Do you have Geotrax? Of course you do, nearly every parent of a young child has some number of Geotrax toys these days. Do you want to expand your simple figure 8 train layout to something much more imaginative for your little one’s remote control train to follow? Maybe you already know about buying add-ons for your Geotrax world and you are ready to find the right one for your set at this point. If that’s the case you are ready to get my take on the Geotrax Workin’ Roundhouse.
This toy is meant as an add-on to go with the Geotrax basic set. It’s important to note that in and of itself it’s not really much of a toy…it was just never designed to stand alone. The contents of the box are:
(1) three stall Roundhouse that is connected to a thick straight with a turntable in it.
(1) straight track with train wash station
(1) straight track with fuel station
(3) long straight ‘ramps’ (these are each roughly the length of two or three regular straights. They are ramps because the Roundhouse is roughly three inches off the floor to allow room for the turntable to work.
If you are a reader of Thomas the Tank Engine books you’ll recognize the Roundhouse or shed right off. If not you may need to be told that this is where engines go to be washed off, repaired, and refueled. For the more technical train fan a Roundhouse is a must as every real engine ends up in one sooner or later.
You can also add connections also, easily. Simply press the ends of the ramp track into the ends of the roundhouse track to make that connection…it’s not the stagger tooth connection most Geotrax pieces use, it’s more or a large key into a keyway due to the thickness of the pieces. The bottom of the ramp connects to your Geotrax rail and road pieces just like any other piece…no worries, little hands can tie this into the system easily! There is a lever on the front that can be turned one way to let the train pass unobstructed or it can be put in the other position to lock the locomotive on the turntable when it gets there. When the locomotive locks on the turntable the coaches automatically decouple and drift back down the ramp while the track is blocked by descending arms like the ones used at a real life crossing.
The engines own power then turns the turntable slowly across all three available positions. When it reaches the bay you want the locomotive to enter you simply reach down and shift the lever back to the position that would’ve let the locomotive pass in the beginning and it’s released on it’s way. Our engines are not the 2007 models so we have no reverse on our remote controls. This means that once we are in the wash or fuel bay we have to replace the engine on the turntable by hand to get back underway. Even with a reverse feature you’d have to manuallly couple the coaches back into place.
The middle chute would allow the train to descend down the third ramp and on it’s way if you had track attached. We don’t have enough track for this type of layout so our third rail simply ends on the carpet. Even if this was hooked up you would exit the Roundhouse without your coaches! Part of the challenge of building a good track layout is devising something that will run without interference and the Roundhouse makes that difficult. That said, not everyone will have this hang up and so this won’t always seem like as big a problem as I make it out to be.
My boys and I normally run more than one train on a section of track. When the turntable is used and the coaches are left abandoned on the track it’s easy to have a crash when the next train comes by if you aren’t paying attention.
C’mon, it’s Geotrax! If treated properly this could last for tons of runs on your Geotrax railway. The plastic is thick and the tabs used for assembly are sturdy. No problems with this one at our house. Kids seem to enjoy the Workin’ Roundhouse and think that it looks neat. All indications are that it’s problems are much bigger problems for the big (adult) kids than for the little kids that Geotrax is designed for.