The day was warm, but not overly humid so that was a plus. We knew it would be crowded, because it's the height of tourist season and the railroad is a huge attraction even when Thomas isn't there (having Thomas there makes it even more of an attraction), but really it wasn't too bad because they had things laid out well and there was a good flow to the foot traffic.
Our first stop was to the tent they set up that contained all of the Thomas gear you could possibly want. We bought Judith a shirt, a Thomas die cast engine, and some stickers. Next we took a picture with a blowup engine (I think it was Percy...), then walked around to see what else they were offering.
While we were waiting in line, I was able to get a good picture of Thomas returning to the station:
John and I were busy plotting which car we wanted to try to get on. He enjoys riding in the open air cars, and given the heat of the day I was more than ok with riding in the open air car. As soon as they started boarding for our scheduled run, we made a beeline for the last car so we could ride next to the caboose. We had some awesome seats, right next to the exit, and Judith had a view of the inside of the caboose:
The ride was about 22 minutes long, and they only took it halfway down the tracks. It's a nice length, especially for young kids who don't have a long attention span. Judith was absolutely excited to be riding on a real train, and not just the ride trains they have at amusement parks:
We decided not to purchase the combo tickets this year (which would've given us a ride behind one of the steam engines), but in retrospect I wish we had done that. Judith enjoyed herself so much that she would've loved an extra ride!
We got a nice family picture taken while we were on the train, and after disembarking from Thomas, we rode to the end of the yard on a restored trolley. I wanted to try taking Judith for a ride on the hand carts, but by that point she was starting to melt down, so we decided to head back to the car and drive to the Red Caboose Motel to watch Thomas go by.
John and I talked about going back again one of the 2 times Thomas will return to the railroad, but I think we're going to wait until next year and try to go on one of the regular runs sometime in the fall. There are just so many things to do while you're there, and I'm glad that we're still close enough to the railroad that we can take Judith multiple times if we want.