THE KIWANIS special
Since 1955, the Kiwanis Club of Goldsboro has operated the miniature train at Herman Park. The old train will now be used to carry museum visitors to outdoor exhibits in Vermont.
Today, a NEW train will continue to delight families, with proceeds supporting local youth organizations here in Wayne County, NC.
ORIGINAL 1953 TRAIN: Purchased in 1955 from Whiteville, NC, by the Kiwanis Club of Goldsboro for the City of Goldsboro, the "Kiwanis Special" ran every summer through 2021 (except the Covid-19's 2020) in Herman Park for generations. That's almost 70 years of family fun.
The original locomotive and two cars were manufactured by The Miniature Train Company, of Rensselaer, Indiana. The entrepreneur who started the company began with a train in his back yard, which became a hit in his neighborhood. Sears stores purchased trains from MTC to use in their Christmas decorations. Between 1934 and 1956, when MTC was sold to Chance Amusements, 240 trains were manufactured in Rensselaer and installed around the country. Fewer than 40 remain in service. Similar to automobiles manufactured in the 1950s, MTC trains are now antiques, and we think should be treated as valued objects.
Goldsboro's train, Serial #688, was sold at auction (by its owner, the City of Goldsboro) on February 16, 2022, to a new owner, a helicopter company located in Vermont. This company plans to completely restore the old train and donate it to the Shelburne Museum in Shelburne, VT. There, the refurbished train will take museum visitors to see outdoor exhibits on 45 acres during the museum's season (summers) probably beginning in 2023.
NEW TRAIN: In 2021, the City of Goldsboro and the Kiwanis Club of Goldsboro made the decision to replace the original train with a new one, with the idea of continuing the miniature train tradition for the next 70 years. The existing tracks, installed in 2012, will continue in use (updated annually as needed). The Swannee River Railroad Company of Lufkin, TX, custom manufactures a replica of the original MTC G-16 train from an appearance standpoint, except with all modern components. The seats of the new train are slightly more comfortable for adults riding the train.
VOLUNTEER-DRIVEN: Train operations are staffed entirely by volunteers and friends from the Kiwanis Club of Goldsboro, and its sponsored high school Key Clubs at Wayne School of Engineering, Wayne Early Middle College High School and Goldsboro High School (2006-2018). Additionally, Eastern Wayne High School 's Key Club (sponsored by Sunrise Kiwanis Club) provides outstanding service to train operations.
Net funds from train operations are used by the Kiwanis Club of Goldsboro for the benefit of children in Wayne County, through organizations like Partnership for Children, Salvation Army, Boys & Girls Clubs of Wayne County and others, in addition to supporting Key Clubs.