wooden train track experts - help, please - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 21 Old 12-04-2009, 03:31 AM - Thread Starter
 
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We're thinking to get a wooden train track set for the kids for Christmas.

Do Plan Toys train tracks work with a Thomas train or two? How good are the Melissa and Doug tracks? What about Brio? I've heard the IKEA tracks really just aren't as good - is that true?

I was going to go Melissa and Doug, but the Plan Toys ones seem neat with the roads too, and then they are also more eco friendly. But then I saw that a starter Thomas set was only $35, and that is really the size my kids could probably handle right now, so buying bigger and more seems excessive... sigh..

Too many options - help!

Tjej

ETA: My kids are almost 2 and almost 4.
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#2 of 21 Old 12-04-2009, 03:50 AM
 
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All the different lines that I've seen are pretty much compatible. So you can start with a smaller set and add more later even if it's from a different brand.
We bought this set from Sevi around DS 2nd Bday. http://www.amazon.com/Sevi-81974-Vil...9909224&sr=1-1 It's not that awesome of a track set up, but DS really loves all of the different vehicles. Helicopter! Digger! Tractor! Wee-Wah! (That last one is the police car.)
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#3 of 21 Old 12-04-2009, 09:23 AM
 
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As far as I know Plan and Brio are the same company so I would have though they would work together.

I'm not a fan of the IKEA tracks, they have plastic connectors rather than being all one piece of wood. The connectors are supposed to stay in the track but I was always a bit worried about them since DS was very much in the put things in his mouth stage when we got the first train tracks for DD. I think thier trains are a bit tall to go through some of the other bridges too.

So far I have found all the brands we have (brio, toys r us and a couple of supermarket sets) all work OK with the puch along trains. The battery opperated ones occasionally get stuck as some of the tracks are slightly different heights. To be honest the fact that we set it up on the carpet causes more problems.
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#4 of 21 Old 12-04-2009, 09:32 AM
 
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I have 4 boys and my 18yr old started collecting wooden trains & tracks at 3yrs old so I have a huge collection of lots of different brands.

My 6 yr old has the plan garage we have some plan roadway for the cars and yes we have hooked our thomas / brio track onto the garage.

Jeana Christian momma to 4 sons Logan 18, Connor 15, Nathan 6, and bonus baby Jack 1
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#5 of 21 Old 12-04-2009, 01:04 PM
 
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Mind you, I'm on kiddo #4 using our wooden railway stuff, but we have a combination of Thomas, Brio, Ikea and generic wooden track. My preference is for the ones without the weird plastic connectors, but otherwise there isn't much difference between the new stuff these days.
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#6 of 21 Old 12-04-2009, 03:13 PM
 
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Plan and Brio are not at all the same company, but are absolutely compatible. There is another new company that is a spin off of Brio called Nuchi that has tracks in the same style. I believe the Thomas tracks are made by Brio, so definitely compatible, and the Ikea tracks work with everything, too, but like some PPs, I don't think they fit as nicely (they do make a really nice cheap option for expanding your track--no issues at all with the plastic connectors being at all loose or at risk of falling out; however, the bridges aren't tall enough for Plan/Brio engines).

We have Plan, Brio/Nuchi, and Ikea tracks and DS makes amazing train tracks using all of those pieces. He also really enjoys the road set from Plan that can link in with the train tracks.
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#7 of 21 Old 12-04-2009, 06:09 PM
 
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We have Thomas, Brio, Imaginarium and some generic brand. They are all compatable. If you are planning to have battery operated trains, you might want thomas track for inclines as they have ridge that provide traction. Also, the generic brand has wooded connecters that come off if pulled. If buying generic, I would check the connecters, maybe ensure that they are all in one peice like the brand name tracks.
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#8 of 21 Old 12-04-2009, 08:30 PM
 
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AFAIK all the wooden track is interchangeable/compatible. Personally, I keep bidding on lots on ebay hoping to score one for cheap - one of my dads friends is building DS a train table for xmas (based on the one by Little Colorado), which I can't wait to see finished... if it gets closer to xmas w/o my having won an auction I'll probably start bidding more, but atm, I'm hoping to win one for $50-60 shipped...
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#9 of 21 Old 12-04-2009, 08:34 PM
 
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DD is 3. Last year when she was 2, we got her the a couple small Plan Toys sets which included both road & rail stuff. She loves it and REALLY likes the road along with the track. We also bought the City Station and she has track and road coming out of it so her people meet there, then head off on an adventure via either road or rail. She appreciates the road and rail much more than she did when she got it last Christmas. Last Christmas she wouldn't have cared if it was just a track or just road.

