ARKVILLE — For two weekends each year, the historic Delaware & Ulster Railroad station transforms into the Knapford Railway Station, home of Thomas the Tank Engine and his friends.
Children and their families lined the station platform, eager to board the train pulled by Thomas. More than 500 were in attendance Sunday for Day Out with Thomas, part of the annual the Steam Team tour, according to organizers.
Complete with a snack caboose, regular coach seating and open-air cars, the train brought visitors on a 25-minute scenic ride through the Catskills.
The fictional locomotive first appeared in The Railway Series, published by British author the Rev. Wilbert Awdry and his son, Christopher, in 1945.
Fans of the beloved children’s story got to pose and take pictures with Sir Topham Hatt, controller of the railway.
Yesenia Redman said her family drove more than two hours from their Manhattan home so her sons, three-year-old Dylan and 10-year-old Darion, could meet Thomas in person.
“My favorite is Percy, and he likes Thomas,” Darion said, pointing to his brother.
Other festivities included performances by Marty the Magician, a bounce house, a hay bale maze and hands-on activities at the Imagination Station. Steam Team staff read stories from the original series, painted faces and played with children at several toy train tables.
Day Out with Thomas will return to the Arkville station from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday, Aug. 16, Saturday, Aug. 17, and Sunday, Aug. 18. Tickets are $20 plus tax for ages 2 and up and are available by calling 866-468-7630 or visiting dayoutwiththomas.com.
For more information, contact the Delaware & Ulster Railroad Station at durr.org or 845-586-3877 or 845-586-2929.
Sarah Eames, staff writer, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 607-441-7213. Follow her @DS_SarahE on Twitter.