Thomas & Friends, Chuggington, The Little Engine That Could, and Mighty Express are train cartoon shows that kids absolutely adore. The fascination and joy that trains bring to children have echoed through generations.
The immense size and power of these machines, along with their ability to carry people and goods over vast distances, spark the imaginations of both the young and the old alike.
It’s no surprise then, that train-themed cartoons have become popular over time. We’ve put together a list of the most popular train cartoon shows. These range from enduring classics to contemporary masterpieces, and have brought delight to audiences around the globe.
Our Favorites Train Cartoons
Mention the word “train” to kids, and they’ll often immediately think of Thomas and Friends or hum along to various catchy theme songs from their favorite shows.
These shows showcase cargo trains, passenger trains, race trains, and animated locomotives and actively impart lessons about friendship, fairness, and the importance of fun!
12Ivor the Engine (1959-1976)
From 1959 to 1976, Ivor the Engine delighted generations of young viewers as a timeless kids’ cartoon centered around trains. Set in a fictitious part of Wales, this series actively shares the tale of Ivor, a charming green steam engine operating on a rural railway.
The engaging escapades of Ivor and his driver, Jones the Steam, and other endearing characters, charm viewers with their straightforwardness and warmth.
The duo, Oliver Postgate and Peter Firmin, created Ivor the Engine using a distinctive stop-motion animation technique, enlivening the train world in an attractive and visually unique manner. The soft storytelling, relatable characters, and charming railway system depiction captivate children and adults.
11The Little Engine That Could (1991, 2011)
The Little Engine That Could shines as a quintessential train-themed cartoon for children, having had adaptations in 1991 and 2011. The touching story centers on a petite yet determined locomotive that faces and overcomes significant challenges through perseverance and self-belief. The iconic phrase “I think I can, I think I can” embodies resilience and positivity.
This animated classic entertains children with its captivating storyline and delightful characters, imparting important life lessons. It educates children about determination, hard work, and self-confidence while engrossing them in the fascinating world of trains.
10The Magic School Bus Rides Again (2017-2020)
While The Magic School Bus Rides Again isn’t purely a train show, this 1994 classic series’ reboot often presents the legendary magical school bus morphing into a train. The transformed train whisks its passengers off to astonishing educational quests, crafting an unforgettable experience for young viewers.
This beloved series ingeniously fuses science, discovery, and fantasy to render learning fun and engaging for children and adults. By weaving train adventures into the narrative, the series enchants budding train enthusiasts and exposes them to various knowledge domains.
Chuggington, a British CGI TV series, vibrantly portrays a dynamic cast of trainees, known as “Chuggers,” learning about life on the rails.
Situated in a contemporary, vibrant world where train travel is the community’s heartbeat, Chuggington masterfully combines humor, action, and touching narratives to deliver valuable life lessons to its young viewers.
8Train Heroes (2012-2013)
Train Heroes, a Japanese CGI-animated series, unfolds the story of unique trains named the “Rail Rescuers,” who can morph into robots and collectively protect the rail network from disasters and evil forces.
Featuring thrilling action sequences and highlighting teamwork, Train Heroes adds an exciting twist to the traditional train cartoon.
7Tayo the Little Bus (2010-present)
Tayo the Little Bus, a South Korean animation series, revolves around Tayo, a friendly and curious little blue bus, and his vehicle companions. Although not strictly a train show, it dynamically showcases various modes of transportation and instills valuable lessons on friendship, responsibility, and problem-solving. Tayo, the Little Bus, has garnered a sizable international audience and has been translated into multiple languages.
Mighty Express stands as an excellent train-themed cartoon for children fond of trains and adventure. The series unfolds in a lively world named Tracksville, where a team of anthropomorphic trains collaborates with their kid friends to solve issues and undertake thrilling missions.
Each train in Mighty Express boasts a unique personality, skills, and abilities, forming a diverse and appealing cast of characters for children. The show adeptly merges exhilarating train action with valuable life lessons, such as teamwork, problem-solving, and friendship’s significance.
Robot Trains, a creative and action-filled animated series, captivates viewers with a world where trains transform into robots. In this South Korean animation, a group of train friends morphs into robots, each displaying unique skills and traits.
Kay, a high-speed train and the group’s leader, collaborates with his friends Alf, Duck, Selly, and Victor to shield their home, Train World, from various threats and challenges. As they venture on thrilling journeys, the heroes solve issues, learn vital life lessons, and overcome hurdles together as a team.
4Train School (2021)
Train School, a captivating and educational animated documentary, vivaciously unveils the train world to children. This series engages and educates children by introducing them to various facets of trains, from their history and functionalities to the intricacies of railway systems.
Set within a train school, the series journeys with a group of train students as they explore different types of trains, their unique features, and how they operate. With a knowledgeable teacher’s guidance and engaging lessons, the train students plunge into diverse topics like steam engines, electric trains, high-speed rail, and more.
3Infinity Train Kids Cartoons
Infinity Train, a cartoon train TV show, entranced viewers from 2019 to 2021 with its gripping narratives and fascinating premise. The series spotlights the adventures of different protagonists across various seasons, each undertaking a seemingly never-ending train journey through a mystifying world. This world brims with countless cars, each harboring its unique universe.
Catering primarily to a mature audience, including teenagers and adults, Infinity Train introduces a novel and contemplative take on the train-themed cartoon genre. It delves into complex themes like self-discovery, personal growth, and the aftermath of one’s actions, all while maintaining a sense of awe and exhilaration.
Since its debut in 2009, Dinosaur Train has won the hearts of young audiences and soared to immense popularity. This unique animated series marries the fascination with dinosaurs with the thrill of train travel, propelling children on exhilarating journeys through a prehistoric world.
The series revolves around Buddy, an inquisitive young Tyrannosaurus rex adopted by a Pteranodon family. Buddy, with his new siblings, undertakes adventures aboard the Dinosaur Train, an extraordinary locomotive capable of transporting them across various eras to meet and learn about diverse dinosaur species.
Dinosaur Train effectively interweaves education and entertainment, teaching children about paleontology, natural history, and various scientific concepts in a captivating manner. The show, with its catchy songs, vivid animation, and unforgettable characters, transforms learning into a joyous experience for young viewers.
1Thomas & Friends
Premiering in 1984 and still on the air, Thomas & Friends reigns as the most loved train TV show and a worldwide favorite among kids. Based on Reverend W. Awdry’s Railway Series books, this classic series chronicles the escapades of Thomas, a playful blue tank engine, and his locomotive companions on the Island of Sodor.
Thomas & Friends captivates children and parents alike with its engaging storylines, memorable characters, and invaluable life lessons. Each episode showcases Thomas and his friends tackling various challenges and learning about cooperation, problem-solving, and the significance of friendship.
Thomas & Friends, with its unique blend of model and CGI animation, splendidly animates the train world, making it visually enticing and charming. The series has given birth to numerous spin-offs, movies, and merchandise, cementing its position as a cultural icon.