Frequently Asked Questions

General Information

COVID-19 Statement

Given the continued threat of COVID-19 and variants of the virus, face masks are required for indoor areas of the N.C. Transportation Museum.

TSA requires proper wearing of face masks on the train, per federal law. Failure to comply will result in denial of boarding or removal and may result in penalties under federal law. Children under the age of two and individuals with disabilities who cannot wear a mask, or cannot safely wear a mask, because of the disability as defined by the Americans with Disability Act are exempt. Passengers will board and deboard the train in a one-way traffic flow through the rail car. Cars will be sanitized between each ride, including seats, windows, and handrails. Advanced purchasing is strongly encouraged for the train ride due to capacity limitations.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we want to make you aware of the following precautions in place for this great family event:

  • Cloth face coverings are required for all passengers on board the trains per current TSA regulations.  Under Federal Law, masks must be properly worn covering the nose and mouth during the duration of the train ride.  Passengers under the age of two and any passengers who are unable to wear a mask due to a condition protected by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) are exempt.
  • Boarding lines for trains will be expanded to allow for additional spacing between parties.
  • Capacity has been reduced on trains to allow for more seating flexibility and space.
  • Train cars are disinfected between runs.
  • Masks are required in indoor spaces of the museum (including buildings and stationary train cars) and are recommended outdoors anywhere social distancing is not possible.
  • Activities have been moved outdoors as much as possible.
  • “Breakfast With Sir Topham Hatt” will have additional space provided between parties at tables inside the stationary rail cars.  Tables and surrounding surfaces will be disinfected after use.  Masks will be required except when eating at the table.
  • Hand sanitizing stations will be readily available throughout the event site.
  • Enhanced cleaning and disinfecting protocols are in effect throughout the event site.
  • Advanced ticket purchasing is highly recommended due to capacity restrictions on trains and to reduce the number of in-person ticket transactions.
What is Day Out With Thomas™?

Day Out With Thomas™ is a family event that offers aspiring engineers and their families the unique opportunity to take a ride with the classic storybook engine, Thomas the Tank Engine™ at regional heritage railroads across the country.

Who is Thomas the Tank Engine?

Since Thomas the Tank Engine left the depot more than 70 years ago, this Really Useful Engine and his Island of Sodor friends have chugged their way into the hearts of preschoolers and grownups worldwide. Based on The Railway Series of classic stories authored by a father who loved trains and wanted a shared experience with his son, Thomas & Friends™ is a rite of passage that inspires the imagination while teaching the life lessons of friendship, exploration and cooperation.

What are the appropriate ages for Day Out With Thomas™?

Day Out With Thomas is a family event that welcomes passengers of all ages.

Where is the event?

The event is held at the N.C. Transportation Museum, at 1 Samuel Spencer Drive, Spencer, NC.

When is the event?

Sept. 24-26, Oct. 1-3.  The event runs from 8a.m. to 6 p.m. each day, though train ride times and performance schedules vary each day.  Be aware of this as you plan your visit to have enough time for the train ride(s) and all activities you’d like to see.

When do tickets go on sale?

Tickets will go on sale May 25, 2021 at 9am for museum members and May 26, 2021 at 9am for the general public.

How much are tickets?

Tickets are $20 Fridays, $22 weekends, ages 2 and up. Event tickets include all site activities and one train ride with Thomas. Combination Thomas & Percy Caboose Train tickets are $28 Fridays, $32 weekends. Percy Train tickets are only available as a combination ticket with your Day Out With Thomas™ ticket.

Friday visitors can also purchase an “All Day Pass” that allows for unlimited train rides aboard Thomas for $32.  A Thomas “All Day Pass” plus one Percy Caboose train ride is $36.

Museum members receive a $2 discount (Saturday and Sunday only).  If you are interested in becoming a member click here.

Breakfast with Sir Topham Hatt $12 per person (excluded from member discount).


How do I purchase tickets?

Tickets can be purchased online, by clicking the red “Buy Tickets” box on the Day Out With Thomas™ page or by calling 1-866-468-7630. Hours are 8am-8pm CST/7 days a week.  Ticketing questions can be emailed to info@ticketweb.com.  If you call the museum (704-636-2889), we’ll be happy to answer any questions, but we CANNOT take ticket orders over the phone. Tickets can also be purchased in person at the museum before the event, with cash or check payment only. Tickets may be available for purchase on site the day of the event with cash or credit card, but some dates or ride times may sell out, we advise to purchase tickets in advance.


Who needs tickets?

Tickets are required for guests ages two and up. The Day Out With Thomas™ ticket is inclusive of the train ride, DOWT activities and museum activities (see below).  No guests will be admitted to museum exhibits or DOWT activity areas without the purchase of a DOWT ticket, regardless of whether they plan to ride the train. All minor children must have a ticketed adult accompanying them for all event activities, including the train ride.


