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Thomas the Tank Engine Trackmaster Railway Train Layout Ideas

Updated on January 20, 2017

Thomas Train Set

My son loves trains and loves Thomas the Tank Engine. So, this past Christmas I made the decision to purchase him a Thomas the Tank Engine train set. My older children are girls and they never had an interest in trains, so this was unfamiliar territory for me. I didn't even know where to start.

For some reason purchasing my son's first train set felt like a big thing to me. Kind of like his first step, first tooth, first date. I don't know why. That is just how I felt about it. It wasn't like a regular toy either that you just went out to the store and bought. With trains, there are different sets to chose from all with different features. To be quite honest, in the back of my mind I was thinking, "Do I really want to even start this?" Because a train set is one of those toys that can easily get out of control since there is so much you can add to your set and numerous accessories as well. And, as soon as you do all that and buy all the must have accessories, the child moves onto another favorite hobby. Been there, done that.

That being said, I knew I had to do some research before I made the purchase. So, I hit the Internet on a quest for information. I wanted to be knowledgeable on the subject before I made the purchase.

Thomas the Tank Engine

Which train set to purchase?

My online research revealed that there are three main Thomas the Tank Engine train systems- The Wooden Railway, Trackmaster Railway and Take-Along Railway System.

The wooden railway system was quickly removed as a choice. This was primarily due to price. It is the most expensive of the Thomas railways. And, for a three year old who may change his interests at any time, I couldn't see spending the big bucks for the wooden railway system.

So, I was left with the Trackmaster Railway and the Take-Along System. I then ventured out the stores to see what they had and to take a closer look at the sets. I was disappointed to find that Toys R' Us only carried the Wooden and Take- Along sets and not the Trackmaster. And, Walmart had even less of a selection.

Anyway, at Toys R' Us I looked at the Take-Along sets. On a whim (not like me), I purchased the Take-Along Carnival Set as well as a few additional trains. What can I say, it was right in the middle of the hectic Holiday season.  I was stressed out and not thinking clearly. I was uncertain about my decision, but figured I could return it if I needed to.

When I got home, I went to Amazon to see what people were saying about this particular set and was upset to see the bad reviews on it. Oh well, that will teach me to be spontaneous! Plus, I soon realized that the Take-Along sets did not have any motorized trains. They were all hand pushed. Now, I knew that my son would spend time pushing the trains by hand around the track,(and I do love this imaginative play) but I really wanted him to have the ability to make them go by themselves as well. And, hey, I just love spending money on batteries! Who doesn't?

So, I returned the Take-Along set to the store and made the decision to get the Trackmaster Railway System. It was less expensive than the Wooden Railway and you could purchase motorized engines for it. Perfect! Now, which Trackmaster playset should I purchase?

Thomas Trackmaster Action Canyon Playset

After browing the Trackmaster train sets online, I came across the Thomas the Tank Engine Action Canyon Playset. At the time, it was ranked #50 or so in Toys & Games on Amazon and had many good reviews. Here are a sample of some of the customer testimonials:

  • my 3 going on 4 year old loves it, is occupied with it all day and that for any parent is priceless.
  • My boys loved this toy!!! And it's sooooo durable.
  • Both my 2 and 5 year old love this set.
  • I would not hesitate to buy this item, it is well worth the money and provides hours of enjoyment.
  • My grandson was delighted with this set. He played with nothing else for weeks. It has enough parts that easily change the direction of the train to keep him interested.
  • My 2 and 4 years old boys love it. TrackMaster tracks are sturdier that other tracks.

Thomas Trackmaster Action Canyon Train Set

Thomas Trackmaster Action Canyon

My Trackmaster Action Canyon Review

I purchased the Trackmaster Action Canyon set which came with a Thomas motorized engine. I also purchased a set of 4 other motorized trains, Salty, Arthur, Percy and another Thomas train. When my son first saw the set, he flipped. He just loved it. It didn't take very long at all for my husband to put it together. Also, my son had a birthday this past February, so we bought him two more engines and three sets of cars/coaches/trucks.

It has now been two months since he received this train set and he still plays with it EVERY day! Now, that he has the additional cars/coaches, he is always switching cars on and off. It really keeps him very busy. There is so much going on at once.

The Thomas Trackmaster Action Canyon Playset:

1. It is durable. A piece here or there may need to be fixed, but most of the time my son can take care of it himself. Not a big deal.

2. It is so large that my son crawls all around it and inside it while he is playing. He loves that.

3. One important note about this set-it is HUGE! It measures about 67" long. If you are thinking of setting it up on a standard train table, that won't work. Also, it does take up quite a bit of room. Furthermore, most of the additional trains/cars/coaches come with a piece of track which we have added on to the set as well, so now our set is about 80" long! It is awesome, but very large.

