Thomas the Tank Engine welcomes friends aboard as he steams across the nation visiting more than 45 heritage railroads in the U.S. and Canada as part of the "Day Out With Thomas 2009: The Hero of the Rails Tour" presented by HIT Ent. and sponsored by The LEGO Group. This fun-filled event offers preschoolers and their families the opportunity to take a ride on a 15-ton replica of Thomas the Tank Engine, star of the THOMAS & FRIENDS series, on PBS KIDS and PBS KIDS Sprout, and features a variety of THOMAS & FRIENDS-themed entertainment. Each year the tour grows, traveling to new destinations, adding new activities and welcoming new visitors. Rolling out of the station for its 14th consecutive year, the tour begins in March and is expected to welcome more than one million passengers at approximately 300 event days through December 2009. During the "Day Out With Thomas 2009: The Hero of the Rails Tour," children will be provided with a "Tour Map," that guides them through the four station stops -- the Imagination Station, the Meet & Greet with Sir Topham Hatt, the Storytelling/Video Viewing area and the gift shop. After receiving four stamps on their map, each child will receive a 3D Thomas poster with glasses (while supplies last). Other highlights for "Day Out With Thomas 2009: The Hero of the Rails Tour" include: -- A meet & greet with Sir Topham Hatt, Controller of the Railway on the Island of Sodor. -- Thomas & Friends Imagination Station: featuring LEGO DUPLO bricks, hands-on arts and crafts activities, coloring sheets, temporary tattoos and engineering certificates. -- Storytelling, video viewing and live music. -- Performances by Bob the Builder (select locations). In a 20-minute, sing-along performance, Bob the Builder asks for aspiring Can-Do Crew members to help him build a shed for Thomas to sleep in while he's visiting the railroad. -- A large LEGO replica of Thomas the Tank Engine (select locations). -- Exclusive Thomas & Friends commemorative merchandise including a 2009 Day Out With Thomas passenger car. -- A variety of activities that reflect the local flavor of each stop. Tickets are available for this event by calling toll-free 866.468.7630 or logging onto www.ticketweb.com/thomas.html. For general information or to find a "Day Out With Thomas 2009: The Hero of the Rails Tour" event, visit www.thomasandfriends.com.