|Thomas the Tank Coming to Southern Nevada in April|
LAS VEGAS — When Thomas the Tank Engine, the animated character loved by children from around the world, visits Boulder City in April, he will have friends. For the first time ever in Nevada, the full-size famous television star and his featured event, “Day out with Thomas” will roll into town to ride the rails at the Nevada State Railroad Museum April 14, 15, 21 and 22, thanks to years of effort by the Friends of the Nevada Southern Railway.
“We have a dedicated core of volunteers that give of their time, not to mention gas money,” said Friends President Chuck Brandt who leads the group. “It's a 60-mile round trip for me, five or six days per week until Thomas is over. We are so fortunate to have four miles of ‘real’ railroad to run on.” Brandt said the train ride with Thomas is what brings the people in and then it gives them a chance to learn about the museum, the displays and how Nevada’s railroads contributed to the state’s history.
Passengers who board the 25-minute train excursion get to enjoy the ride and a glimpse of railroad life as well. They’ll meet Sir Topham Hatt, Thomas’s friend from the fictional Island of Sodor. Later, they can join the storytelling, watch Thomas and Friends videos, get temporary tattoos, enjoy the entertainment, live music and games, and visit the gift shop.
While Thomas’ friends have the star power of Alec Baldwin, Ringo Starr and others who have been guest storytellers on his show, the Boulder City “Friends” group quietly keeps things moving with private volunteers who do not get much limelight but love the history and happiness of Nevada railway heritage.
“It is so much more than a train ride,” Brandt said. “It is a great way for families to get together, share the experiences and make some great memories with the kids and grandkids.”
The Day Out with Thomas program has operated for nearly two decades on tourist railways and at railroad museums worldwide. The excitement and draw after nearly 20 years has not diminished. Bringing the experience to Boulder City was a dream and big commitment of time and energy for the people who support the museum and railroad day-in and day-out.
“The Friends group has worked so hard to bring such a fun event to Nevada. We are incredibly grateful to them for the support they give us and the time they invest in keeping the rail stories alive,” said Peter Barton, administrator of the Nevada Division of Museums and History. “They really are quite wonderful. With this fundraiser, they will support the Nevada State Railroad Museum and the railway too, in so many ways for years to come.”
Thomas the Tank Engine trains will run every 45 minutes from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. April 14, 15 and 21, and from 9 to 4 on Sunday, April 22. The Nevada Southern Railway depot is at 600 Yucca St. in Boulder City. Free shuttle buses will make parking easy. For tickets go to www.ticketweb.com/dowt or (866) 468-7630. Tickets are also available from the museum ticket office on Saturdays and Sundays from 9:30 to 2:30. Trains depart on time, and guests are encouraged to arrive one hour early. Visit the Nevada State Railroad Museum in Boulder City, the Friends of the Nevada Southern Railway and Day Out With Thomas on the web.