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There’s something about trains that make my son go all kinds of crazy. He’s obsessed with pretty much anything that goes. His collection of cars and trains is impressive, and there are few things he likes better than playing with his train set downstairs. So, when we saw an event advertising a day out with Thomas the Tank Engine at the Strasburg Railway, it was a no brainer that we’d try and make it out for it.

We arrive at the event early, knowing this will be a very busy day, hoping to get ahead of the impending crowd. The people in charge run a very tight ship, I must say. There’s options for so many activities, all very appealing to my little guy, who’s just turned 3. The engines themselves are kept at strategic locations across from each other at the station. To see them, you must wind your way through mesh lined serpentines to arrive at the various photo op benches, so you can have your family’s picture taken (and be charged for it). I don’t begrudge them this, actually, given the alternative, which would be an unsafe free-for-all of selfie sticks and chaotic littles dashing about trying to get too close to what is, in truth, a fully functional train engine.

I don’t hold out much hope for a family pic, either. My son doesn’t have a good track record for such things. But I figured we’d go down the line and see if we could at least get a good look at Thomas, and maybe the odds would be in our favor. Alas, they were not. As we approached the front of the line, the engine let out a long burst of steam, not hot, but very loud. My son, who hates loud noises and gets spooked pretty easily, immediately was put off by this process and refused to put his hands down to take a photo. I shrugged it off and we went off to find something else fun to do until it was our time get on board. The rest of the event went off without much trouble. We ended up riding all three trains, playing with the hand crank cars for most of our downtime, even getting a nice little train souvenir to recall the day.

I went to pick my son up at daycare later the following week, and was chatting with his teacher about the weekend’s events. I tell her that we got to meet Thomas, and my son pipes up, cheerfully, “Thomas farted!!” Yes, folks, the one thing he took away from that event, was not the three rides we got, or any of the other fun stuff we did, but only that Thomas the Tank Engine had farted.