We posted this blog about train enthusiast Abbie, who was so fed up with people telling her that trains are for boys that she changed her mind about choosing a new train set for Christmas. We asked our supporters to share photos, stories and messages to reassure her she really isn’t that unusual.
Turns out, yep, girls really love trains.
No surprise to us, but something the toy industry clearly finds hard to believe.
Thank you so much to everyone who took the time to share their stories and pictures. Says Abbie’s Mum, Kim, “All these messages of support for Abbie are wonderful, she is so excited and really really looking forward to Christmas now in hope of getting her train set! Thank you for sharing them: she really is over the moon!”
Take a look at a selection of the messages we’ve passed on to Abbie. Do take a look at the facebook post for more – they’re gorgeous!
“I’m 27 years old and this is my train set. I currently live with my parents so it’s in their conservatory. I’ll soon be moving in with my fiancé and have plans to have my model railway in a shed in the garden which I’m going to do up to look like a station building (station name, clock, etc.). My fiancé’s not interested in trains at all so he groans whenever I drag him round a model railway show or to our local heritage railway on the Severn Valley (which I’m a member of)!
“As a child I remember my teacher making comments to my parents that I always chose to play with the wooden train set with the boys. However, my parents always encouraged me to play with whatever toys I wanted and they bought me a Lego train set which I still have to this day. There’s a model railway shop local to me where you’ll often find a woman behind the counter. And despite all my fiancés jokes about my love of trains, last year he bought me a pocket watch and whistle (I’ve already got the engine driver’s hat and GWR jacket!).”
A fellow train lover,
“Trains are just trains, they’re not for girls or boys. The best present I ever got for Christmas was an electric lego train set (it was this one Lego 7745 Electric Inter City Train Set). I think I was 8. It was great as not only was it a train set but you could build the trains in different styles and it came with stickers of different train companies around Europe, I got some extra track too. It was honestly my favourite ever toy, I ended up with so much stuff to go with it that we had to get a special box to put the bits in.
“It makes me really cross that shops think that some toys are for girls and some for boys, it’s total rubbish. No one ever made me feel like it was funny for a girl to have a train and I think it would have really upset me if they did. I can understand why it’s made you feel not sure about having a train but I do hope that you believe everyone telling you that the shops are wrong. I hope that if you change your mind again you can get a brilliant train set and have as much fun with it as I did with mine.”
Sophie (via email)
“Hi Abbie, I have always loved trains – real ones and toy ones – but when I was a little girl (in the 1970s) my mum and dad didn’t think of buying any for me and my sister. We used to go up the road to some friends (boys) who had a toy railway like yours. Now I have two boys and a girl, and they all love trains.”
Alison (via Facebook)
“When I pick my daughter up from school, if we have some spare time before we go to collect her brothers she always asks can we go and park at the station to watch the trains please. I also loved trains as a child, had the whole Thomas the Tank engine collection. Dear Abbie – you know what you like better than anyone in a shop who’s never met you. Don’t give up on your trains!”
Caroline (via Facebook)
“My 2 daughters are pushing to drive their stepdad’s 7 1/4 inch gauge train (and sometimes get to). They are now 6 and 8 and working towards understanding the operation of a steam engine so they can drive those when old enough, as well as the more straightforward push and go.”
Clare (via Facebook)
“Abbie, when I was little one if my favourite toys was my trainset! I now love playing trains with my son (he’s 4) and I can’t wait until my daughter (she’s 1) can join in with us too. #everyonelovestrains”
Jenny (aged 32!)