Thomas the Tank Engine and friends will be visiting two heritage railways in Essex later this year.

Thomas fans will get to enjoy a ride on a real steam engine, meet the Fat Controller and take part in themed activities such as face painting and storytelling.

If you know someone who’d love this day out, here’s when and where you’ll be able to see the country’s favourite Really Useful Engine:

East Anglian Railway Museum, Wakes Colne

October

This October you can experience a train ride like no other at the East Anglian Railway Museum.

Thomas and his friends will be dropping by for a spooky visit on October 28 and 29.

Admission on the day will include unlimited steam train rides on at least four character trains (Thomas, Daisy, Toby, Henrietta and Toad) as well as plenty of ghoulish fun.

December

Thomas will once again be greeting visitors during his very special festive days out on December 9, 10, 16, 17 & 23.

You’ll be able to shake hands with the Fat Controller and join him for storytelling and interactive re-enactments with Thomas and his friends.

Little ones will also be free to have fun in the Imagination Station, get temporary Thomas tattoos, watch a Thomas DVD screening, as well as plasticine and a colouring competition.

Tickets for both events cost £13 for adults, £9 for kids ages 2 to 15 years, and under 2s go FREE.

Visit www.earm.co.uk for more information and to book.

Colne Valley Railway, Castle Hedingham

On 30 September and 1, 7 and 8 October, Thomas and friends will be pulling into Colne Valley Railway.

Thomas will spend most of the day greeting visitors and taking them for rides in his express coaches. His friend Daisy will also be taking families for rides. If the weather is good you might be able to catch a ride behind Mavis in the goods train and take a trip in Toby’s carriages on the miniature railway.

At the fun Imagination Station children will have the chance to take part in several activities, including temporary tattoos, colouring, children’s games, play trains.

The Fat Controller will be on hand to greet guests, and everyone is welcome to explore the garden and large indoor model railways, signal box, and other displays.

Advanced tickets cost £14 for adults, £10 for children aged 2 to 14 years, seniors £12 and £44 for a family of two adults and two children. Children under 2 go FREE.

Visit www.colnevalleyrailway.co.uk for more information and to book.