Recall: Wooden Thomas the Tank Engine Toys

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission announced yesterday a recall of certain Thomas & Friends Wooden Railway Toys sold between January 2005 and June 2007 due to lead in the paint. Read the CPSC news release and the recall web site. It looks like you pay shipping charges they’ll reimburse you for shipping charges to receive a replacement and a "free gift." I own some of the recalled items, so I’ll report back as to the nature of the free gift.

See previous: Testing toys for lead.

Photo of recalled toys.


26 Responses to “Recall: Wooden Thomas the Tank Engine Toys”

  1. Airwick says:

    Though we don’t own any of these ourselves, I consider the “you pay to ship it back” patently offensive – with or without “a free gift.”

    It’s not that hard to setup a pre-paid shipping label download … that, or include a real honest *check* (ie not a coupon for more toys) with the replacement toy to cover your shipping and handling costs ($9.70 or so to cover priority mail plus return receipt).

    June 14th, 2007 at 2:24 pm

  2. Divrchk says:

    I called and actually got through today. The free gift is a train, though the woman couldn’t tell me which one. I told her that I shouldn’t have to pay to get their problem corrected and she said that the cost of the train/gift would make up for the shipping. I said I’d rather forgo the gift and not have to pay shipping for their mistake. What if it’s a train that we already own? I think I’m filing with BBB on this one. Ridiculous!

    June 14th, 2007 at 5:25 pm

  3. Jim says:

    We try to avoid licensed characters so we haven’t been bit by this one (thankfully), but my heart goes out to the parents that have.

    I am both surprised and not surprised that RC2 is requiring shipping be paid by those affected. With a 1.5 million unit recall, the shipping could make for a hefty chunk of additional change (much less replacing all the units).

    The BBB complaint is a good starting point, but I think you might see something from at least one state’s attorney general on this one.

    June 15th, 2007 at 12:25 pm

  4. Divrchk says:

    They have changed their tune. Now the website states that they will send a check separately to cover the cost of ground shipping. Better than nothing! I think the envelope and postage cost us just shy of $2 to send in one small piece. I doubt I’ll even get half of that back. It’s pocket change but still…

    June 16th, 2007 at 4:27 pm

  5. Marxo Harp says:

    Can they guarantee the new ones havent been lead-ed?? We are really benefiting from free trade with the Reds.

    June 17th, 2007 at 5:29 pm

  6. chris p. says:

    Hello, I am with Viles and Beckman, LLC. We are actively investigating the current Thomas the Tank Engine/RC2 lead toys debacle. If any parents or toy owners would like their toys to have their lead levels check (in an independent lab in Massachusetts) please contact our firm. We will happily accept your toys, return them (if you so wish), and inform you of the results of the testing.

    Thank You,
    Chris P.

    For more information please email (any of the addresses below):

    July 11th, 2007 at 10:58 am

  7. Jeremy says:

    I received mine replacements today. The free gift I received was Toad.

    July 27th, 2007 at 6:41 pm

  8. Megan says:

    I received a package with a letter yesterday thanking me for my patience as they are trying their best to get the replacements out as soon as possible and for my patience a free gift, S.C. Ruffey. The letter also stated that I would be receivng a check for the postage in a separate letter. I have yet to receive any replacement trains for the ones I shipped to them.

    August 9th, 2007 at 7:36 pm

  9. Rose says:

    Does the Thomas the Train recall apply to the die-cast models also??

    August 15th, 2007 at 7:56 pm

  10. Sara says:

    The postage check only covered a little more than half my postage. We received Diesel as our free gift. No sign of the replacement trains yet. It’s been well over 8 weeks now.

    August 26th, 2007 at 2:56 pm

  11. sandy says:

    I paid $3.41 in postage to return 4 items.I was sent $2.15 and a diesel train which my grandson already has.RC2 says thats a fair amount for shipping blames the post office I guess.No sign of replacement trains after 7 weeks. What a joke this whole return thing is.

    September 4th, 2007 at 8:25 pm

  12. rachel says:

    We sent back 8 items. I got an email that allowed me to check when I will get the replacements. It says that the free gift will be sent Sept. 23 and that the 8 replacements will be sent November 6. That’s quite a wait!

    September 13th, 2007 at 9:18 pm

  13. Leslie says:

    I returned the Ice Cream Factory along with several of the cars and signs. I checked the status of my return on-line with the link I was sent. I noticed that my order listed the Sodor Scrub N’ Shine instead of the Ice Cream Factory. When I emailed RC2 to inquire about this, they replied that the Ice Cream Factory has been retired, and that they “were sending the Scrub N’ Shine in its place which is of equal monetary value.” However the Scrub N’ Shine is $10 cheaper than the factory, and my sons already have an engine wash, which is a non-electronic version of the same toy. I’m not happy with RC2 and won’t buy anymore Thomas in the future.

    September 14th, 2007 at 10:31 am

  14. Eban Schletter says:

    I think this recall business is just out of hand now. The recalled Toad car is the one they sent us as a free gift when they replaced the Thomas toys that got recalled last time! Upsurd!

    I wrote the comany (RC2 corporation/Learning curve). I hope others do the same. [ and/or September 27th, 2007 at 7:47 pm

  15. Eban says:

    oops – pardon my mis-spelling of absurd.

    September 27th, 2007 at 7:49 pm

  16. Bobbie Pickett says:

    I would like to sell my toys back to the company. Do not need a replacement or the toys I have

    September 28th, 2007 at 8:46 am

  17. Summer says:

    Leslie…the same thing happened to us and like you we don’t need an engine wash, much like we did not need cheap $10 Toad we got as a gift. I found the address to the corporate office on website and wrote them stating we should have been warned the Ice Cream Factory was no longer made (though I’m sure somewhere they have the mold and could replace the factory). And, we should have been offered a choice on the replacement. Like you I noted that it is $10 cheaper than the factory was. I encourage all of the parents who are angry about this to send letters and emails they’ll do something about the way this was handled.

