My boys are mildly (read as: crazily) train obsessed. Both of them. We did C’s birthday party last year at New Hope Valley Railway and we visit the stores that have train tables a lot. C asks to go to Barnes & Noble to play trains (mind you, we have a train table here at home, too). So it was inevitable that C would declare Tom’s Train Station in Raleigh “heaven.”
Tom’s Train Station is in a mall I was a little wary of. It is anchored by a Burlington Coat Factory, is clearly an older place, and is kind of hard to find and navigate. I actually thought Tom’s Train Station was going to be a dud when we first walked in. There is a small train model for the kids to watch but the front of the store is packed with more Hallmark-style gifts and mementos. Yet then, we navigated our way to the back of the store and there was not just one but TWO glorious train tables.
These tables were filled with wonderful arches, bridges, Chuggingtons, Thomas characters and more. There is a bench provided for parents to sit on while their kids play and play and play.
Surrounding the train tables are rows and rows of kids train stuff. There was a vast collection of Thomas & Friends collectibles, trains, books, pieces, clothing, tables, a Thomas jack in the box, etc. Yet Tom’s Train Station also had Chuggington pieces and Dinosaur Train pieces to buy.
FYI, the interior is a little crowded so try to leave strollers in the car.
Tom’s Train store was fantastic for my boys yet this place also meant for folks who hobby in model railroads. The store goes on and on and in the back there are rooms full of model railways, systems, trains, and sets. There are vintage Lionel train sets and even though I had no idea what I was looking at I could tell there were some trains of real value. So I kept my sons far from that area.
When we were done playing trains and purchasing one little reasonably-priced Thomas character (I like to help local businesses out when I can, especially when we squat at their train tables for almost an hour) we went back out to the mall. There was a large model railroad complete with buttons for kids to push. Also in the mall area was a larger scale Thomas train. It is, however, meant to be looked at and not touched.
We had a great time here. C is already asking to go back.
Tom’s Train Station
The Shops at South Hills
1239 Buck Jones Road
Raleigh, NC 27606
Phone: 919-388-7246 Fax: 919-388-8611