Translated by Lester Somera
Meet Thomas and Friends at the Ōigawa Railway Thomas Fair!
Written by Inou masahiro
Ōigawa Railway has been running the Thomas Fair since 2014, and this year introduces new characters Bertie the Bus and the Troublesome Trucks!
Did you know there is an event in Japan where you can meet the children’s beloved character, Thomas the Tank Engine?
Since 2014, the Thomas Fair has been held by the Ōigawa Railway company in Shizuoka Prefecture from the summer until the fall. You can actually ride the Thomas and James trains, meet Thomas’ friends, and enjoy various other displays and events.
Not only are Thomas and James at the events, but so are Hiro, Percy, and Thomas’ other friends. Since 2016, Bertie the Bus and the Troublesome Trucks have joined the event as new characters. The 2016 Thomas Fair will run from June 11th (Saturday) to October 10th (Monday). In this article, we’d like to take a look at how the Thomas Fair has gotten even busier since last year.
Thomas and Friends Greet You at Shin-Kanaya Station
We leave from Shin-Kanaya Station in Shizuoka. Soon after you arrive at the station, Bertie the Bus will come to welcome you.
From the train sheds at the back, Thomas and James come rushing out!
The conductor and crew aboard Bertie are dressed up in special uniforms for the fair.
Thomas arrives at Shin-Kanaya Station. The mechanics are also dressed up like those in Thomas’ world.
Even Sir Topham Hatt, the manager of the railway company, comes from the Island of Sodor (*1) on this day to greet Thomas.
*1: Sodor is the fictional island setting of Thomas the Tank Engine, where Thomas and his friends work.
After this, get on Thomas and head to Senzu Station. The tea bottle in the picture, with Thomas printed on the label, is a limited edition. You can buy one at Shin-Kanaya Station, so how about picking one up as a souvenir of your trip?
Riding Thomas to Senzu Station
Thomas and James puff from their smokestacks as they dash through Japan’s tea fields. This marvelous sight cannot even be seen in the real show.
Inside the train, Thomas and James speak to passengers through the intercoms! The interior has been carefully decorated with Thomas flags dangling from the roof, and Thomas and Gordon are printed on the seat. The children loved it.
This special bento box is only available at Shin Kanaya Station’s Plaza Loco during the Thomas Fair.
The nori seaweed has been trimmed into the shape of Thomas’ face, and it’s a really cute bento.
The tranquil scenery continues from Shin-Kanaya to Senzu Station. The air is delicious, and freed from the hustle and bustle of the city, we felt at peace.
Percy and Hiro Are Waiting At Senzu Station
We pull into Senzu Station. At this station, Thomas’ friends Hiro and Percy, as well as the Troublesome Trucks, are awaiting the arrival of Thomas and friends.
This beautiful red engine body belongs to James. James is quite tidy, so his body is polished until it gleams.
The green train is Percy. The prank-loving Percy is Thomas’ best friend.
This is Hiro, modeled on the Japan National Railways D51 train. He is the elder of Thomas and friends.
This is Rusty the locomotive. Rusty pulls the freight cars at the 2016 Thomas Fair, and is an attraction inside Senzu Station.
UK-Made Revolving Platforms Moved By Hand
This is James being reoriented at Senzu Station. This UK-made revolving platform is confirmed by the factory that manufactures the platforms as the oldest one that still exists. Even today, it isn’t machines that rotate the platform, but human muscle!
This is Hiro, Thomas and James all lined up at Senzu Station. It really seems that they’re having a conversation.
Look Up At Thomas From Under The Bridge
From the last photo-taking spot, you can catch the sight of Thomas vigorously rushing over the iron bridge. It looks like he’s feeling good rushing into the wind!
This time we rode on Thomas, but there is also a plan where you can ride on Bertie the Bus. During the Fair, if you’re lucky you can come across a scene where Thomas and Bertie are traveling together! For your memories of this summer, how about stepping into the world of Thomas and Friends?
*For information about seat availability, check the Ōigawa Railways Homepage.