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Thomas is back.

After a 10-month hiatus for urgent heart surgery, Thomas, the Cromwell Lions Club beloved ride-on train and a favourite of Cromwell children, has been nursed back to health.

The train, which became ill while on duty at SantaLand last year, has been rejuvenated with a new tractor body and a fresh coat of paint.

Cromwell Lions Club president Russ Fowler said more than 250 hours of labour were spent by Lions club and the Cromwell Menz Shed members working the project.

Cromwell man and Lion John Lister averaged an additional 15 hours a week for the past six months alone.

“If anyone came down [to the Lions den] when John was here, they were given sandpaper and put to work,” Mr Fowler said.

Project costs were kept to only $3000 thanks to the generosity of businesses, he said.

For Mr Lister, Thomas’ rejuvenation was very much a labour of love.

“I enjoy doing this sort of thing I’ve enjoyed almost every moment of it. What else would a retired man do?” he said.

“There’s a lot of satisfaction and we will be reminded of that every time we see the smiling kids all about.”

Smiling children and adults were the result on Sunday when Thomas’ rejuvenation was celebrated at the Cromwell Lions den.

Elise Graeve (2), of Wanaka, with Thomas.

Elise Graeve, of Wanaka, was very excited to spot Thomas while at the bike park with her family.

The two-year-old made her way to Thomas on her balance bike and was “very happy” to be given a ride with her dad and granddad.

Smiling from ear to ear afterwards, the Thomas fan said “Thomas choo choo was fun.”