All aboard! After 65 years, Thomas still popular with youngsters

Sunday, June 6, 2010
Four-year-old Austin Tarter, son of Cheryl and John Tarter of Sikeston, plays with his Thomas the Tank Engine trains in his bedroom. This year marks the 65th birthday of the character created by a father, the late Rev. W. Awdry, for his son. Leonna Heuring, Staff

SIKESTON -- Thomas the Tank Engine has been chugging along for nearly 65 years, and today the No. 1 blue engine remains, well, No. 1 with preschoolers.

"Thomas has been in our house for a long time," laughed Cheryl Tarter of Sikeston.

Tarter's 4-year-old son Austin currently likes to play with Thomas engines, and her oldest son, 7-year-old Leighton, used to love Thomas, too, Tarter said.

One of Austin's favorite things to do is line up his nearly 100-train collection. Austin said his favorite Thomas character right now is Kevin, a crane who helps the engines when they need repaired.

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