I (Matt) took Benjy and Isey to the little trains today. They have a few of the trains running on New Year’s Day. We turned up and were standing around chatting to people, to be told that there were four trains on the track if we wanted a ride. As the run was a ‘members only’ occasion there were not many children to be passengers (apart from the big children that were also enjoying the rides). We were quickly offered a ride behind ‘Toby’.
Toby was made by one of the members. He said that he had been making a steam engine, but it had taken rather longer than he intended. When Grand-children started to approach a lot quicker than the engine he decided to make an electric instead. This turned into two Tobys. He has two Grand-children, so two engines made sense and I guess it was a lot easier making them the same. He had both of them running today and they look just like Toby the Tram Engine. He is thinking of calling the second one Timothy.
After one lap riding behind (what we later found out was called) Timothy, I was offered a drive. So we set off with the boys sitting behind me. Then the boys were allowed to drive under my supervision. It was very easy with Benjy, as he just did what I asked him to do and responded fairly quickly. Although when coming in to the station he had to be helped to slow down a bit quicker. However when Isaac had his first go he started off with the train in reverse gear and thrust the controller on to quite fast. I was very quick to stop the engine using the controller and my feet! I think I had been lulled into a sense of security by how easy it had been with Benjy. Isey proceeded to learn how to drive well and after a while was responding well to me saying ‘faster’ or ‘slower’.
Having been round a few times we got off so the boys could run around. We raced a few trains and Benjamin won every time. (That gives you an idea of the speeds involved.) We then went back to the station and were offered a drive of another engine. This one is green, apparently it doesn’t have a name, it is number 5601. This had a diferent method of control for the boys to get used to and a button to press to make it do a bee-boor sound. Benjamin was characteristicly gentle with the throttle and Isey turned the knob a lot less gently. We quickly found out that the engine had a lot of power and that I didn’t want Isey to take it to full speed.
I tried to teach them to look ahead down the track to see if there were any engines ahead so that they could go faster/slower as appropriate, but this was mostly lost on them – maybe next time.
When we were leaving Isaac was very lovely as he was totally in his own little world. I couldn’t work out if he was being a train or a plane. I don’t think I have seen him so gorgeously far away, yet also quite responsive. It was very child-like and happy.
I forgot to take the camera! Oh well.