View Full Version : Do You Recommend the Thomas Take Along Sets?
07-22-2004, 10:20 AM
I posted this question in the Baby Bargains Around the House section, but received no responses, so maybe all the train experts are over here. :)
DS is becoming interested in trains. Although my mom is into getting a wooden railway system, I'm not sure if I am. I don't know if I want to invest that much money or space to trains. Anyway, while in Marshalls today, I saw the Thomas the Train Engine Sodor Mining Take Along set. It looks like it has plastic tracks and die cast metal vehicles. It was $16.99. Based on the Target price, it seems like this is a pretty good deal, but do I want this? Or, should I just buy a small wooden set to try out the whole train thing?
07-23-2004, 02:16 PM
Well, we went ahead and started a collection of Thomas wooden trains. I really don't think it would hurt to buy the Take Along set and see how Justin likes it. If he shows interest in the wooden pieces later, you can always go that route later. BTW, I'm not sure if you have an A.C. Moore near you, but they sell wooden Thomas and you can use their 40% off coupons. Helps bring the price down to an almost decent level!
07-23-2004, 03:54 PM
With 40% off coupons, I wish we had an AC Moore near us. I about died when I looked at a large tub of Brio track, trains and buildings for $600. And the store was marketing it as a deal because buying the pieces individually would have been $995. That just sounds crazy to me.
07-23-2004, 04:00 PM
If you want to see if he is interested in wooden trains at all, Target sells wooden train sets. They are Brio/Thomas compatible, but a fraction of the cost. We got DD a set for Hanukkah and she likes them. A starter set with 5 or 6 cars and a decent amount of track was $15 or $20. I think the Brio/Thomas stuff is better quality, but the Target stuff is not bad. You could always get the Target set and a Thomas car. DD does REALLY enjoy the Thomas engines vs the generic Target engines.
Also, sometimes Michaels stores have Thomas stuff too and you can use their 40% coupons (or competitor coupons). I have noticed that only some of the Michaels stores have them though, not all do.
But if you think that you have ANY desire to get him wooden trains in the future, I wouldn't mess with the plastic track stuff.
07-24-2004, 08:30 PM
My advice would be to pick one or the other, but don't buy both the wooden Thomas stuff and the Take Along Thomas stuff. It will just confuse and upset your kids when they discover that the two systems aren't compatible. That's what happened to us, anyway.
We gave the twins a Thomas wooden track set for their third birthday, plus a few wooden trains and a couple of Take Along Thomas trains. They were extremely upset when they discovered that the Take Along Thomas trains won't fit on the wooden tracks. We ended up putting the Take Along Thomas trains away and buying more wooden trains.
We also gave them a generic Target set (around $20, but on sale for $12) so they would have the extra track. The generic Target track is inexpensive, but it isn't as well made. Learning Curve has a warranty on the Thomas wooden track and trains, so if a piece breaks, they will replace it free of charge. The Target track doesn't have the same warranty as the Thomas track, and it breaks VERY easily (my twins somehow managed to split two pieces of track in half within a week of getting the Target set). Then again, you don't necessarily care as much, because it was cheap to begin with. We just found it a bit frustrating, KWIM?
My kids are almost 4 now, and they LOVE their trains. Seriously, their Thomas wooden trains have been played with more than any other toy we've ever given them! We're giving them another set for their upcoming birthday.
You could always get your child a generic Target set (for the track), a couple of Thomas wooden engines, and a Thomas video. That would be a great way to get started without spending much money, and would give you an idea of whether or not your child likes trains. :)
There are also lots of online sources that sell Thomas wooden trains for less than most brick-and-mortar stores. Ones that come to mind are trainsgalore.com and creativetrains.com.
07-24-2004, 09:41 PM
My nephew has the Take-Along set as well as a set of the wooden trains and he loves both. My SIL says the Take-Along was one of the best purchases they ever made. He doesn't seem to have a problem with the fact that the two sets aren't compatible and they do take it with them when visiting grandma or other road trips because he likes it so much. I looked at one for Alice because she liked playing with the set at his house, but for right now we're just waiting for our Yumster cars :).
Even if your son ends up getting a big set too some day, I think it would be worth it if you think you'd use it away from home.
pamela mom of 3
07-28-2004, 10:10 PM
We have both, wooden and the take-along...the take-along are just that more portable.
Yet the only thing is the tracks don't interchange so that can be an issue.
Also if you have a thrower }( the trains are metal and do a bit more damage than the wooden ones.
So i guess my bottom line? is they are worth a shot, my son does enjoy them also but the wooden line has much better expansion in the long haul ;)
~Pamela Mom Of 3
04-10-2006, 12:15 PM
I think the wooden thomas the train set is the best toy. My friend gave us a few pieces of track and three train cars when he was 18 months. It was fun to watch him learn how to move the cars on the track. Then it was fun to see him figure out how to put the track together, even though the ends did not meet.
For his 2nd birthday we had a Thomas the Train party and he got lots of stuff as gifts from different family members. Now that he is three, it is fun to watch him build complicated tracks and hear the stories he creates of all the trains. I strongly advise against gluing the track because half of the fun is being able to build and figure out how the pieces go together.
We have an insane amount of money in the trains, but it is really the only toy he plays with inside (except playdough and reading books). If I were doing it again, I would be selective about the track and hold off on buying the trains. Many hobby stores that sell Thomas have coupons that you can submit for free trains (actually 2.99 - the cost of shipping). We have received several Thomas the Train characters for the cost of shipping. Spend your money on the track (and it doesn't have to be Thomas, although Thomas really is better track) and fill out the forms for the 2.99 cars. Right now the coupon offers Murdoch, Fergus, George, Toby, and Mavis. If you are new to the Thomas stories, these names won't mean much to you, but they are fun and interesting cars to play with.
Have a great day.
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