At a Glance: All aboard for fantastic day out on Thomas, James, Toby and Mavis.
Cost: $6/ride or $35/unlimited rides
Opening Times: Sat & Sun 10am - 4pm
Kiosk or Cafe: yes
Age Suitability: all ages
The Train Shed is heaven for all Thomas the Tank Engine enthusiasts - which I think includes the whole male (and some female) population of Australia under 5 years. This mini railway park is located at rural Luddenham on the outskirts of south west Sydney. It will take you just under an hour to drive there from the centre of Sydney.
Depending on your budget and also your level of endurance, you can purchase a 6 ride pass or an unlimited ride pass at The Train Shed. As we have 2 little boys and very little endurance we decided on the 6 ride pass so that the boys could get 3 rides each. An adult has to accompany any children 2 years or under for no extra cost.
Now just be warned that you may not be able to ride on the train your little one so desperately wants to. We arrived at opening time (10am) as we wanted to avoid the queues that we had heard about. (The Train Shed is only open on weekends and apparently a lot of parents do pay a huge amount of money to host their kids birthday parties here). So Thomas and James were the only trains operating and unfortunately our boys could see Toby (a favourite), Mavis and Gordon waiting in the sidings.
Alas they had to be content with 2 rides on Thomas and 1 on James. Toby steamed up (or he is a diesel?) just as were leaving and my boys were mightily unimpressed. They wanted to know why the Fat Controller wasn't there to better organise things!
The rides last approximately ten minutes and go over a bridge, through a tunnel, past stations and through railway crossings, where you can spot gnomes, cows, heritage farm equipment and other quirky bits and bobs that have been designed to give The Train Shed and "authentic" Island of Sodor feel.
If you need refreshments, there is a kiosk on site that serves coffee, devonshire teas and other typical snacks that you find at tourist attractions. If you prefer, you can bring your own food and have a picnic or BBQ. There are lots of tables and chairs for you to sit down and your enjoy your food whilst waving to Thomas as he zips by.
When your rides have run out you can check out the souvenir shop where you can purchase a huge assortment of Thomas paraphernalia as well as let your kids have a play with the Thomas model train set.
If you would like to host your child's birthday at The Train Shed you can hire the gorgeous old Red Rattler at Maithwaite Station for a fully catered party from $40.00/child (min 12 kids) or you can do your own catering and hire a marquee for about $25.00 plus rides.
To be honest with you, the actual facilities of The Train Shed are quite run down - and it is in need of a good spruce up. But kids don't notice that sort of thing - they just want to get on those trains as soon as they tooting can.