Big day out with Thomas

“AN ELEPHANT’S graveyard,” whispered a friend as we strolled past gigantic locomotives. I didn’t argue because the NSW Rail Transport Museum always struck me as dreadfully sad, reminding me of those mythological destinations where elderly pachyderms supposedly go to die.

Grand old locomotives, no longer gleaming, ended their days here. Processions of rail buffs filed silently past the big beasts, as if at a funeral.

This was God’s waiting room for rolling stock, a retirement village for trains.

How dramatically times have changed.

A tired and neglected museum has been transformed into a spiffy theme park that opened last year – with Thomas the Tank Engine as a star attraction. New buildings have been added. The place even has a new name, Trainworks. The state government spent $30 million on the project.

The complex incorporates a real railway station, Thirlmere (with station­master