Shining Time Station is a train station with a population of 8008 that resides on the Indian Valley Railroad and is located in the fictional town of Shining Time. The station is managed by Stacy Jones, the station manager whose grandmother Gracie ran the station when she was Stacy's age. The station's workshop is run by railroad engineer and mechanic Henry "Harry" Cupper. In the second season, Harry is transferred to a new station in Fort Farley and is replaced by Billy Twofeathers, while Mr. Conductor (Ringo Starr) went to the North Pole with Saint Nicholas and his cousin, the new Mr. Conductor is George Carlin, starting in the second season.

A local named Horace Schemer (simply called Schemer by his friends) runs the station's arcade and is always finding new ways to make more money or to protect his arcade. He serves as the series' comic relief. Schemer thinks that strange goings-on in the station happen because the station is haunted. His catch phrases include "Genius time" (for when he has an idea), "Schemer's system of success" (for when he wants to impress his friends) and "This place is haunted". Starting in the second season, Schemer would sometimes be aided in his schemes by his nephew, Schemee.

Harry's granddaughter, Tanya and Stacy's nephew, Matt also visit the station occasionally. In the second season, three new children visit the station: Harry's second granddaughter, Kara; Stacy's second nephew, Dan; and a new girl named Becky.

Other visitors to the station include various townspeople, such as socialite and gossip Midge Smoot, farmer Ginny Johnson, general store proprietor Barton Winslow, bus driver Felix Perez, Shining Time's mayor Osgood Bob Flopdinger (referred to as the mayor of East Shemp in his initial appearance), and J.B. King, Esq., the superintendent of the Indian Valley Railroad.

There is a jukebox inside the arcade that houses a band that perform for the nickels that are dropped inside. The band consists of Didi the drummer, cowboy twin brothers Tex and Rex who together play between them one guitar larger than them, Grace who plays bass guitar, and Tito the leader who plays the piano and collects the nickels they accumulate.

Mr. Conductor is a tiny man who lives in a switch house inside the mural and tells stories of Thomas the Tank Engine to the kids. He can teleport in a cloud of his magic gold dust.

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