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Thomas the Tank Engine returns to Medina for 10th visit

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 9 May 2014 at 12:00 am

10,000 expected for Thomas’s 6-day run

Photos by Tom Rivers

MEDINA – He rolled into town for the first time in 2005 and Thomas the Train Engine has proven to be a star, drawing thousands of visitors to Medina.

Today was the kickoff for Thomas’s six-day visit to Medina. There will be train rides today through Sunday and again on May 16-18. About 5,000 tickets have already been sold and that number is expected to climb to 7,500 to 10,000 for the 10th annual visit by the popular character.

In the top photo, a crowd gathers around Thomas for photos before its first ride out of town and back. Thomas moves his eyes, mouths and this time he will talk as the train leaves and returns to Medina.

The train rides lasts about 25 minutes. The train will leave every 45 minutes from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Fridays, while rides on Saturdays and Sundays run from 9:15 a.m. to 4:45 p.m.

The Medina Railroad Museum hosts the train. Museum volunteer Linda Belson helps to welcome Thomas and visitors by sprucing up the sign at the museum. A ticket includes a pass to the museum at 530 West Ave.

“It’s a lot of fun,” Belson said about the Thomas visit. “We love seeing the kids. It benefits the whole community.”

Rick Henn, manager of the passenger car fleet for WNY Railway Historical Society, is ready to welcome riders on five railroad coaches from 1946-1947. The Railway Historical Society owns the coaches and is happy to see so many people ride them in Medina as part of Thomas’s visit.

“The kids are great,” Henn said. “The kids really come out.”

The museum also works with the Railway Historical Society for a Polar Express experience in November and December. That has proven the museum’s biggest attraction, bringing about 20,000 riders.

A volunteer gives Thomas a final look over before his first ride this morning.

The visit over six days by Thomas the Tank Engine is expected to bring 10,000 people to the community.

For more information on the Medina Railroad Museum and Thomas the Tank Engine, click here.