Toys: Chugginton Wooden Railway Over and Under

This is a train set that looks suspiciously like Thomas the Tank Engine, right down to the font with the trains’ names on their undercarriages. Not like that’s a bad thing; Thomas is pretty universally awesome (unless you’re a diesel, I guess). This small set is compatible with Thomas’s Wooden Railway and the numerous other wooden railway systems out there, and it’s just about par for the course–you’ve got wooden tracks, two engines, and some plastic pieces that complement the tracks. I like the plastic pieces that let you form the double-stacked tunnel you see in the picture. You can do the same thing with most other systems (running one track under an overpass) but this seems a little sturdier than most. Until your kids smash it to pieces, which takes about 2 seconds.chug!

I will say that, as a standalone toy, there’s not a ton of replay value here. You set it up, which takes a few minutes, then you push the trains around the small figure eight. I’m an adult, and that couldn’t keep me occupied for long, so I imagine it must be really tedious to a small child. On the other hand, if you have many other tracks, you can loop this one in as part of a bigger Island of Sodor (or whatever the Chuggington version is called) complex.

Or you might find that half the fun is imagining that “Chuggington” is the nickname for a frat brother who chugs beer really well.

Bottom line, this is a good extension to a bigger set of tracks if you get a good deal on it; just hope that your kids don’t start asking why the trains don’t have numbers on them and aren’t on the Thomas shows.

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