Saturday 25 December 2010

John Crane 100 piece Wooden Train Set

This summer, inspired by a fabulous summer photography competition on the John Crane blog, we made a "Where in the world is Jenny Woodenmum ?" blog and had great fun taking the Pintoy family on holiday with us and photographing them in unusual and exotic locations. We found the whole thing hilarious and it really kept the girls entertained during the long summer holiday, so it was just the icing on the cake when we won a fantastic selection of John Crane wooden toys for our efforts ! The first toy that we pulled out to look at today was the 100 piece wooden train set.

Even before Pierre woke up from his nap, Madhouse Daddy Mike was busy studying the plans and setting up the track. I detect an unfulfilled boyhood dream of having a wooden train track here ! The pieces slot simply together to create an intricate track with a raised bridge, level crossing and loops. I have played with Brio wooden train sets in the Early Learning Centre before now and this train set compares very favourably, being just as sturdy and easy to use.

It also comes with a wide selection of buildings, people, trees, signs and animals which allow you to create a whole mini world, allowing great scope for creative role play. We're at the grandparents' at the moment for Christmas but as soon as we get back home, Jenny Woodenmum and the rest of the family will be doing a spot of trainspotting and having walks and picnics in the countryside near the railway tracks ! Hours of fun and imaginative play guaranteed !

5-year-old Juliette (not to mention daddy !) had great fun setting out all the little figures and buildings and pushing the trains around the track so they could run down under their own steam from the top of the bridges. Juliette even had a bit of a learning session with the magnets, realising that the magnetic carriages would only join together one way round, being replused the other way around.

When 17-month-old Pierre (in his cute little Santa suit !) woke up from his nap, he instantly crawled over to investigate and squealed happily as he pushed the trains around the track and across the carpet.

The fact that there are two complete trains meant that Juliette and Pierre could both play happily together with no squabbling, which is a huge bonus for families with more than one child !

The only very slight negative point is that it will take up quite a lot of space, so we'll have to have a big reshuffle in the bedrooms to make enough room for it. We noticed on the John Crane website that they do actually sell a brilliant table for laying out the train set, which would make it much easier to move it about (for hoovering the bedroom, for example), but it's very pricey so we're having a think about that one at the moment !

This is a fabulous train set that will be played with for many hours and is sturdy enough to be handed down through the generations, unlike the modern flimsy plastic train sets. It's also more environmentally friendly to get back to old-fashioned wooden toys - and there's not a flashing light or electronic noise in sight !

star rating : 5/5

RRP : £49.99

Other reviews you may be interested in :


  1. In some ways I wish we had opted to go down the 'wooden' train set route as Thomas and friends do eat batteries (but they are also good fun).

  2. Looks like a good chunky toy that will last & last!

  3. Looks great - love wooden toys as they just seem better quality and remind me off some of the toys i had!


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