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So You Want to Expand Your Toy Train Set…

By Nicole Balch |

That’s our toy train table above, set up in my daughter’s room. She loves it, and expanding it has been our go-to gift for her lately. Birthday, Christmas, learning to use the potty… all train-centric occasions. And if I’m being honest, I love rearranging the track almost as much as she and her little brother love playing with it.

Most of our engines and accessories are from Thomas the Tank Engine, but did you hear that the license for the entire line has been sold to Mattel? No word on what will change and what will stay the same, but in the meantime, here are the best options for extending your train table (whether officially Thomas branded or otherwise).

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The Best Additions to a Train Table Layout

BigJigs Complete Wooden Train Set

If you're starting from scratch, but you know you're going to want to go all out, this is a great set.
Available Here for $150

• Nicole Balch is the founder of Making it Lovely, a design blog about living a stylish life and transforming the so-so. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook, or catch up on all of her posts here on Babble.

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About Nicole Balch


Nicole Balch

Nicole Balch writes Making it Lovely, a design and lifestyle blog about living a stylish life and transforming the so-so. Her work has appeared in Better Homes & Gardens, The Chicago Tribune Magazine, Ladies' Home Journal, and other publications. She lives in Oak Park, Illinois with her husband and two young kids. Read bio and latest posts → Read Nicole's latest posts →

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8 thoughts on “So You Want to Expand Your Toy Train Set…

  1. Juliet Robinson says:

    Are all these tracks interchangeable? I have a vintage train set from my mom’s childhood and wonder if these would be compatible…

  2. NicoleBalch says:

    Yes, these are all interchangeable! I think train tracks have been a standard size for a long time, but you can pick up some individual pieces (like the little adapters or bumpers) and make sure they fit before getting larger sets or items.

  3. veronica r says:

    Do you secure the tracks, trees, etc down with anything? My son loves playing with his trains, but tears everything up….

  4. Pamela says:

    One other thing to note is that Ikea sells track and sets that are interchangeable, too, and I believe they are less expensive than either Thomas or Brio. Just in case folks want to beef up their sets with extra track pieces.

  5. NicoleBalch says:

    It seems like most wooden tracks are interchangeable. We started with a set from Target (Circo), and that was inexpensive too.

    Veronica, you can use those Suretrack clips to secure the track. We just use them on the elevated sections, but you can do the whole setup if you want to.

  6. Sigers says:

    Do you know how much I love you for this post?

    I am trying to create a “big boy” Thomas-ish room that makes him happy but does not make me want to stab my eyeballs out. Plus, a train table play area smack dab in the middle of the house that does not make me want to stab my eyeballs out.

    I liked your storage rack post, which inspired me to do some open shelving He’s a Montessori kid anyhow. Open racks are the way to go for them. And I have to laugh that you enjoy the trains as much as I do — who wants to just make a circle? I almost lost my mind yesterday when I didn’t have the right connectors to make the bridge work.

    Anyhow, keep the “Living With Trains” posts coming. :)

  7. JOhn says:

    Hi. Did you start with the Bigjigs set or the Thomas Figure 8? I like the savings of BigJigs but prefer the Thomas accessories. Thanks!

  8. NicoleBalch says:

    We started with a figure 8 set from Target (Circo). At the time, we didn’t know how into the set our kid would be, but we’ve expanded like crazy since then. And Sigers, I’m so glad this was helpful!

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