy, Henry, Gordon, Edward, James, or Toby.


The small sets are great for younger children, but are limited in their options and play value as the child develops. Many people opt for the mid range Maxim sets such as the Mountain Set or the Bridge Set. We believe these sets are the best value and reach that critical mass needed to keep children engaged. The mid range sets come with trains, but the Thomas fans really appreciate a Learning Curve character train.

Train Tables
Soon after getting started, you will find it would be of great benefit to get the wooden train toys off the floor. Children often become frustrated with construction type toys when in the process of playing they crawl over their handy-work. You become frustrated when you step on Thomas in your bare feet. Activity tables have been designed especially for the wooden railway. Train tables typically have a "lip" around the perimeter to help keep the toy’s 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 these tables for their solid materials and substantial fasteners.


If you are ready to expand your layout 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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Getting Started with Wooden Railway