What is included in the ticket price?

A ticket for Day Out With Thomas™ includes the train ride with Thomas the Tank Engine, the option to purchase a Percy Train ticket (extra fee required), and a variety of Thomas & Friends themed entertainment and activities.  Guests will also have the opportunity to meet Sir Topham Hatt, the Controller of the Railway on the Island of Sodor and much more are also included in your Day Out With Thomas™ ticket.  A site map and schedule of activities will be available on site during the event.

How will I receive my tickets?

If purchased two weeks or more in advance of the event, guests will receive their tickets in the mail. Guests that purchase tickets closer to the event date can pick up their tickets at Will Call near the museum parking lot and the Thomas boarding area on the day of the event. ALL GUESTS will need to pick up armbands at ticket/information booths upon arrival.  Those booths will be stationed at all museum entry points.

Are there any refunds?

There are no refunds or exchanges unless the event is cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

This event is rain or shine.

What is the Sir Topham Hatt Breakfast?

Join the Controller of the Railway for a delicious breakfast aboard a stationary train set. Breakfast will be at 8:15 and 9:15am all days.  Guests will get the chance to eat a delicious pancake breakfast (pancakes, sausage, fruit cocktail and juice) then visit Sir Topham Hatt and have the opportunity to take a picture with him.  Seating is limited. Tickets are $12 per person. Everyone must have a ticket.

Will Thomas the Tank Engine be there?

Thomas the Tank Engine has traveled all the way from the Island of Sodor and has arrived Right on Time to take a ride with you and your family.

Will Percy be there?

Yes!  Percy will be joining Thomas at the N.C. Transportation Museum. He will be pulling the Percy Train, running on the same schedule as the regular Thomas train. Those wishing to ride Percy can add that option as part of their Day Out With Thomas™ purchase for an additional $8 per ticket. PERCY TICKETS ARE EXTREMELY LIMITED. VISITORS ARE ADVISED TO PURCHASE IN ADVANCE, THOUGH LIMITED ADD-ON TICKETS WILL BE AVAILABLE ON EVENT DAYS.

Will Sir Topham Hatt be there?

Yes, Sir Topham Hatt will take time away from his busy schedule as Controller of the Railway on the Island of Sodor to meet and take pictures with guests.

Do you recommend purchasing tickets in advance?

Due to the popularity of Day Out With Thomas™, advance ticket purchase is highly recommended. It is not uncommon for events to sell out. When purchasing tickets you will be asked to select a specific date and time for your ride with Thomas. If you purchase a combination ticket, you will also be asked to choose a separate time for your Percy ride.  Your ticket is valid only for that date and the times listed.  However, please feel free to arrive at the railroad earlier than your train ride time, because there are many other activities your family can enjoy.

Do you sell official Thomas and Friends™ merchandise?

Day Out With Thomas™ will feature a variety of themed merchandise. Cash and all major credit cards are accepted. An extensive selection of railroad and transportation related merchandise is also available at the N.C. Transportation Museum’s Gift Station. The Gift Station will be open throughout your Day Out With Thomas™ experience.

What if the event is cancelled? Is ticket insurance available or will refunds be processed?

Ticket insurance is not offered as a part of the ticket purchasing process.  If the event is canceled by the North Carolina Transportation Museum as a result of weather, health-related concerns including those related to COVID-19, equipment failure, or any other reason that would prevent it from operating, customers will be contacted regarding their options for refunds or rescheduling. 

What if the event is not cancelled, but we want to cancel our tickets?

For refund requests initiated by the customer, please see our printed refund and exchange policy associated with the event, which must be agreed to before completing an order through the ticketing system. 

Day of Event Information

What times do trains depart?

Friday train rides depart at 10, 10:45, 11:30 a.m. 12:45, 1:30, 2:15, 3, 3:45 p.m.  Additional Percy rides are available at 4:30 and 5:15 p.m. 

Saturday train rides depart at 9:15, 10, 10:45, 11:30 a.m. 12:45, 1:30, 2:15, 3, 3:45, 4:30 and 5:15 p.m. 

Sunday train rides depart at 9:15, 10, 10:45, 11:30 a.m. 12:45, 1:30, 2:15, 3, 3:45, 4:30 p.m.  An additional Percy ride will be available at 5:15 p.m.

How should I plan my visit?

Your ticket is for a day of Thomas fun and activities.  The time specified on your ticket is for the Thomas train ride (and Percy ride, if applicable) and that is the only activity for which you are locked in to a particular time. Other activities and entertainment have designated times throughout the event day.  Make sure that you’ve planned enough time before or after your train ride(s) to experience each activity.

When should we arrive for our train ride with Thomas?

