Take Along Thomas & Friends
were first released in 2001 by Learning Curve as a series of die-cast model trains and portable play sets which are designed for preschool children but adults enjoy collecting them too. This opportunity was presented with the discontinuation of the ERTL Thomas trains
which also included ERTL Gold Rail Series
line that enjoyed a pretty good run with a loyal following of collectors. They were certainly known for their fine detail, attention to scale and coloration.
And so the Take Along Thomas Collection was established, however, these toys are certainly different from their design compared to very detailed ERTL train collection. Both lines are die-cast metal but the Take Along Thomas & Friends trains are chunkier in composition thus making them appear visibly more like toys. By 2004 the Take Along series replaced ERTL Thomas trains.
One of the distinguishing characteristics by which these two die-cast train lines could be told apart was in how the trains attached to one another. Take Along introduced their special two-way magnets for connecting the trains and cars together, while ERTL instead used couplers also known as hook-and-loop couplers. The new scope of die-cast Take Along engines closely mirrored the major and minor characters featured in the movies and course from the television series as well some from The Railway Series.
Learning Curve followed the success of their predecessor by offered Take Along metallic limited editions while also including special characters from the The Railway Series such as favorites like Take Along Culdee, Take Along Mike and Take Along D199. Additionally Learning Curve RC2 added die-cast rolling stock trucks and vehicles which were non-speaking characters. To further note this toy maker was innovative in utilizing technology to appeal to their audience, children. This was accomplished by offering Talking Thomas & Friends which used individual voices who would say commonly heard phrases from the television series, like I’m a really useful engine.
Other unique marketing channels included a host of play-sets which included two or more characters. Some offerings included a single engine with the play scene which matched the movie featuring that character like Hero of the Rails and they also included a DVD. There was also occasion for some characters to be made with lights and sound chips. In addition to the individual characters, a number of play-sets have been produced, either containing two or more characters, or a single engine with play scene and DVD. Some special editions have been produced with a metallic finish, and there are some models fitted with sound chips and lights.
In 2009, the Take Along die-cast line made by Learning Curve would change hands with Mattel. Under the Fisher-Price label these new die-cast trains would be rebranded and called Take-n-Play. In 2010 the Take-n-Play line became available with the reintroduction of old models with upgraded faces and paint colors and the release of all new characters as well. In late 2011 Mattel formerly announced their Acquisition of HIT Entertainment.
Please enjoy this Complete List of Take Along Thomas trains and use it as a Collector’s Guide to die-cast Take Along Thomas engines and trains. The photo gallery will also help identify these train characters in case you haven’t seen them before.
LIMITED EDITION Silver Metallic Take Along Thomas
This is a Brand New Take Along Thomas Limited Edition engine which was made in metallic silver. This is the chance to step back in time and own one of these prized collectibles. Rarely seen especially Brand New this train is just awesome. For details and pricing
Take Along Thomas Trains Guide for Diecast Engines
Other Lists of Thomas the train manufacturers