To explain yesterday, I need to take you back a four years. My younger boy found himself wrapped in Thomas the Tank Engine. Over the previous years, we had obtained, either used or new, perhaps every tape that the Britt Alsop people were turning out… and had a fairly large collection of the wooden trains and track, along with a kid-sized table to play with them on. Some… indeed a good portion of these were originally purchased for my older boy who had since given them up. My hind brain objected to the money involved… which was substantial… But it was the first thing he’d really shown a particular interest in.

So when we heard there was a touring company that was making an appearance the next Saturday about two hours out of Rochester, in Owego, NY, we resolved to go as soon as we got some business that had been pre-scheduled here in Rochester, tied up.

Well Saturday came, and the business in Rochester took longer than we’d planned. We hit the highway like a gale… but we got there just in time to see the last train of the day pulling out. My older boy even managed to get this shot out the driver’s side rear window of the van, as it pulled off.

Thomas, doing his thing.Posted by Hello

No, this isn’t a trick shot. No, I didn’t add Thomas in, and no, this is not a vid cap. The rail cars are real, full-sized and so are the people.

Anyway, my younger boy as you can imagine was disappointed. Frankly, so was I, after the effort of getting down there in a huge haul-ass hurry. We shrugged our shoulders, took the boys to their favorite restaurant and then did some railfanning along the Southernteir line before coming back home. Things were back to normal, more or less by the time we got home, and the trip at least wasn’t a total loss.

When we got home, a look at the Thomas website revealed that the touring company was playing at The Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad which is a pretty little tourist line just south of Cleveland, Ohio. (Where, in looking just now, I note they’re playing this coming weekend, too.)

We drove down the following weekend, making an entire weekend out of the affair. The trip and the visit with Thomas went fine, though a little pricey. We managed to get in a few photo sessions with the CSX mainlines along I-90 in the area, too, which was really nice. And, call me crazy, but there’s something about northeastern Ohio I just LIKE… for reasons I can’t really explain, here.

OK, all that was a couple years ago. About a week ago, my Mom called and said she wanted to take Alex (and the rest of us) on a day out with Thomas which was being held in nearby Medina, NY, at the Falls Road Railroad, and the Medina Railroad Museum. It’s about halfway between Rochester Niagara Falls on SR31. “Great”, said we, and set about getting things together for the day out. Once we got there, of course, the day of the event, the tickets had been sold out.

Well, OK… I guess…. Alex was a bit disappointed, but wellll… there’s lots of other stuff to hold his attention.

We went in and checked out the huge HO scale model layout. And I do mean this thing is BIG. The freight house that the Medina Chapter of the National Railway Historical society has taken over in Medina is the largest freight house ever built by the New York Central, (over 300 feet long!) and the layout of the model currently takes upwards of about 200 feet of it.
layout31020.jpg One train they had running during the show on this complex layout was 97 cars long… and was pulled by an A-B-B-A set of what looked like F3’s. The cars were all period correct to the F’s, too… Add the caboose… also period and line correct, and you have 408 axles on an old-style merchandiser. (ouch!)

The place also has one of the largest collections of largest collection of artifacts and memorabilia known to exist under one roof.

The building is 100 years old come this August. I suggest checking their site for party info.

An amazing day… one Alex wasn’t interested in leaving as soon as we did. We didn’t get there in time to beat the crowd to the tickets.  Ah, whatever; we’ll be back.. Not to worry.

If you’re in Northeastern Ohio you may want to check out the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad site… they’ve got a Thomas event this weekend. Last I knew, they’d planned real steam power for the weekend. Get your tickets early, though. They go fast.