Thomas the Tank Engine has helped generations of children find a love of trains thanks to his television show and book series, and now his presence is about to get even bigger in the real world thanks to a new theme park being constructed in his honor.
USA Today has reported that a Thomas The Tank Engine-themed section will be added to the Boston metro area Edaville USA Railroad attraction. "Thomas Land," as it's going to be called, will be built on 11 acres of the park and feature 14 rides based on the lovable characters of the show. There are already two "Thomas Land" parks in the United Kingdom and Japan, but this will be the biggest and first such park in America, making it a must-see attraction for stateside railroaders.
You can read more details on the project straight from USA Today in the excerpt below.
Thomas the Tank Engine theme park coming
Thomas the Tank Engine, the iconic talking cartoon train that has thrilled millions of children around the world, and Edaville USA Railroad, a favorite destination of generations of southeastern New England families, are teaming up on a permanent Thomas-themed park.
Groundbreaking on the first Thomas Land in the U.S. is scheduled for next month, and the park is expected to open for business in summer 2015.
Adding Thomas Land will turn Edaville from a regional attraction to a national attraction, backers hope, quadrupling current attendance to 1 million a year. s attendance, currently at about 250,000 people a year, to quadruple. Thomas Land, being built on about 11 of Edaville's 250 acres, will have 14 rides based on the television show, with the highlight being a 20-minute train ride on a life-sized Thomas the Tank Engine.
A roller coaster, drop tower, Ferris wheel and other rides will feature more Thomas characters, including Toby, Cranky the Crane and Harold the Helicopter. Children will even be able to meet Sir Topham Hatt.
Carver, the site of the development, is about 50 miles south of Boston, next-door to Plymouth. "Thomas fits Edaville like a glove," Edaville owner Jon Delli Priscoli said. Edaville began operating as a tourist railroad in 1947, after Ellis D. Atwood bought abandoned railcars from a defunct railroad to carry cranberries and workers across his 1,500 acres of cranberry bogs. The train was named using Atwood's initials: EDA.
Edaville, already one of the town's largest employers, is expected to triple its workforce from about 100 to 300 full- and part-time employees, he said. The town will also benefit from the park's spinoff business, as visitors eat at area restaurants and shop in local stores.
"This is going to completely remake and revitalize the Edaville experience," he said.
There's nothing quite like a day spent with trains, and this new park will provide a rich experience doing exactly that. Thomas the Tank Engine is beloved by millions of kids and adults all over the world, so this park will surely attract railroaders from across the country, and maybe even reignite the passion for trains in a few of them! Only one question remains: how will we be able to wait a full year to visit this incredible place?