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The Sights and Sounds of Sodor on Cape Ann

PHOTO:  Halibut Point State Park, Rockport, Mass.
This location was used a stone quarry from 1840 to 1929.

Train Time:  Calling All Engines! (2020-2021)

This museum exhibition includes a four-by-sixteen foot O-gauge Thomas the Tank Engine train display in honor of the 75th anniversary of the publication of the first Thomas books.  This model train layout represents your favorite sites on Sodor in miniature and tells you more about local places of interest—like quarries, lighthouses, and farms—that are just like places Thomas would go to do his work.

Keep reading to learn more about the sights and sounds of Sodor that you can experience right here on Cape Ann by foot, car or even rail.

Quarries

Do you recognize this place from Sodor? It is the Ffarquhar Quarry! The Ffarquhar Quarry is at the end of Thomas’ branch line. Mavis, Diesel, ‘Arry, and Bert work here most of the time.

A quarry is a place where people get the rocks used for building. Usually it’s a big hole in the ground from which workers dig the stones. The rocks used to build the pyramids in Egypt, Mexico, China and other places around the world came from quarries, and so did the rocks used to make simpler things, like the curbs on our sidewalks, and many of the buildings in our own neighborhoods. Workers cut or blast stone into smaller pieces and then those rocks are transported by truck, train, and ship to where they are needed for building.

Did you know that there used to be many quarries near the Wenham Museum? You can visit one in Rockport, MA at Halibut Point State Park. Tour the quarry and learn all about how workers removed stones from the pit. Stones from Halibut Point were used to make buildings, bridges, monuments, and roads here in New England, and in far away places like Cuba and Chile. This quarry was used from the 1840s until 1929.

Today, the quarry pit is full of water, but it is not a safe place to go swimming. You can follow the trail around the quarry and enjoy beautiful views of the ocean.

On Sodor: Ffarquhar Quarry
Here at Home: Halibut Point State Park

 

Lighthouses

There are many lighthouses on the Island of Sodor. A lighthouse is a tall tower near the coast that shines a bright light at night to warn ships of dangers like rocks, reefs, or other hazards, and guides them to land or a harbor. Many lighthouses also have fog horns or bells that sound to warn ships of hazards when fog or stormy weather makes it hard to see.

In the daytime, lighthouses also help ships figure out where they are: each lighthouse has a different pattern painted on it so that sailors can tell them apart from the ocean. Lighthouses also flash their lights in unique patterns to help sailors identify them. The lighthouse in this picture is from the Thomas stories on Tidmouth Beach on Duck’s Branch Line.

 

There are lots of lighthouses near the Wenham Museum that you can visit yourself – in fact, in nearby Salem, MA there there are five of them! We didn’t have room to list them all here, but there are four highlighted below.

On Sodor: Tidmouth Beach; Arlesburgh Harbour; Sodor Bay; and more!

At Home:

Marblehead Light, Follet St., Marblehead, MA
Winter Island Park Light, 50 Winter Island Park, Salem, MA
Derby Wharf Lighthouse, Derby Wharf, Salem, MA
Eastern Point Lighthouse, Eastern Point Blvd., Gloucester, MA
Learn More about Lighthouses north of Boston >> 

 

Farms

There are many farms on Sodor, but Thomas’ favorite farm is Farmer Trotter’s Pig Farm! Trotter’s Pig Farm is situated on Thomas’ Branch Line, between Elsbridge and Maithwaite. In addition to the pigs, Farmer Trotter also keeps cows and chickens on his farm; he also has an orchard on site. Terence and Trevor, driven by Jem sometimes work there, and there oil tank and a field where Farmer Trotter grows carrots and potatoes.

There are many farms near the Wenham Museum, too – in fact, you might have been to a small farm just 1/3 mile away from the museum called Tendercrop Farm!

There are historic farms near us as well, including the Spencer-Peirce-Little Farm run by Historic New England. You can explore the grounds of the farm where there are sheep, chickens, and pigs, just like on Trotter’s Farm. Another farm you can visit is Appleton Farms in Ipswich, MA, which is run by the Trustees of Reservations. They also raise cows there and have a farm store on the grounds.

On Sodor: Farmer Trotter’s Pig Farm; McColl’s Farm; Sodor Dairy; Terrence’s Field.

At Home:

Spencer-Peirce-Little Farm, 5 Little’s Lane, Newbury, MA
Appleton Farms, 219 County Rd., Ipswich, MA

 

 

Search and Rescue

The Sodor Search and Rescue Centre is the the home of Harold, Rocky, Captain, Butch, Belle, and Flynn. It is on the coast, south of Maron and east of Suddery on the Main Line Loop. It is a combination of a Railway Station, Railway Shed, Fire Station, Garage, Dock, and Heliport.

There are search and rescue centers all around our neighborhoods, too – every Fire Department is a search and rescue center – although they don’t always have have a helicopter like Harold Near the Wenham Museum there are two Coast Guard Stations that have the same kids of equipment and facilities that the Sodor Search and rescue Center has, they are: United States Coast Guard Station Merrimack River; United States Coast Guard Station Gloucester. You can’t usually just walk onto the Coast Station, but you can often see their boats and helicopters working!

On Sodor: The Sodor Search and Rescue Centre

At Home:

USCG Station Merrimack River, 65B Water Street, Newburyport, MA
USCG Station Gloucester, Harbor Loop, Gloucester, MA

 

 

Railroad Bridges

This is the Sodor Suspension Bridge, a railroad bridge that crosses over the River Reagh
on the Main Line near Wellsworth. There are lots of railroad bridges on Sodor; they’re important to allow the trains to get over waterways or streets that cross their path.

There are many kinds of bridges that can have railroad tracks on them, like the Sodor Suspension Bridge, or the Rail Bridge over Canal Runby, which is an arch bridge.

There are railroad bridges near the Wenham Museum, too, like the Merrimack River Railroad Bridge that goes between Bradford and Haverhill, MA, and the MBTA/Commuter Rail Bridge that goes over the Danvers River between Salem and Beverly – sometimes you can see the trains on that bridge when you are on the bridge right next to it that’s for cars, bikes and pedestrians!

On Sodor: The Sodor Suspension Bridge; the Vicarstown Bridge; the Big Dipper.

At Home:

Merrimack River Railroad Bridge, over the Merrimack River between Bradford, MA and Haverhill, MA
MBTA/Amtrak Bridge, over the Danvers Rover between Salem, MA and Beverly, MA