Fun with Thomas The Tank Engine track designs

Buy large versions of these layouts here:

Growing up I was always a huge $g(Lego) fan, in fact, last year my Dad sent my rather sizable box of Lego’s to pass it on to my children (when they reach an appropriate age). Along the lines of memorable toys, last Christmas, my wife and I bought the kids a $g(Thomas the Tank Engine) train set and table.

Ever since I’ve spend hours staying up late at night designing new track layouts for them to play with. Last night was one of those nights and this morning when my little girl came up to me with a glint in her eye asking “Dad, did you fix the train last night?” I just smiled and said “Let’s go have a look.” Below is last nights track and included are a few other photos of tracks I’ve done over the past twelve months.


It’s funny, when I sat down last night after the kids went to bed all my wife said was “don’t stay up too late”. The bulk of the track is from a Thomas $g(lift and load set) and we also have a classic figure eight set and an expansion pack or two. I tend to experiment with different designs including multiple separate tracks, continuous loops and multi-level bridges among others. Many times the design includes a large simple outer loop that surrounds a more complicated multi-level interior layout. That seems to work well for my two year old who likes to walk circles around the outside track and my four year old who likes the bridges and turns and can more easily reach across the table.

It was my daughter who became interested in Thomas the Train well over a year ago and that passion is still there today. It’s been fun to watch her imagination develop and listen to her dream up new adventures for her favorite engines as she plays with the table.

I’ll admit I never thought about the fun I myself would have with Thomas the Train but my kids reaction the morning after building them a new track sort of brings back that feeling of anticipating Christmas morning when I was a kid.


11 thoughts on “Fun with Thomas The Tank Engine track designs

  1. Hi Steve,
    Cool layouts! I can’t wait to show my kids your pictures when I get home from work tonight. My 2 year-old daughter is totally into Thomas and my 9 year-old son still really enjoys creative track layouts too. (Although his newer ones creep over the edge of the train table and down to the floor or across to nearby furniture) I’ll have to take a picture and send it to you too.

  2. Hi Mick,
    I’m glad you like them. Let me know if you’d like more detailed pictures as these are pretty small and the larger versions show much more. I’d love to see your off-table version!

  3. I finally got to show the pics to Ryan (my 9 year old). He likes picture #2 the best! He likes how they "get stacked up, and then stacked up" 🙂 I’ll see what he comes up with this weekend. I think Santa is going to be bringing him his first Lionel set this year!

  4. Would you mind posting a link for a larger picture of the last train picture.
    Thank you

  5. I do the same with my son’s trains (he is 2). My husband thinks I am nuts. I was never given a train set when I was a kid, despite repeated requests for one, because I am a girl. i enjoy the Thomas show with my son and I’ve been known to look things up on the thomas wiki when I am curious about a new train!
    Your arrangements are wonderful! Most of our track is collected from garage sales, ebay, and a store up the road that has loose track pieces that i purchase a few at a time. I’d really like to know where I can get some more risers to elevate the tracks without buying a set with more track (we have quite a lot). Then I can try to copy some of yours layouts!

  6. Hi Steve,
    Those are great layouts.
    What is the size of the tray of the table that they all fit into.
    I am looking at building my own table for the grandsons for when they come round.
    Thanks, and have a great day.

  7. Hi DjohnB,
    Thanks for the comment. The dimensions of the table are 32"x48"x"16. It’s a really nice size and works well for the Thomas the Train wooden track. One thing you might want to look at is to get an elevated riser section of track and build a small table that could sit atop this table so tracks can be built at different levels. Might be fun!

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