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a blue train on a steel track

The historical Strasburg Rail Road has been hosting Day Out With Thomas for many enjoyable years. The success of this event relies on a team of dedicated individuals. From the event’s fun activities, to the main attraction of riding Thomas the Tank Engine™ or his pal Percy, the railroad’s excellent crew works hard to provide a fun and entertaining atmosphere for children of all ages. Every person has a special role at the railroad, and you can spot them hard at work when you and your family come to visit.


The Engineer plays an important role during your ride on the rails. You can recognize this team member sitting in the cab of the train, or by their engineer cap and hickory-striped denim overalls. The Engineer knows Thomas and Percy inside and out, from the way they were built to the mechanical operations required to keep them rolling down the tracks. A primary responsibility of the job is to control the throttle while maintaining the steady pace of the train. The throttle increases and decreases the speed of the locomotive by regulating the release of steam built up in the boiler. It takes between 200-250 gallons of water to produce the steam for each trip. The steam is the “energy” that causes the train to accelerate. While the trains are operating, the Engineer keeps in close communication with both his train’s Conductor and the railroad’s Trainmaster to create a delightful experience for all.


Outside of a railroad, a “Fireman” is generally referred to as someone who safely extinguishes fires and keeps the community safe. However, the Fireman at Strasburg Rail Road has a different job description. This role involves feeding and agitating the coal fire in the firebox. The amount of coal used for each 20-minute trip ranges from 200-300 lbs. As the coal burns, it heats the water in a large cylinder with many tubes known as the boiler; this creates the steam necessary to power Thomas. The Fireman is responsible for making sure the fire is hot enough so that the Engineer can safely maintain the momentum of the train. The Engineer and the Fireman rely heavily on each other during this process. It is truly hot and heavy work!


The Conductor is easy to spot! He will be either on the platform or roaming throughout the train cars. Keep a lookout for a cheery disposition, a conductor’s cap and a black three-piece suit. Aside from making sure everyone is safely in their seats, there are several other duties the Conductor is responsible for. First and foremost, the Conductor is responsible for the movement of the train. The Conductor tells the Engineer when it’s safe for the train to start and stop. Additionally, this friendly crew member, along with the help of a couple Trainmen, offers a pleasant “hello” and “welcome” during the boarding of the train, collects tickets, and can answer any questions you might have. The Conductor’s main goal is to ensure a comfortable ride for passengers and crew members alike.

Red Caps

The Red Caps at Strasburg Rail Road have several different responsibilities; they truly know the railroad inside and out. The main purpose of the Red Caps is to assist guests with anything they might need. For example, they are happy to answer questions you have about the history of the Strasburg Rail Road, direct you to the many Day Out With Thomas activities, point out the restrooms or even which car you will be riding on. You may even see them strolling by with a couple of balloons for a guest who is celebrating a birthday. You can recognize them by the red caps placed on their heads. They are sure to help you and your family feel at home!

Sir Topham Hatt

Keep your eyes peeled for Sir Topham Hatt™, the Director of the Railway on the Island of Sodor. With several trains running, Sir Topham Hatt makes sure the engines are all on time. He is an honorary member at the Day Out With Thomas events! Be sure to find him in his iconic morning suit with a yellow vest and a black top hat, waiting to greet you and take a picture with your family in the designated event tent.

Enrich your time at Day Out With Thomas by pointing out each team member and talking to your family about the specific role they play. Your kids will love finding the Conductor and the Engineer during your visit. Make sure you leave time to take pictures with your favorite characters, say hello to Thomas and Percy, and experience all the fun activities that the Day Out With Thomas has to offer! We can’t wait to see you there!