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June 22. 2013 2:33AM

Thomas the Tank will try to prove himself useful when he comes to North Conway


 (SARA YOUNG-KNOX/Union Leader)

NORTH CONWAY – Thomas the Tank Engine is due at the historic Victorian railroad station in the heart of North Conway Village July 12, and those young and those young-at-heart are eagerly awaiting the beloved engine's arrival.

Thomas and his friends will visit the Conway Scenic Railroad July 12-14 and July 19-21 for this year's "Day Out With Thomas" event. Among those accompanying Thomas is Sir Topsham Hatt, from the island of Sodor, who will be there to visit with children, and to make sure Thomas is being useful.

The hardworking, helpful Thomas, with his oversized eyes and welcoming smile, is the Number One blue engine and works on his own branch line when on Sodor. In North Conway, he will prove himself useful as he puffs out of the station, pulling passengers on 25-minute train rides runs from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. each day of the event.

Thomas wants to make sure all his young friends have as much fun as possible, so the event includes unlimited motorcar rides, engine tours, bouncy houses, mini-golf, video viewing, storytelling, and more. The North Conway Model Railroad Club's operating layout will be open for viewing in the club's space at the rail yard.

There will be plenty of food and beverages for sale, too, so families can make a day of it.

At last year's event, then-5-year-old Matthew Frost of Portland, Maine, proved himself Very Useful, as he put Thomas' friend, James the Red Engine, back on the tracks of one of the model railroad layouts set up on kid-accessible tables in Imagination Station.

Frost and hundreds of other young children enjoyed the hands-on activities at the event, including the interactive fun at Imagination Station. Set up under a large white tent and staffed by volunteers from the Mount Washington Valley Children's Museum, the station has plenty of chairs for parents who watch as their children play with the trains, get a Thomas tattoo, make an engineer's hat, or have fun at other arts and crafts activities.

You don't have to be a preschooler to enjoy the activities at the North Conway landmark, in fact: It's even more fun if you're a parent or grandparent.

Susan Logan, who has a front seat as the Conway Scenic Railroad's marketing and events manager, agrees. "Day Out With Thomas is an exciting way for children, parents, and grandparents to enter the world of Thomas and Friends. This really is a fun-filled event that the whole family will enjoy."

The event is presented by HIT Entertainment. MEGA Bloks, a leading toy company, is the sponsor.

Tickets are $18 for ages two and up. For more information, call Conway Scenic Railroad at 1-800-232-5251, email info@conwayscenic.com, or visit ConwayScenic.com. To order tickets, go to events.hitentertainment.com or call 866-468-7630.


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