4. Playset features three different ways for the trains to go. There is a switch to move the trains onto two different tracks and also the falling bridge which is really cool. All of which my son can work on his own.

5. Batteries last awhile. We just changed the batteries on the original trains this week. They lasted two months. The trains were still moving, but had slowed down a lot. The newer trains he received for his birthday that had fresh batteries kept running into the older trains that weren't moving as fast. Part of the reason the batteries may have lasted this long is because my son likes to push to trains on the track a lot and does not always use the motorized feature. So, if your child runs the trains all the time, the batteries may not last as long as ours did.

6. The trains stay on the track most of the time, however, I think my son likes it more when they crash! :)

7. As far as the set keeping a child's attention, I think it depends on the child. My son has a terrific imagination, so two months later he can still play with his set for long periods of time. He "creates "things to make tunnels over the tracks. He moves the trains over the tracks by hand choo-choo'ing and making up stories. I really feel he will be playing with this set for a long time.

8. His two sisters (mostly the 7 year old) love to play with the set, too.

9. The one Thomas train that comes with the set may not provide enough fun for your child. So, you should plan on purchasing a few more engines and some cars to add to the set like I have done. However, that is pretty normal with train sets. You start with the basic Playset and then add on.

My final thoughts: I highly recommend this train set. It is well worth the price.

My son playing with his Thomas Action Canyon Train Set

It does have five pieces of extra track on it from the additional trains we purchased.  However, my son is 4 years old, so you can get a general idea of how large this set really is!
It does have five pieces of extra track on it from the additional trains we purchased. However, my son is 4 years old, so you can get a general idea of how large this set really is!

Thomas the Tank Engine Scrapbook Album Kit

Thomas the Tank Engine Scrapbook

If your child loves Thomas the Tank Engine, you may want to create a Thomas scrapbook layout or album. This page contains a large selection of Thomas scrapbooking supplies including stickers, gems, rub-ons, premade layouts, album kits, pattered paper, chipboard letters and die cuts, and much more.

Thomas the Tank Engine Scrapbook

Was my Action Canyon review helpful?

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    • profile image


      8 years ago

      I finally found Trackmaster Ferdinand and Charles and Adam absolutely love him.

    • Brooke Lorren profile image

      Brooke Lorren 

      8 years ago from Mesa, Arizona

      My little guy now has trackmaster and wooden trains. He plays with them both.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Nice and cute! Great that you've gotten your son started early - who knows, he might just stick with the hobby :)

    • profile image

      Train Sets 

      8 years ago

      Thomas the Tank Engine is very enduring. I can remember reading the original books as a child now my kids read them, play with the toys, watch the TV shows, Wear the Pyjamas, they have even had a ride on a Thomas steam engine.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Trackmaster is great but I have to say my boys loved both the motorized and the wooden push trains. I think we had every kind of track out there and they used it all. Morotized or wooden push trains are a great toy.

    • profile image

      Train Costumes 

      8 years ago

      My little guy is in love with Thomas and Friends I even helped him build a website around it

    • Janet21 profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from New York

      I did well last year with this hub, so hopefully this year will be even better! :) I thinks some toys never lose their popularity..and Thomas is one of them. Thanks for stopping by my hub!

    • Dobson profile image


      8 years ago from Virginia

      My nephews have hundreds of pieces of the Thomas train sets. All three boys have loved them so the youngest benefits the most from all this collecting. These pieces seem to be quite durable, even with three boys having their way with the pieces.

      Thanks for describing this set in such detail. I expect you will see some great traffic as we move toward the holiday buying season.

    • MyTrainBrain profile image


      9 years ago from Kansas

      My son loves the "Canyon Train Set" that is a great recommendation! The best thing about Thomas is the shows that kids can watch they are a bit old fashioned sometimes but that is all right with me. Sometimes I wish other shows were more like that.


    • Janet21 profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from New York

      @Jesus: I don't believe that a connector exists to put these two tracks together, however, I am not 100% sure. Sorry!

    • profile image

      Jesus Bellorin 

      9 years ago

      I just realized all these a few hours ago and I'm surfing the internet trying to find out if exist a connector between track master and take along: my 4 years old have them both !!!!!!!!!

