This must surely be the toy of choice for any train loving tot – a Bigjigs wooden replica of a Southeastern high speed train.
The much-loved family run firm has linked up with one of the country’s biggest rail operators to make a fun sized version of Britain’s fastest domestic train service.
With its distinctive big wheels that run along tiny wooden tracks, the toy will be an ideal addition to any toddler’s train set. And while it won’t reach the 140mph top speed of Southeastern’s real high speed trains, which run between Kent and London, it is sure to inspire the imaginations of youngsters across the country when it goes on sale.
The toy came about after Southeastern Information Delivery Manager Chris Horn – who has young children – approached Bigjigs Toys Managing Director Liz Ireland with the idea. Bigjigs, which is based in Folkestone, Kent, loved the proposal, so decided to bring it to life for fans big and small.
A percentage of the sales from all toys sold will be donated to Southeastern’s two chosen charities, the Dame Kelly Holmes Trust & the Railway Children.
The wooden toy replica trains, which are recommended for children aged three and above will retail at £15.49 per train through high street retailers, including Fenwicks and Notcutts, and online at www.bigjigstoys.co.uk
Bigjigs Managing Director Liz Ireland said: “We were delighted to be asked by Southeastern to produce a High Speed train replica. Bigjigs Rail welcomes this design into the range and looks forward to working with Southeastern and its charities.”
Southeastern’s Chris Horn added: “Working with Kent based company Bigjigs to help our charities, the Dame Kelly Holmes Trust and the Railway Children, is brilliant. Bigjigs are a family run business and really care about their products, with replicas of many famous locomotives. To see replica toys of our high speed service go from an idea to the shop floor available to the general public is amazing.”
Southeastern started its high speed train service in 2009. It travels from St Pancras to Stratford International, Ebbsfleet and Ashford International as well as other Kent destinations including Canterbury, Folkestone, Dover, Rochester and Maidstone.
The service, which travels at speeds of up to 140mph, has significantly cut journey times for thousands of commuters. For example, travel times on high speed from Ashford International to St Pancras International take just 38 minutes compared to Ashford International to central London on a standard train service, which takes around 80 minutes.
Bigjigs was started in 1985 by former teachers Peter and Liz Ireland who wanted to make learning fun with the use of traditional wooden toys. Back then, they started by making jigsaw puzzles by hand in their garden shed to sell at local craft fairs and agricultural shows.
Now they sell their more than 1,800 toy products as far and wide as Australia, USA and South Africa. Their current toy range includes their Bigjigs Rail collection, as well as dolls, outdoor toys and puzzles.