    September 29th, 2007 at 5:51 am

  18. KRISTI says:


    October 2nd, 2007 at 8:20 pm

  19. LilaUK says:

    I received my replacement skarloey a few weeks back and of course TOAD!! Which is being recalled. GGGRRR But I have a question, did anyone else’s replacement smell newly painted??? Im curious if they have just repainted the trains they recalled and resent them???? My returned skarloey didnt come in a box – not sealed or anything…. just wrapped in some paper…
    Is this how everyone else’s have arrived?

    October 4th, 2007 at 5:13 pm

  20. Susan Bosworth says:

    We got the gold car as our gift but no replacement trains in sight yet. Whats sad is that with all the recalls that it seems that toys for Christmas this year are going to be not in abundance as they usually are. How do you explain to a 4 year old why he got mostly clothes? of course I”ll get books and probably video games but still. I wanted toys to encourage his imagination and what I got was death on the Island of Sodor. So sorry kids this year no toys because the Chinese are cutting corners and trying to kill you since the toothpaste debacle fell short but they still wound up killing our cat with the tainted food.

    Sorry to be so irate but this has come to the point of being absolutely ludicrous and where is a bottom feeding lawyer to make them pay?

    BTW Eban – RIGHT ON and if you send that as a petition, I’ll be more than happy to sign on with you. (

    October 6th, 2007 at 5:29 pm

  21. JACLYN says:

    I was wondering the same thing, I sat there and really looked at them and they don’t appear new. They were wrapped in tissue paper and plastic bags and they smelled like paint. Some of them have marks and scratches in the train and I’m convinced the reason they are taking so long is they are taking the paint off them and re-painting them instead of giving you new ones. Then on one of the cars the paint was chipping off, what am I going to do call up and send it back and wait another 5 months to get it back. It’s a shame you spend thousands and they could care less. The even more infuriating thing is the Thomas people aren’t saying a word, it’s there brand and product, don’t they care that RC2 is costing them to lose customers. It’s one of the more ridiculous recalls I have even been involved with.

    October 26th, 2007 at 5:58 am

  22. Randy says:

    I find most of the comments on this site most amusing. First some facts…RC2 should have never promised such a short turn around time. They admit that. It has always been the case that shipping would be refunded to the customer. My check was for more than my actual postage. Yes it is dissapointing to find that a peice that you sent in is now retired and can’t be sent back. However, it is most ridiculous to think Learning Curve could just go manufacture one especially for you. I too am out an ice cream factory but I contacted RC2 and told them I already had an Scrub and Shine. They allowed my to pick another item from the catalog. My choice, same price point.

    It took twelve weeks to get my trains and destinations. That’s actually a fair time for a large recall.

    Next, recall items were never promised in original packaging. You should have kept the packaging if you wanted packaging. We were asked to only send the effected items. Not the package, not the accessories.

    Next, who in their right mind thinks that RC2 is spending the money to strip paint off an train just to repaint it. We are not thinking here. It would cost more to do that than to just make new.

    Finally, if you are not satisfied with the quality of what was returned to you, call the company. They have always taken good care of their customers. I have found them to be most accomodating for requests. Maybe a little less grumble, a little more understanding and a little more positive communication might be the remedy.

    At least the comment were an amusing read.


    November 1st, 2007 at 2:25 am

  23. monbebe says:

    Hey Randy,
    I actually have a friend who worked for Disney and they went through a similar recall. (I don’t remember the toy) They actually DID repaint all the toys and said it was cheaper to do that than to send out new ones. Your posting sounds like you are just out to belittle people, not to be helpful. People are posting here to get helpful advice and to vent, not to be made fun of or to be someone else’s amusing read. I felt I had to say that, I’m sorry if I offended anyone by my post. I don’t even have any of the recalled toys! I was just checking to make sure the metal die-cast ones weren’t recalled, yet. Thanks.

    November 5th, 2007 at 4:04 pm

  24. Courtney says:

    I have been affected by both of the Thomas recalls. My youngest son loves Thomas, and I will continue to buy him these trains. I feel the company is doing everything it can to take care of the problem and not put our children at risk. Granted it is a pain to have to search out the items and send them back, but the company is trying to make it easy with paid postage and free gifts. I applaud the company on its fast replacements and friendly emails. Life is too short to get mad over a toy recall, they are trying to fix it!!! I will keep buying Thomas the Trains as long as my son wants them. They might be expensive and have some recalls, but they are collectible and will be passed down to my grandchildren someday.

    December 19th, 2007 at 8:39 pm

  25. nick says:

    I think that the letter to the company is funny, do you really think that this or any company is going to stop using cheap labor in other countries, if consumers keep buying their products? Especially if consumers keep buying their products at places like Wal-Mart, who demands that suppliers make their products as cheap as they can in order to sell to them. When will we learn that we always get what we pay for. Stop demanding cheap products then companies will stop making them. Every dollar we spend is a vote as to how we want the world run if you don’t want to spend your money voting for cheap labor from other countries laden with a whole host of other problems, maybe we all need to rethink what and where we buy.

    April 29th, 2008 at 4:58 pm

  26. Zheng says:

    We have sent the recalled items (3 in total ) back to RC2 for almost one year. Haven’t received the replacement or refund yet, only a piece of ugly so called gift from them (which indicates that RC2 did receive the items from us).

    They first sell toys painted with lead to my son, then they just stealed them with us paying the postage!

    We won’t buy anymore Thomas.

    June 24th, 2008 at 2:53 pm

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