    • Mike Rogers profile image

      Mike Rogers 

      9 years ago

      Awesome hub :)

    • Janet21 profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from New York

      nicolema: You will not be disappointed with the Trackmaster set. It is great! I think it is better than the wooden set because the trains are larger and they are motorized. Thanks for stopping by my hub. :)

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      this is a great page! we just purchased a few trackmast items for christmas. I was worried that i'd picked the wrong kind of thomas stuff bc most people i know have the wooden junk. AND we were planning to purchase a table, but I guess we wont want one with this set! Good job! very informative

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Thanks for the review. I'm in the same boat - starting to get into the train thing, but not knowing which kind to invest in.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Greatest tips, lots of research to share, thank you, I live in Mexico with a 2 yr old Thomas and friends fan. I'm visiting the States in two weeks trying to find a place 2 buy the Thomas at action canyon railway set but I've found that u can only purchase it online. I'll do my best in finding it, your hub has been very helpful.

    • Janet21 profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from New York

      That is what happens with train sets, you just keep adding and adding to it. It is never ending..and fun! My son now takes this train set apart and puts it back together again creating new and different looks (including homemade bridges and tunnels!) I love his creativity! It is fun to watch. For Christmas, I am going to purchase some more track for him.

    • Catherine R profile image

      Catherine R 

      9 years ago from Melbourne, Australia

      My boys who are 12 and 9 now were crazy about T the T Engine. Obsessed. We had Thomas everything - bedding, bowls, videos, books, toys - the lot. We had the wooden Swedish track Brio which was fantastic. The Grandparents kept buying it until we had a huge collection. When we did an international move a couple of years ago I gave it away as they were growing out of it. It is still being loved in its new home. Some of your hubs look great - I will be reading more!

    • Janet21 profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from New York

      You could purchase a set, hide it in the basement and have some train fun once everyone is out of the house! ;)

    • SimeyC profile image

      Simon Cook 

      9 years ago from NJ, USA

      It really annoys me that my kids are now 18! I don't want them to have children yet, but I can't wait to get one of these for my grandkids! Perhaps I should get one just to make sure I know how it works!!!

    • R Burow profile image

      R Burow 

      9 years ago from Florida, United States

      I have four girls and was used to them sleeping with dolls and teddy bears. What a surprise for me when I had a little boy and discovered him sleeping with little trains next to )his pillow.(Thomas the Tank Engine trains of course)


    • euro-pen profile image


      9 years ago from Europe

      Funny to find a hub about Thomas, the train. This toy series is not known here in Central Europe (at least not to me). However, I have had a weird experience with Thomas, the train today while searching at Amazon.

    • profile image

      Gina T 

      9 years ago

      Great hub! Very informative.

    • dawei888 profile image


      9 years ago

      Wonderful hub! One of my close family members is a model train fanatic! I'll be sure to show him your hub! dawei888

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      Cool info, brings back some great memories!

    • deanoman777 profile image


      10 years ago from Independence

      Wooo Hoooo! Great information, Thank you very much. I am such a fan of I mean my son is a fan of Thomas. Yeah, um that's what I meant.

    • matiskater profile image


      10 years ago

      yeah the child that has a train set or track is a child!!

    • timwelch profile image


      10 years ago from Danville IL.

      tons of content on this hub! Great job and I'll check out your other hubs.

    • kiwi91 profile image


      10 years ago from USA

      No way, not too long at all. Just right. Great work Janet.

    • CarpetDiem profile image


      10 years ago from Southern California

      Great hub. My son is all things Thomas. Trains, books, shirts... you name it!

    • Lgali profile image


      10 years ago

      thanks for sharing ideas

    • Tom Rubenoff profile image

      Tom rubenoff 

      10 years ago from United States

      I love Thomas the Tank Engine and all the stories that surround him. I loved reading the books to my kids and watching the TV show with them. Thanks for writing this Hub.

    • ajcor profile image


      10 years ago from NSW. Australia

      I didn't realise there were so many choices in the purchase of a boy's train set....great hub ......thanks ...cheers

    • Direxmd profile image


      10 years ago

      This is a great hub, I like it a lot. I agree with SweetiePie, the placement of the amazon capsules are excellent!

    • WeddingConsultant profile image


      10 years ago from DC Metro Area

      I agree, this is a great hub! One thing that is out of your control is that there is a "training" ad for a career school (at least this is what ad shows for me). I think google scanned the page and thought "train" meant "career training", not "toy trains"...

    • LondonGirl profile image


      10 years ago from London

      Nice hub. My three year old is a Thomas fanatic, he even takes a small wooden Thomas to be every night, after brushing the train's teeth for him.

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      This is a great hub - it flows nicely and it is not too long - I read it all the way through and enjoyed it, well done.

    • SweetiePie profile image


      10 years ago from Southern California, USA

      I would not change the lay out if I were you. Also, the amazon capsules flow well with the page.

    • EYEAM4ANARCHY profile image

      Kelly W. Patterson 

      10 years ago from Las Vegas, NV.

      Every child should have a train set.


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