SHELBY — Clickety-clack. Clickety-clack.
A train chugged along railroad tracks – passing a passenger-filled depot and green fields. Wide-eyed children with grins on their faces pointed at the model train as it passed.
Tommy Forney, Shelby Parks and Recreation Department amusement supervisor, said people of all ages love trains. That’s why the newest addition to the Mickey Shull Izzi Rotary Train Depot is so special.
Joe Harand, a long-time Shelby resident, donated his antique model trains for a permanent display at the depot. The model trains were a Christmas gift to then 6-year-old Harand and his brother.
That was 1932.
Eighty years later, the set has found a new home in Shelby.
The antique models can fit in your hand, but they’re detailed to look like a life-size train. The display at the train depot includes a model engine, an observation car, a mail car and a Pullman car. The models, which are from a 1930s Lionel Standard Gauge train set, are encased in glass for everyone to see.
Harand said his brother had the train set for decades. When Harand’s brother died in 2008, the train set eventually came to Shelby.
“I was very, very excited and thankful when I found it was going to be on display,” Harand said. “My mom and pop would be really pleased.”
Forney said the new display is a welcome addition to the depot.
“(The models are) quite rare and in good condition,” Forney said.
“It’ll be here for people to enjoy,” Forney said.
Shelby City Park hosted a train exhibit and dedication Saturday to introduce the public to the new train display. Piedmont S-Gauge Train Club brought their modular exhibit featuring American Flyer trains.
“You see the way the kids’ faces light up,” said Bill Ware, a member of the Piedmont S-Gauge Train Club. “It makes you want to give back.”
Want to visit the Mickey Shull Izzi Rotary Train Depot?
The depot is open Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 1-6 p.m. and Sunday from 1:30-6 p.m.