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What Train Set for Grandson?

(24 Posts)
Moom1949 Sat 21-Jan-17 12:21:11

Hello. Our 2.5 years Grandson is coming to stay - and he is mad about trains. We would like to buy him a train set to keep in our house (for each visit). What train set shall I buy? I am so confused! He adores Thomas, but there are so many versions of Thomas available - I don't know where to start. Can anyone recommend a reasonable quality, sensibly priced (not £££) 'starter' set (rails, bridges, station, few engines, etc) to get us going?


NannyR Sat 21-Jan-17 12:24:52

The Ikea wooden set is very cheap and a good starter set. It's compatible with brio and big jigs and you can buy wooden Thomas engines that would fit the tracks.

Nanasueathome Sat 21-Jan-17 12:26:37

Have a look at Big Jigs wooden train sets
I have Brio set over 30 years old and Big Jigs are compatible with this
My 3 grandsons love it
The plastic sets tend to be flimsy (I actually threw 1 set in the bin as it was a pain to build and then collapsed within minutes of the children playing with it)

BagelDog Sat 21-Jan-17 12:28:30

We have a mix of brio and big higs plus some ikea track, all fits together fine and as above you can get Thomas and friends trains for it. Lovely wooden stuff, and pretty indestructible. Onto our third son and going strong. Can get simple starter sets of far more complex set ups and just build it up over time. Think my dad has had almost as much fun out of it as my boys have...

HerculesMulligan Sat 21-Jan-17 12:29:11

He sounds like my 2.5yo! I think if it's something you want to last and grow with him, Brio is the answer.

Our boy has a Happyland train from the Early Learning centre but it's very young for him now (and noisy). As you say, there are dozens of Thomas variations and they aren't compatible with each other, which drives me mad. We have the Duplo set with Cranky the Crane but it's quite fiddly to set up correctly.

The nice thing about Brio is that he'll be able to build the tracks for himself, there are lots of add-ons available if and when you want them, and it's compatible with other sets -
including the IKEA own brand, I think.

I am wondering if I know you. If your DS is H, son of R, then I do!

seefeld Sat 21-Jan-17 12:31:46

Seconding Brio! TK Maxx often have sets at much reduced prices. The wooden Thomas trains fit on it perfectly.

smilingsarahb Sat 21-Jan-17 12:37:55

My in laws bought the ikea one for the same purpose. It's cheaper so they got more. It lasted well and eldest 9 will still sneak a play now.. But I should say grand father has made extras like platforms and stations too as he likes making stuff. They also used some guttering as a super long tunnel. I had brio at home but i am not sure its worth the extra cost for a less frequently used set

IWantATardis Sat 21-Jan-17 12:38:00

I'd go for a wooden train set too. Bigjigs is pretty good quality and cheaper than Brio (although reduced price Brio sets do seem to appear periodically in TKMaxx). Bigjigs I think have a variety of starter sets, and you can buy additional packs of track and other Railway accessories separately (bridges, stations etc). As a pp says, you can buy wooden Thomas engines that run on wooden tracks.

Brio, Bigjigs, Early Learning Centre and Tesco wooden train sets are all compatible (but varying quality). I found IKEA track in general doesn't quite fit with Brio etc, it takes a bit more jiggling and force to get the IKEA stuff together with the other wooden track.

The Thomas trackmaster stuff is harder for a small child to put together than wooden track and comes apart pretty easily, although the trackmaster engines fit on wooden track.
The Thomas take and play stuff is more compact, but IME pretty flimsy, and the take and play trains only fit on the take and play track (it's a bit narrower than the wooden / trackmaster track).

squiz81 Mon 20-Feb-17 22:29:42

We started with ikea set, kept him happy for ages. Then I found a load of brio for a bargain price in a charity shop. It fits with the ikea stuff and is really good. I much prefer the wooden sets to the plastic ones. We also have a duplo plastic set and it's never played with.

Bubbinsmakesthree Mon 20-Feb-17 22:40:57

Worth a look on eBay for people selling off old Brio-style wooden sets.

Definitely get the wooden stuff - at 2.5 they'll be able to fit it together by themselves.

I have a similar age DS and he loves playing with train track more than anything!

redexpat Mon 20-Feb-17 22:44:39

Lidl at xmas have their own version - playtive i think its called. Otherwisegumtree and carboots.

Racheyg Mon 20-Feb-17 22:46:44

John Lewis do an amazing train set. Both my ds's love it

Astro55 Mon 20-Feb-17 22:47:15

Why don't you ask his parents? They know him best - and will he be happy to leave a train set at your house?

DragonsDenItAint Mon 20-Feb-17 22:52:37

Lego duplo my first train set, at that age. At forty quid it isn't cheap though.
But he will have endless fun pressing the green button and watching it go round.

DragonsDenItAint Mon 20-Feb-17 22:53:26

^ he will absolutely want to take it home with him though

Lazybeans50 Mon 20-Feb-17 22:54:48

My DS loved his wooden set (a mixture of brio, Tesco, ikea etc) and lots of Thomas trains from ELC. He liked trains he could push himself rather than battery operated ones.

Strokkur Mon 20-Feb-17 22:55:33

The John Lewis wooden one is good and 100% compatible with Brio. It's a great investment, years of playing potential!

wobblywonderwoman Mon 20-Feb-17 22:59:38

Tesco have a great set at less than 15£

It is compatible for all of the above. We have a mixture of brio, IKEA, tesco

KatherinaMinola Mon 20-Feb-17 23:01:57

We have the Big Jigs Town and Country set - it is excellent and has everything (level crossing, raised bridge, station, trees and houses etc). It is compatible with most other sets - we have bought a couple of other bits to go with it. About £50, but it was played with regularly for years and still is occasionally. Can be picked up quite cheaply secondhand.

Efferlunt Mon 20-Feb-17 23:09:20

Brio and big jigs are compatible we have a mix with brio Thomas and Percy etc. V popular in our house.

LittleBearPad Mon 20-Feb-17 23:12:40

Thomas wooden railway, brio, Ikea, John Lewis and big jigs are all compatible.

RueDeWakening Mon 20-Feb-17 23:13:35

We have a mix of Brio, Tesco, Ikea and probably some other bits, it all goes together well - the Ikea stuff has plastic connectors which can be a bit trickier to fit together though.

The Thomas brand engines from Brio work on it perfectly, my sons were both given "their" name engines as birthday presents when they were about 2.

TheSnorkMaidenReturns Mon 20-Feb-17 23:16:25

Agree with others about the various brands of wooden train sets. You can often get good bag at a local jumble sale/charity shop, which is good for visiting grandchildren, and spare your money for taking him to buy his special Thomas engine to go on it.

jaggythistle Mon 20-Feb-17 23:17:45

Wooden stuff here too. Bought for second birthday and still comes out sometimes at almost 5. Big brother joins in too.

Big plus is they can build their own tracks. One of ds2s favorites is a wee battery powered Thomas engine that can pull carriages.

Thomas Trackmaster is indeed a nightmare. Even with instructions it takes me a while!

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