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List price: $39.99 (that's 38% off!)
Apart from this the IR switch works great. It makes noice and lights when operated from the remote control or the buttons on top. If you want to save on the batteries, you can operate it by manual control as well.
A good investment if you want to create a more advanced Brio railway system with battery powered trains, etc.
Now, Brio needs to come up with a left turning version of the switch as well.
List price: $16.99 (that's 41% off!)
It appears that the tracks are the same width, they are the same lengths, they are even the same thickness. But the elevation of the Thomas tracks are in fact higher than with this other system. I managed to use the blocks anyway, but the tracks are fairly shaky at the moment and at the apex of the ascent and the start of the descent, the tracks do not align correctly.
Today I will take a block of wood, route out a grove, and cut to the correct height a few replacements. This should improve the situation.
That being said, I have to continue to tell the good part of these tracks. My son Thomas at the moment is 2 years 4 months old. He loves his Thomas the train toys. I sometimes hide it from him for a few weeks at a time so he won't get bored of it so easily. Every few weeks he feels like he gets a new toy since he forgets that he had it. Well, he loves his trains and these new elevation tracks are just great since the add the extra dimension to the tracks. If at some point today I managed to find more of these tracks around town, I'll buy them to add a second level.
Before buying this tracks make sure you can get the blocks that go beneath them
At the moment, we only have 2 Thomas engines which are both battery powered and we have a single Brio engine which is a light and sound toy. I don't typically like Brio trains since the Thomas Trains are of much higher quality. When running the Thomas the Train battery powered engines on this track, entering from the stem of the T, the trains would simply drive straight forward without turning. This means the train goes straight off the table. I would have imagined that they would have tested this.
Also, the turn is so sharp that the battery powered trains can hardly make it, even when pushing manually on the battery powered trains, they tend to slide out of the track.
So my son plays a lot with the Brio train on this track section instead. I'll have to go out and buy James without batteries today I think.
The same engine wash is part of the local toy store's set, which obviously gets tons of wear. It is holding up very well, and is clearly a favorite of the children who sample it at the store.
I would highly recommend this piece to any Thomas enthusiast age 3 and up. I can imagine it may be challenging for a younger toddler to operate it, but it isn't intended for that age anyway.
List price: $34.99 (that's 14% off!)
My only complaint is that the noise can get on your nerves after a while. Of course, since it's in our living room, it seems worse! :) My son can operate this toy very easily, which is a plus. Every one of his friends who comes over just gravitates right to it. The engines are small, however, so I had to make sure he knew not to carry them around so they don't get lost.
I'd recommend this for any Thomas fan over 3.
- Thomas, Percy, and Terrence cars included
- Requires at least a 2-by-2-foot space
List price: $24.99 (that's 20% off!)
First off, I will also agree with many of the opinions - the included instruction page (note: singular) needs some more detail. I also had to resort to the box illustrations for help.
However, I *DID* manage with the instructions. I didn't have any problems with the battery compartment, the tracks fit nicely, and the whole track stayed assembled.
The next challenge was to figure out the motorized routine. After about 10 tries, I finally was able to coordinate the motor's direction, orientation, and the train-cover layout to get it all working.
And me and my son just stared at that toy for ten minutes straight. Whenever the train changed from Thomas to Percy, he would giggle. Same for when the bulldozer activates. He does appreciate the "fragility" of the system by telling everyone to "stand-back" while it runs. I also think a lot of it had to do with me having fun with the toy as well. Since I didn't get (too) frustrated with putting it together, he wasn't afraid or put-off by it either.
Tomy also has an even larger kit that adds-on to this one. I might have to save that for another day....
BOTTOM LINE: Not a typical train-set. Takes some effort to construct *AND* operate. Features 3 popular Thomas characters.
When there is tension on the pull-string (leash), it plays a two-second clip of train noise over and over. It's not very loud, though, since the speaker is on the underside of the train and is aimed straight at the carpet.
The cars wiggle front-to-back, not side-to-side, and the cars are wide, so it doesn't tip over easily. Even when it does tip over, the cars are big and square, so the little guy can fix them on his own.
Even his five-year-old brother loves this one. It's a hit!