End of an era as Thomas the Tank toots his last horn at Eastleigh Lakeside Steam Railway


It’s an end of an era for Lakeside Country Park-based Eastleigh Lakeside Steam Railway as it prepares to host its last ever Thomas The Tank Engine and Friends day.

After 20 years of hosting the popular Day Out With Thomas days, the miniature steam railway will say farewell to the colourful tank characters with a fun-filled family event over the weekend of 8 and 9 September. This end of an era follows a decision by the owners of the Day out With Thomas brand, Mattel, not to renew the railway’s license.

Preparing to go out in style, the special Thomas The Tank Engine and Friends farewell event will include:

· Unlimited rides on Thomas the Tank and his friends

· Magic shows and entertainment with “Rusty” the Station Sweeper

· Imagination Station with Dressing up box, colouring, games and toys

· Sing-a-long with The Fat Controller & the engines

· Interactive story time with The Fat Controller

· Balloon modelling

Speaking about the special Heritage Steam Train weekend, Eastleigh Lakeside Steam Railway’s event manager David Hart said:

‘Although we are sad that this is our last Thomas the Tank event, we want to be very professional. It’s going to be a great weekend. And we look forward to 2019 and the continuing support of our visitors.’

An average of 40,000 visitors visits the Eastleigh Lakeside Steam Railway each year. Set in the glorious wildlife oasis that is Lakeside Country Park, the steam trains run from the main station at Eastleigh Parkway to Monks Brook Halt, offering the opportunity to visit the park’s stunning lakes, children’s playground and use the park’s picnic tables for refreshments. The steam train returns back to the main station from Monks Brook Halt, with the entire trip totalling 15-20 minutes.

David added:

‘The liaison between us and Eastleigh Borough Council’s Lakeside Country Park is vital. The whole park is a huge resource for outdoor entertainment, education and fun – and it’s great that we complement each other and work so well together.’

Eastleigh Borough Council’s Chair of Eastleigh Local Area Committee Cllr Paul Bicknell said:

‘It is very sad to say goodbye to Thomas the Tank and his friends at Eastleigh Lakeside Steam Railway but I’m sure this farewell event will be a wonderful occasion; a weekend to remember.

‘We have a great partnership with Eastleigh Lakeside Steam Railway and we very much look forward to seeing what events they have lined up for 2019 and at how we can continue to work with and support them to ensure that Lakeside Country Park continues to draw in the crowds.’

Eastleigh Lakeside Steam Railway Day Out With Thomas takes place on 8 and 9 September. It runs from 10am to 5pm on both days, with gates opening at 9.45am, with the first engine rides starting at 10am and the last running at 4.30pm. Tickets are priced £15 (adults), £12 children (two to 15) and under twos FREE.