Thomas and his friends enter into the spirit of Christmas



Thomas the tank engine is on a special Christmas mission and he is enlisting the help of North Canterbury children.

The little blue engine and his friends will begin delivering presents from Santa’s North Pole toy factory to the children of Sodor from this Sunday, December 6, at the North Canterbury Model Railway Club’s rooms in Blake Street, Rangiora.

The club has been busy setting up a special Thomas Grotto, which president Arthur Linnell believes is the first of its kind in New Zealand.

Among the displays will be a tree with train tracks, which Mr Linnell has been constructing.

“I saw a picture in an advertisement in a UK magazine and decided I needed one, but I couldn’t find one anywhere, so I’ve made up my own version.

“It’s taken a lot of hours to put it together, but it’s all worth it.”

The train tree gave Mr Linnell the idea of decorating the clubrooms and the main displays with Christmas lights and decorations.

“And then the actual grotto idea came. It’s a model railway with a Christmas theme,” he says. “It’s what we all want for Christmas trains.”

The Thomas Grotto will be open during the Rangiora Sunday Market this weekend, December 6, and will continue to be open each day until Christmas Eve.

Santa Claus is expected to pop in each day from Sunday, December 13, “to make sure Thomas is doing the right thing”.

“It’s going to be a learning curve for us with not doing it before, so we want people’s comments about what we can do better,” Mr Linnell says. “You can only see as far as your imagination goes, so we are keen to hear other people’s ideas.”

Entry is $2 for adults and $1 for children, with the children receiving a “Merry Christmas ticket” from Thomas. For 50 cents, young visitors also get to drive Thomas and his footwearNike News