Day Out With Thomas


(The Day Out With Thomas is currently at the Strasburg Rail Road outside of Lancaster, PA, through Sunday, September 21. Buy tickets here.)

The Day Out With Thomas events have been a staple at train museums for many years now. The first such event in the United States was back in 1996, and they’ve been going strong ever since. If you have a kid who likes Thomas or is a train fanatic, then you’ve very likely heard of or been to this event.

There are about a half dozen different Thomas engines making the circuit, and I was surprised to learn that they were all built by the Strasburg Rail Road.

Well, Thomas now has a new friend on the rails! The good people at the Strasburg Rail Road decided to expand the fleet, so they designed and built a working Percy engine!



Last weekend, Percy made his national debut at the Strasburg Rail Road. Just like Thomas, he is a “larger-than-life” working locomotive. And just like Thomas, he has moving facial features, talks with Percy’s voice from the show, and even peeps with his signature high-pitched engine whistle that’s all over the Thomas shows.

Check out his arrival here. This was Percy’s first time pulling into a station for children to board. I think he did alright.

At the Strasburg Rail Road for this special event, one ticket allows rides with both Thomas and Percy. The Thomas ride is 22 minutes roundtrip through gorgeous, pastoral Lancaster farmland. The Percy ride is a shorter 12-minute out-and-back ride. When you buy your ticket, you will get assigned a specific time for your Thomas ride. Percy rides are first-come, first-served.


Also included are a variety of other activities: meet-and-greets with Sir Topham Hatt, rides on the Cranky Cars (hand-operated toy trains) and the Pufferbelly miniature steam train, a ride on a Thomas Power Wheels, and 10 train tables set up with gallons upon gallons of toy trains and track to play with.


The Day Out With Thomas: Thrill of the Ride tour will be stopping in more than 40 U.S. cities, but Percy will not be at all events. Be sure to check before making any plans if he’s your priority. Check this schedule for a full listing. As for the Strasburg Rail Road, Thomas will return in November, and the duo will be back in June of 2015.

Even if you’re not the biggest Thomas fan in the world (like me), there’s still something a little thrilling about seeing those full-size, colorful engines. I was impressed.

And the little train-obsessed Roarbot? He was absolutely smitten by them–he couldn’t take his eyes off of the engines. If you’ve got a little one who is similarly taken with trains in general or Thomas and Friends in particular, you certainly won’t want to miss this. Highly recommended.





(Disclosure: We were invited guests to Percy’s “green carpet” arrival and inaugural ride. Many thanks to Sarah Gumina, the Strasburg Railroad, and HiT Entertainment.)

Jamie is a publishing/book nerd who makes a living by wrangling words together into some sense of coherence. He's the founder and owner of The Roarbots and also a contributor to Syfy Wire,, and GeekDad. On top of that, he hosts The Great Big Beautiful Podcast, which celebrates creativity in popular culture, science, and technology by talking to a wide variety of people who contribute to it.

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