wooden train sets - opinions in quality?

Discussion in 'The Toddler Years(1-3)' started by maybell, Nov 27, 2010.

  1. maybell

    maybell Well-Known Member

    This is a twofold question... I'm starting the research for wooden train sets. We are looking for something that is quality, that the trains and the tracks stay together and can endure lots of play. (we have a plastic set of Geotrax right now, and are finding that the trains don't stay together and they don't stay on the track... ugh!)

    #1 - what are the opinions of the various brands out there? Thomas, Imaginarium, Costco etc, other? Pros/cons - which brands?

    and #2 - My dh is always talking about getting toys made in the USA instead of China... and I didn't know if anyone has opinions on sets made in the USA. Here's a website I've found with tracks made in Vermont. any specific USA sets that anyone has opinions on?

    toysofusa website

    anyway, opinions on trainsets are welcome! pros and cons of any set. thanks.
  2. rrodman

    rrodman Well-Known Member

    We have a Melissa and Doug train set. No idea where it was made. They used to be made in the US but may not be now. I've been very impressed with the quality. We got these things that clip onto the bottom of the track at the joints to keep it together and it pretty much stays together with those.
  3. nateandbrig

    nateandbrig Well-Known Member

    My oldest is 10 but when he was about 4 we decided to get him a set of wooden train tracks and decided to get the Thomas ones. They were the easiest ones for us to tell the grandparents and other family to get him. Well it's 6 years later and they are still used every single day. Now my little ones LOVE them and we have soooo many different sets and they all work nicely together. It's also still really easy for us to find new sets and the grandparents always know they can buy a thomas track or train and the kids will be happy. Oh and we've never had a train table, they just use the floor--carpet or hardwood.
    Good luck!
  4. maybell

    maybell Well-Known Member

    thanks for the ideas ladies. I'm new to this aspect ... didn't know about the clips on the bottom. and good to hear that they work together with the sets and pieces. and that trains are a hit for years to come! I also liked hearing that they work great on the floor... we already have a large square table and I don't think that we'll be getting another table. not sure that I want them to play on the table, but they could if they wanted or the floor.

    again, any opinions are welcome, I haven't delved into learning about train sets yet. thanks.
  5. Trishandthegirls

    Trishandthegirls Well-Known Member

    We have a Melissa and Doug set, a Thomas set and a set from Costco (lots of hand-me-downs). They all interchange together so even if you get one basic set you can add on pieces from another company. The Melissa/Doug and Thomas sets are very nice quality; all of the pieces fit well and are nicely made. The Costco set isn't quite as nice with a few rough edges and some pieces that don't line up perfectly. It's still playable, but some of the pieces caused problems when my kids were 2. If I had to spend my own money, I'd buy the Melissa and Doug trains - they're less expensive than Thomas (but still can be used with any of the Thomas engines if your kids like Thomas). Also, there are frequently fantastic deals on Melissa and Doug trains through Amazon.
  6. *Sully*

    *Sully* Well-Known Member

    We have the Imaginarium train table with train set from Toysrus. We got it for them for their 2nd birthday and it is played with every day many times a day. We have a small Thomas set that has been incorporated in parts and IMO they are of similar quality. No problems with anything. We have a LOT of Thomas trains and it is a collection on the grow. DS loves Thomas and collecting the engines we read about and/or he sees on the shows. DD also has some engines and enjoys train play.

    As for the tracks staying together, I'll admit this was a point of frustration for some time. They will come apart and until the kids learn to put them together it will be annoying. We're finally getting to a point where they are putting them together and creating different track layouts. I can see this aspect of the train set growing and becoming a new and different fascination.

    We all love playing with the trains around here!
  7. Danibell

    Danibell Well-Known Member TS Moderator

    I have mostly cheap track that we bought at target when my oldest ds was about 2 yrs old, so over 6 yrs ago. It works fantastic. We've bought a few thomas pieces as accessories, but for the most part the cheaper stuff works just as well. I do prefer the thomas bridges as they are sturdier and easy to connect to the ramps than the cheaper ones. We brought all our track/trains out for the twins a few months ago, and they are already pro's at disassembling and reassembling the track together! They can't make a circle yet, it's just a long line of track, but they like putting it together and taking it apart and driving everything with wheels on it! :lol:

    We are getting them a train table for christmas, after much researching we ordered this Melissa and Doug activity table, we didn't need one with a bunch of new track (we have TONS), and this one looked very sturdy, and it had room for cubbies underneath to hold the trains and track in. I can't wait to set it up for them!

    As for buying from the US, I don't even look where stuff is made so I'm no help there ;)
  8. maybell

    maybell Well-Known Member

    thanks again ladies! as always a wealth of knowledge!!
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