Thomas’s ‘boiler-ache’ brings joy for hundreds of families

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A minor problem with the boiler on Thomas the Tank Engine at the

Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway’s <> ‘Days out
with Thomas’ last weekend (22-23 September) meant that the little blue
engine was confined to Winchcombe station and unable to pull the
railway’s seven-coach trains to and from Cheltenham Racecourse.

But he was able to shunt the ‘troublesome trucks’ at Winchcombe and
spent plenty of time in the station, allowing youngsters to get up close
and personal with their railway hero and visit the footplate to see his
fire and controls.

‘Diesel’ and one of the railway’s other steam locomotives handled trains
over the seven miles to Cheltenham.

In fact, delighted volunteer organiser of the event Andy Smith said:
“For safety reasons we decided not to risk letting Thomas pull trains.
But as it turned out, this was one of our best ever ‘Days Out with
Thomas’ events, even though it poured with rain on Sunday.

“What at first seemed to have the makings of a disaster, ended up being
huge success.

“It seems that our visitors were overjoyed at being able to spend so
much time with the engine and every time he came into the platform a
huge crowd gathered as families took pictures of their youngsters next
to Thomas and the Fat Controller.”

One Mum summed up the feelings of many visitors when she told organisers
that you can’t actually see Thomas when you are on a train being pulled
by him, although of course you can hear him chuffing. “Our children
were thrilled at being able to be next to him and visit his footplate
while he was in the station. And seeing him shunting the trucks was
great fun – we took hundreds of pictures!”

Andy Smith added: “Given the fun that families were clearly having, we
are seriously thinking about following the same formula for future
Thomas events.

“It’s certainly an irony that the solution to a problem has ended up a
virtue, potentially becoming an even more successful way forward for the

Thomas and Friends will be visiting the railway again next year on the
22nd / 23rd June and 21st / 22nd September: just one of a host of events
taking place on the railway during 2013.

Source: The Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway

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