A day out with Thomas and Friends on the Watercress line

14th September 2016

Thomas the Tank Engine is probably the most well-known train in the western world. He is unmistakable with his bright smile, blue paint and yellow number 1. For generations children have enjoyed his stories in books and on TV. So just imagine how magical it is for them, and their parents, to see him and his friends from Sodor island up close. Watching them chugging up and down the Watercress line and enjoying a train ride or two with them.

A day out with Thomas on the Watercress line

The Watercress line is a working steam railway, run by dedicated and hardworking volunteers, in Hampshire. It has a number of working trains of many varieties and as well as the daily train journeys runs a number of specials including fine dining, real ale, Peppa pig and Thomas the Tank Engine.

The Thomas day star attraction is a real life working Thomas the tank engine steam train and many other engines decorated as characters from the show (by applying a face to the front of the engine). You can take a short ride with Thomas and also Toad, plus ride on the large steam engine up and down the line.

In addition to the engines there are fairground rides and a playground.

You can meet the Fat Controller

and if that is not enough there is also Eric the Magician to keep the kids and Adults entertained.

A day out with Thomas on the Watercress line: Who is it for?

The whole day is geared towards family fun but especially for young children from 10 downwards. Grandparents and Parents will enjoy the trip down memory lane and the smile of the children’s faces when they see Thomas for the first time. The only thing to bear in mind is that close up Thomas can be very loud, especially when he whistles, and little people can find this a bit scary.

A day out with Thomas on the Watercress line: Who is it not for?

Teenagers may find the whole event a bit childish and find it difficult to join in the fun. Plus, there is no WI-FI and limited 4G signal to keep them occupied on their phones.

A day out with Thomas on the Watercress line: Food

There was a fast food outlet at Ropley and a café serving hot food at Alresford station. If neither appeal both Alton and Alresford have a number of cafes, restaurants and pubs available serving a range of food. We stopped in at Carocoli for a great tasting cup of coffee and pork pie.

A day out with Thomas on the Watercress line: Location and where to stay

The Watercress line runs between Alresford and the mainline station at Alton in Hampshire with regular stops at Ropley and Moorstead. The main hub of the event and Thomas’ location for the day is Ropley and there is plenty of parking if coming by car. You can also park at all the other stations and board the train to Ropley. Alternative, you can catch a train to Alton from Waterloo and join the Watercress line at Alton.

We stayed on site at Ropley at the Watercress lodges and campsite enjoying a weekends camping. They also have some glamping options and railway cottages to rent. The site is very nice with good facilities and has a few shops nearby.

  • Good options for places to stay are Winchester (a short drive from Alresford and Ropley) and Alton at the end of the line.

A day out with Thomas on the Watercress line: Cost

  • An adult ticket costs £18
  • Children aged 2-15 years £12
  • Senior citizens £12.30
  • Family ticket for 2 adults and 2 kids £54 (£13.50 each)

A day out with Thomas on the Watercress line: Overall

A day of with Thomas and Friends is a great fun day out for a family with young kids and train enthusiasts. It is a well run event at the Watercress Line with all the volunteers working very hard so everyone has a good day.

A day out with Thomas on the Watercress line: Useful links and tips

  • The crowds get very busy in the afternoon so get their early to ensure you get a few rides on Thomas.
  • Thomas make appearances across the country so check the official website for details of his busy schedule.
  • Take a picnic or a few snacks to enjoy on the train as you travel between Arleford and Alton.
  • See what else is happening on the Watercress line.
  • Grab some Thomas toys at Ebay

"Happy Travel leads to a Happy Family"

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