Thomas is In Town!

Day Out with Thomas Kicks Off

Duluth, Minn-The parking lot of the Depot looks more like a street festival. But the air hung low, anticipation stirring.

Suddenly, excitement rushes with the kids to greet the one and only Thomas the Tank Engine, as he returns from the last trip of the day.

With over 22,000 attendees in the past years, and this year looking to surpass that number, Day Out with Thomas is the North Shore Scenic Railroad’s most profitable event.

Ken Buehler explains that while much of the revenue goes to train upkeep, their age plays a big factor.

“The cars that are air conditioned are the closed cars, they’re the newer ones,” said Buehler, General Manager of the North Shore Scenic Railroad. “We also have open air cars that have windows that open. And those were built even before air conditioning was invented. Some of the cars date back to the early 1800s, and air conditioning wasn’t invented until many years later.”

Buehler says that an air-conditioning expert gave cars the go-ahead for this weekend’s Day Out. Yet that didn’t seem to bother the jubilant juveniles.

Percy, Thomas’s friend, sat further back for pictures. Probably feeling very upstaged.

Yet Thomas holds a special place in these kids’ hearts.

“This is our first time being on a train,” said young Thomas fan Joanna Keating. She added it was “good!”

Thomas also gives back to the community, Buehler says that last year, those 22,000 attendees spent a total of $8.5 million in their trips to Duluth.

That big smiling face spreads a lot of joy on, and off the tracks.

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