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The top 5 trains for today’s Railway Children …

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Source: The Guardian

From Thomas the Tank Engine to Harry Potter’s Hogwarts Express – there’s plenty to get your little one’s imaginations fired up by trains. Check out our top 5 trains for today’s railway children and help get trains steam-rolling into their affections.

Whether you’re looking to get them excited ahead of a long train journey or want to get them keyed-up for green travel, there’s plenty of trains that kids’ll love.

Just check out our top five trains and get them choo-chooing with excitement.

And don’t forget to check our journey planner for cheap tickets when your family rides the rails.

1. Thomas the Tank Engine

Possibly the best known locomotive the world over, Thomas the Tank Engine began life in The Railway Series books before starring in his very own cartoon show.

The lovable red-and-blue engine’s known for chugging through the countryside at the bidding of Sir Topham Hatt and the Fat Controller.

Get your little ones excited about Thomas – and other trains – with the Rev W. Audry’s original books, Thomas & Friends cartoons or at special events where children can ride the real Thomas along heritage railway lines.

You can also take the little ones to Thomas Land in Drayton Manor Park, Staffordshire, until 30 October 2011, where you can ride on Thomas, Percy or Rosie and have a go on the Troublesome Trucks Runaway Coaster.

2. The Hogwarts Express

Muggles, bookworms and film buffs know the most magical way to travel is by train – well for Harry Potter at least.

The boy wizard and his pals used the Hogwarts Express to get from platform 9 and 3/4s at London King’s Cross to the magical village of Hogsmeade at the beginning and end of each school term.

Children can get in on the train magic by reading about the Hogwarts Express or by watching the train in chug through the Harry Potter movies.

What’s more, the real-life Hogwarts Express is expected to be displayed at York’s transport museum soon, meaning kids can see Harry Potter’s steam engine up close.

3. The Polar Express

There’s nothing more exciting to kids than Christmas, so a train that goes right to Santa’s workshop in the North Pole could be just the thing to get them fired-up about rail travel.

The Polar Express started as a book then as a film starring Tom Hanks, which sees a young boy from Grand Rapids, Michigan, board a fantasy train straight to the North Pole ahead of Christmas.

You can get your little ones excited about the Polar Express by watching the movie or reading the book by Chris Van Allsburg.

And if you’re ever in Florida, you can try the Polar Express Experience – a motion simulator ride at SeaWorld Orlando.

4. Ivor the Engine

Ivor the Engine’s quite possibly Wales’ most famous locomotive and a close second to Thomas the Tank Engine in the overall popularity stakes.

Ivor had his own cartoon series in the 50s and in 70s that told the adventures of the green locomotive Ivor and his pals Jones the Steam, Evans the Song and Dai Station.

You can get the little ones excited by watching old episodes of Ivor the Engine or by reading the Ivor the Engine story books by Aberlard Schuman.

5. The Little Engine That Could

The Little Engine That Could is better known in America, where the story originated. But a new film due out this year (featuring Whoopi Goldberg) is set to make this little locomotive popular in Blighty too.

When a train load of toys need delivered over high mountains, most large trains refuse but one little train engine agrees to try saying “I-think-I-can” the whole way.

Get your little ones excited about The Little Engine – and trains – by reading a copy of the book or watching the film.

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