The only “DAY OUT WITH THOMAS” in Asia – Meet the tank engine on Oigawa Railway

Oigawa Railway will hold an official event “DAY OUT WITH THOMAS 2023” with the theme of children’s television series “Thomas the Tank Engine”, which is popular all over the world, and the steam locomotive train “Thomas the Tank Engine” will be operated.

Oigawa Railway C11 steam locomotive operated as "Thomas the Tank Engine" (Image by: Oigawa Railway ©2023 Gullane (Thomas) Limited.)
Oigawa Railway C11 steam locomotive operated as “Thomas the Tank Engine” (Image by: Oigawa Railway ©2023 Gullane (Thomas) Limited.)

Reduced courses for Thomas and Bertie due to the disaster

Due to the damage caused by Typhoon No. 15 in September 2022, the Oigawa Main Line is still out of service between Ieyama and Senzu, and is being transported by a substitute bus. For this reason, this year as well, the Thomas will depart from Shin-Kanaya Station and only turn around at Ieyama Station on the way.

There are two round trips a day, one in the morning departing from Shin-Kanaya Station at 10:38 and the other in the afternoon departing from 14:14. You cannot get on and off at Ieyama Station or transfer to a substitute bus bound for Senzu Station.

The Thomas will be operated for a total of 122 days from April 29 (Sat/holiday) to December 25 (Mon), 2023, which is the largest number of days ever.

Ride tickets will be sold by lottery entry method by Lawson ticket this time as well. The application timing is determined by the travel schedule, and the first lottery for April to June rides is accepted from February 24 (Fri) to March 3 (Fri). The ticket price is 3,400 yen for adults and 1,710 yen for children. In addition, travel agencies such as Daitetsu Advance (Shimada City, Shizuoka) are planning package tours, and you can apply for them to ride the Thomas.

The “Bertie the Bus”, which runs alongside the train tracks according to the operating time of the Thomas, is a special bus with a tour guide that can only be boarded by those who have participated in a dedicated tour organized by Daitetsu Advance. Traffic is still closed near Fukuyo Station on Route 473 due to the effects of sediment runoff caused by heavy rain caused by the typhoon. For this reason, the Bertie will take a route to turn around at the tourist facility “KADODE OOIGAWA” in Shimada City, Shizuoka.

When the road is restored, the Oigawa Railway will promptly shift the Bertie to the operation section to Ieyama Station, and has set out a policy to increase the chances of running side by side with the Thomas (See the chart below for details such as the schedule for “Thomas the Tank Engine”, “Bertie the Bus”, and “Toby the Tram Engine”).

[Chart] The schedule for "Thomas the Tank Engine", "Bertie the Bus", and "Toby the Tram Engine"

“Unprecedented” special services for 3 days only

Daitetsu Advance also organizes various tours that include a ride on the Thomas. Some plans allow you to ride the “Toby the Tram Engine” that debuted in August 2022 between Senzu and Okuizumi on the Ikawa Line, and the special tours are also available with charter bus “Bulgy the Double Decker Bus” between Shizuoka Station and Shin-Kanaya Station. There are not only one-day plans with a recommended itinerary, but also free plans that includes a hotel stay and a ride on the Thomas. You can choose according to your schedule and purpose.

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On the day Thomas runs, the “Thomas Fair” will be held, with Shin-Kanaya Station as the main venue and Senzu Station as a satellite venue, where you can meet Thomas & Friends.

At Shin-Kanaya Station, “Flynn the Fire Engine” will be waiting for you, and you can also watch the Thomas turn twice a day on the turntable. At Senzu Station, where the Toby departs, “James,” “Percy,” “Hiro,” and “Winston” are gathered and you can enjoy taking commemorative photos.

By the way, the first time the Thomas was operated on the Oigawa Railway was in July 2014, and it will soon enter its 10th year. As a new attempt suitable for this milestone, Thomas and Bus Bertie will perform a special operation in an “unprecedented format”. According to Oigawa Railway, it will be a project where you can enjoy scenery and atmosphere that you have never experienced before, and details will be announced around mid-April.

The special services is held on July 14 (Fri), August 4 (Fri) and September 1 (Fri), 2023, and the Thomas will be set for two services, in the afternoon and the special operation, and no service in the morning.

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