Top Train Movies for Kids

A passenger train

 Gina Pricope/Getty Images

While many of us rarely interact with trains anymore — they are still integral to society, especially in major cities and when transporting goods across the country. Still, there is at least one group for whom trains spark a certain feeling of wonder: kids!

Trains and tracks can keep kids busy for hours of fun. With the help of these exciting train movies, you can teach your young children valuable moral lessons with loads of laughs and adventure, too.

of 06

"The Little Engine That Could" (2011)

The Little Engine That Could
Photo © Universal Studios

"I think I can, I think I can..." The timeless story of "The Little Engine That Could" comes to life in brilliant CG color in this animated version from Universal Studios.

The little blue engine takes a boy from the real world along with some fun loving toys over the mountain on a perilous journey. Along the way, they meet many challenges, but the Little Engine always remembers the sound advice she got from a wise old friend, "If you think you can, you can. If you think you can't, you can't. Either way, you're right."

The film may be a little frightening in some parts to children under the age of 4, so be sure to preview it if you're worried about your small child watching this one. Otherwise, it's great and teaches a great lesson: believe in yourself and don't give up!

of 06

"The Busy Little Engine" (2007)

The Busy Little Engine
©2005, Squirrel Tracks Wooden Trains. All rights reserved.

With the help of an informative narrator, a wooden toy train and his friend Pig learn about what real trains do. The story of "The Busy Little Engine" progresses as Pig asks questions about trains, farms and factories while the Busy Little Engine pretends to be a real train picking up the ingredients to make cookies.

"The Busy Little Engine" is filmed using live footage of a toy train and images of the toy train inserted into live footage. Images of real trains are also shown to help kids learn about different types of trains. An original musical score featuring three songs performed by Jimmy Magoo adds even more fun to the busy train and the inquisitive pig’s adventures. 

Recommended for audiences 2 to 5 years old, this fun little adventure is perfect for your locomotive toddler.

of 06

"Thomas and Friends: The Great Discovery" (2008)

Thomas and Friends: The Great Discovery
Photo © HIT Entertainment

There are innumerable "Thomas & Friends" DVDs containing episodes of the show, so kids who are Thomas fans can go nuts watching train episodes anytime. Thomas also stars in a couple of full-length movies that stand out as great train movies for kids.

Featuring Pierce Brosnan as the narrator, "The Great Discovery" is the first feature-length "Thomas & Friends" movie.

In the movie, Thomas the Tank Engine is happily going about his duties on the Island of Sodor when he gets lost in the mountains and discovers the long forgotten town of Great Waterton. Excited by Thomas' discovery, Sir Topham Hatt, controller of the railway, orders that the town will be fully restored for the great Sodor Day celebration.

of 06

"Thomas & Friends: Hero of the Rails" (2009)

Thomas and Friends: Hero of the Rails
Photo © HIT Entertainment

Thomas and his friends star in their first computer animated film in this feature-length "Thomas & Friends" adventure. Hear Thomas' real voice for the first time as he puffs around the Island of Sodor, desperately trying to help a new friend.

The story begins when Thomas discovers an old engine named Hiro hiding out on the island. Hiro's story fascinates Thomas, and Thomas vows to help the old timer become like new again. Despite many obstacles and constant mocking from Speeding Spencer, Thomas does his best to keep Hiro secret and help his new friend.

of 06

"The Polar Express" (2004)

Polar Express
Photo © Warner Bros.

"The Polar Express," based on the magical children's book by Chris Van Allsburg, tells the story of a young boy who takes a midnight ride aboard the Polar Express. He rides the magical train all the way to the North Pole, where his growing disbelief in Santa is dispelled by his first-hand experience.

This holiday movie is a staple in schools and preschools everywhere at Christmas time. Pajama parties and hot chocolate are in order when kids take a ride on the Polar Express! This fun film is appropriate for all ages but especially great for kids aged 3 to 13. 

of 06

"Train Master" (2008)

Train Master
Photo © MTI Home Video

This live-action adventure tells the story of a brother and sister, Thomas and Sarah, whose grandfather Jeremiah is fired from his longtime position as the Train Master for the Western Railroad in the Pacific Northwest.

When Thomas and Sarah come face to face with Justin, the son of the man who fired their grandfather, the kids set out on a dangerous course. Trying to prove themselves train masters in their own right, the kids end up on a runaway train bound for disaster. Everyone must pull together in order to save the children, and the kids learn a big lesson from their dangerous decisions. 

This delightful adventure might be a bit much for the youngest kids, but really great for elementary school children aged 5 through 10.