It is recommended that guests arrive at the event at least one hour before their scheduled train ride departure.  Arriving early also allows plenty of time for finding parking, bathroom stops and getting in line. Arriving early will help us get the train boarded on time to keep Thomas on schedule, and will help make sure we don’t have disappointed passengers who have missed their train.  We recommend being in line for the train ride 20 minutes before your departure time.

There are lots of activities in addition to train rides during Day Out With Thomas™.  Those with train departures scheduled later in the day may wish to arrive early enough to experience other event activities prior to the train ride. The site is open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on each event day.

Is there assigned seating on the train?

Seating is assigned as guests board the train. Guests must be together during boarding if they wish to sit together on the train.   We encourage larger groups to be in line early to be seated together.  Social distancing will be observed on the train.

How long is the train ride?

Both the Thomas train ride and the Percy train ride are about 3 miles long and take about 25 minutes, occurring on the museum’s 60-acre site.

Are you limited to just one train ride?

Regular Day Out With Thomas™ tickets ($20 Fridays, $22 Saturdays) allow for one train ride aboard Thomas.  Combination Thomas and Percy Caboose tickets include a ride aboard each of those trains. Percy Train tickets can only be purchased as an add-on to your Day Out With Thomas ticket.

Those purchasing Friday tickets (Sept. 24 & Oct. 1) have the option of an All Day Pass which allows for unlimited Thomas train rides and all Day Out With Thomas™ activities for $32/ticket.  Those wishing to add the Percy Caboose Train (one ride only) can do so for $36/ticket.

How do I get to the N.C. Transportation Museum?

The N.C. Transportation Museum is conveniently located just minutes from I-85 in Spencer, N.C., about an hour’s drive from Charlotte, Greensboro, or Winston Salem.  From I-85, take Exit 79 and follow the brown Historic Sites directional signs. 

You can also take North Carolina’s Amtrak trains to get to the Salisbury Station located approximately three miles from the NC Transportation Museum.  Finding transportation from the train station to the event and back is the guests’ responsibility.  For train schedules and pricing, visit www.ncbytrain.org

CLICK HERE for more information.

Is there parking available on site?

There is parking available on site, with no charge.  Additional parking may be available in town near the museum, however, this is not museum property and there may be a parking fee.

Is there an ATM available?

There is not an ATM on the museum property.  The nearest is approximately a half mile north of the museum in the Food Lion shopping center.

What if there is inclement weather?

Day Out With Thomas™ events take place rain or shine. Please plan to bring an umbrella or raincoat if inclement weather is expected.  The Day Out With Thomas™ event takes place across our 60 acre historic site and there will be times spent outdoors walking between buildings and activities.

Are cameras allowed?

Absolutely! Guests are encouraged to capture their Day Out With Thomas™ memories for their photo album. Professional photographers are also available to take photos with Thomas and Percy for an additional charge.

Will there be food available?

Food vendors will be on site. Most food vendors accept cash and credit/debit cards but there are some that only accept cash.  The museum has three picnic shelters, or if you prefer, you are permitted to leave the site and return the same day.  There are some restaurants in Spencer and Salisbury (about three miles away) which has a wide selection of options.

Are strollers permitted?

Day Out With Thomas™ is a family event that welcomes guests of all ages. There is even a designated area for “stroller parking” during the train ride. Strollers will not be permitted on the train.

Are diaper changing facilities available?

A diaper changing room is available at no charge during Day Out With Thomas.  It will be easily found on the event map.  Please limit this area to one child and one adult.

Is the event handicap accessible?

The Thomas train and the Percy train both have a wheelchair lift and the N.C. Transportation Museum’s 60 acre site is handicap accessible.

If you have specific requests, simply ask a staff person who will do their best to accommodate your needs.

The N.C. Transportation Museum is both a working railroad and a former industrial site. As such, please be aware that there may be areas of the site with rough footing and track crossings that may present an additional challenge for visitors in wheelchairs or with mobility issues.

Are pets allowed?

No pets are allowed at Day Out With Thomas™ with the exception of registered service animals. 

Is there available lodging in the area?

Yes, and if you are staying overnight, there are special benefits available for Day Out With Thomas™ ticket holders, with your choice of free tickets included with your hotel stay or gift certificates to the museum’s Gift Station.  To take part in this, you must first book your lodging and then call the Rowan Convention and Visitors Bureau at (800)332-2343 to reserve your tickets or gift certificate. CLICK HERE for more information.

In Salisbury/Rowan County, there are a variety of lodging establishments just a few miles from the museum.  For more information on lodging options, please visit the Rowan Convention and Visitors Bureau. CLICK HERE for the website.

How do I find out about other Day Out With Thomas™ events?

You can find the complete Day Out With Thomas™ 2021 schedule. CLICK HERE for the website.

For even more Day Out With Thomas™ information, visit