Thomas the Tank Engine and friend Percy return to Baldwin City

photo by: Mike Yoder

In this file photo from May 30, 2009, Ryan Steiner, 4, left, and his twin brothers Zach and Cole, 6, have their photograph taken by their father, Chad Steiner, of Overland Park, in front of Thomas the Tank Engine at the Midland Railway in Baldwin City.

The next two weekends, the dependable Thomas the Tank Engine will return to Baldwin City.

Midland Railway’s annual Day Out with Thomas will be Friday, Saturday and Sunday and again June 8, 9 and 10. It will be the 15th straight year the star of the public television show “Thomas & Friends” has visited Baldwin City for the nonprofit railroad’s biggest annual fundraiser, which provides much of the revenue Midland Railway needs to operate the remainder of the year, said A.J. Stevens, Midland’s executive director.

Thomas won’t be the only character from the TV show’s Isle of Sodor to make an appearance in Baldwin City. Sir Topham Hatt, the controller of railway, will be there, as will the small, green engine Percy.

Stevens said ticket sales have picked up in recent days and the event is on track to draw about 11,000 visitors. Trains will depart the depot for 20-minute rides on the hour from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Midland Railway volunteers are busy readying the grounds near the historic Santa Fe Railroad Depot, 1515 High St. for a number of activities associated with the annual event, including Isle of Sodor storytelling area, a petting zoo, a coloring and creativity station and a tent where children can play with Thomas-themed toys, Stevens said. Magicians and musicians will provide family entertainment.

Stevens said ticket purchases are required to enter the grounds. Tickets are $19 per person or $15 per person if purchased for a group of 20 or more. For online ticket information, visit midlandrailway.org.

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