He might be the most famous railroad engine of all time, and now he's pulling to Manatee County.
For nine days beginning on Saturday, the Florida Railroad Museum in Parrish will be hosting "Day Out With Thomas," which gives railroad enthusiasts of all ages a chance to take a ride on the beloved storybook engine.
And although Thomas the Tank Engine keeps gaining new generations of fans though the popular animated TV series "Thomas and Friends," which has run for nearly 20 years, there's no age limit on his appeal. Thomas first appeared about 70 years ago, in the Railway Series children's books, written by a train enthusiast named Wilbert Awdry who just wanted to entertain his son. Thomas was only one character in the series, but quickly became the most popular.
"Day Out With Thomas" travels to heritage railroads around the country. Thomas the Tank Engine himself will be on hand, as will Sir Topham Hatt.
Thomas pulls out of the Parrish station every 45 minutes starting at 9 a.m., and there are 10 departures each day.
Details: March 14-22, Florida Railroad Museum, 12210 83rd St. E., Parrish. Show times: 9, 9:45, 10:30 and 11:15 a.m., noon, 12:45, 1:30, 2:15 and 3 and 3:45 p.m. Tickets: $19. Information: 941-776-0906, frrm.org.
-- Marty Clear