THIS spring a children’s favourite storybook character comes alive in Hampshire.

For ten days during the Easter holidays the Watercress Line in Alresford will be visited by Thomas the Tank Engine and Friends.

From April 14-23 families will be able to take rides on a real steam engine with Thomas’s smiling face on the front. There will be opportunities to meet the Fat Controller and to take part in plenty of Thomas-themed activities at the Imagination Stations.

A travel ticket includes an entire day’s travel on the steam trains that run along the whole line so it is possible to hop on and off at any of the four stations.

There will be a chance to enjoy unlimited rides behind Thomas in his carriages or in the Toad the Brake Van and also unlimited rides with Iron ‘Arry and a friend of Diesel’s. Children may even visit the cab with the driver.

The free activities include a Thomas themed children’s entertainer, rides on the miniature railway, daily story time, a Bouncy Slide for children aged three and over, Tea Cup ride, colouring, Thomas transfers, and DVD shows.

The Mid-Hants Railway Watercress Line runs between Alton and Alresford and trains run from 9.30am to 4.30pm. The steam trains run approximately every 30-40 minutes. For details see the website: or call 01962 733810.