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#10 of 21 Old 12-04-2009, 09:15 PM
 
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We have mostly Brio trains and buildings & accessories and Brio and generic track.

I mostly try to avoid the Thomas stuff as it feels a bit too commercialized for me.

As for the IKEA track, its only on one side. When flip the track over, its smooth, so we decided not to get it.

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#11 of 21 Old 12-04-2009, 09:16 PM
 
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OH!!! and the Plan Toys Plan City pieces are definitely interchangeable with the Brio track.

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#12 of 21 Old 12-05-2009, 12:26 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SparklingGemini View Post


As for the IKEA track, its only on one side. When flip the track over, its smooth, so we decided not to get it.
The Ikea track that we have has tracks on both sides, with the exception of some of the straight pieces, which is also the case with some of the non-Ikea track that we have.
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#13 of 21 Old 12-05-2009, 01:31 AM
 
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We have IKEA and Thomas, and they do not connect together very well. They work, but my toddler would get frustrated with some pieces becuase you'd have to push pretty hard.

Another parent told me that if you go to a hobby shop, you can buy wooden tracks that are much cheaper than buying a "set" like Thomas. I haven't checked that out for myself though.

Amanda , mama to my two boys: N (10/06) and : A (7/09)
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#14 of 21 Old 12-05-2009, 01:44 AM
 
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I decided to avoid Thomas completely since they have had so many recalls. Also in general we avoid stuff made in China for a combination of political, human rights, environmental and safety concerns. Most Mellisa & Doug, Brio and Thomas are made in China.

That leaves us with Plan toys, Ikea and Maple Landmark. Of these, Ikea is the least expensive and most basic, it's what we have started with. Though the quality isn't great, it's not the worst I've seen either. We have added in some of the Maple Landmark pieces, which are very high quality and can be purchased here and there. We haven't gotten any Plan sets, but I'm considering getting the crane, roundhouse or turntable since DS has really wanted those.

There are also many generic sets. At Target they have their own Circo line, Toys R Us has the Imaginarium line. There are others too that I'm not so familiar with such as Maxim.

Basically there are tons and tons of wooden train makers out there, and most are pretty interchangable.

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#15 of 21 Old 12-05-2009, 01:53 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by annalivia View Post
The Ikea track that we have has tracks on both sides, with the exception of some of the straight pieces, which is also the case with some of the non-Ikea track that we have.
same here.

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#16 of 21 Old 12-05-2009, 02:02 AM
 
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same here.
Yes, ours too. The curves are all double sided so they can face either way. Straights are usually one sided, but who cares , they work fine that way.

Timmy's Mommy WARNINGyslexic typing with help of preschooler, beware of typos
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#17 of 21 Old 12-05-2009, 02:24 AM
 
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As a mom to a train nut: IKEA all the way. it's inexpensive, good quality, looks and feels nice, does not break- and it's not made in china.
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#18 of 21 Old 12-05-2009, 09:36 AM
 
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What everyone else said but a few other bits:

The Ikea hills aren't high enough for the Thomas trains to go under, but you can work around that. The plastic connectors are a bit annoying while they're little, but when they're older and can pop them out themselves (even though they're not supposed to come out like that I don't think) they suddenly become a way to get extra "female-female" pieces, so there can be an up side.

We started with a used Brio set and that was great... then one grandparent got the Ikea set... Thomas started to arrive... and now we have a huge system and it's all fun. If you're not sure whether your child will love it, I'd start with the least expensive set (unless you are worried about the connectors 'cause I bet the Ikea set is usually the least) and see how it grows organically.

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#19 of 21 Old 12-05-2009, 04:50 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you, ladies! The rail/roadway combo for the future is a good thought. I am betting that would be very well used. I still haven't ordered/bought yet, but your input is very helpful.

The kids always like these things at stores and at other people's houses, so I'm sure it will be a hit.

Tjej
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#20 of 21 Old 12-06-2009, 04:05 PM
 
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I've not seen all the different brands, but of those I've seen I like the Thomas the Tank Engline one best by FAR.

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#21 of 21 Old 12-06-2009, 09:09 PM
 
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Just a heads up.. target has maxims city & harbor set on sale for 55.99 and theres click through coupons for $5 off w/ free shipping...
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