Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think I would be "driving" Thomas The Tank Engine. I've hardly even seen it on TV. But when I was asked by the North Shore Scenic Railroad in Duluth to run Thomas for a day, I thought it would be a fun and new adventure.
The previous day they had 4,138 people ride Thomas and take part in "Day Out With Thomas." There are all sorts of activities for kids (and opportunities for the parents and grandparents to buy memorabilia).
Thomas is not powered. He is shoved and pulled by a regular engine at the end of the train. My job was to animate Thomas with smoke and talk and have the mouth move. AND--Blow the whistle. They wanted lots of whistle blowing and it is a LOUD SHRILL whistle and my ears are still ringing! And I tell the engineer when to go, where to stop, and watch the track when he shoves us around.
And, here's Thomas!!! (Arlyn is the one looking out the engine window).
Here's some pix as we shove back into the depot area:
We made 8 trips and I didn't hear how many passengers we carried but it was in the thousands. Here we had to wait for the Two Harbors train to finish loading and shove out before we could unload our kids (big and little!!)
It was a fun day. But, there is no seat in the engine and I stood for 9 hours straight!!!