Piccadilly Care Centre residents Lyle H., left, and Elay H. who were both railway employees and recreation assistant Mark A. take in the model train set assembled by volunteers at the care centre. (Contributed)

Piccadilly Care Centre residents Lyle H., left, and Elay H. who were both railway employees and recreation assistant Mark A. take in the model train set assembled by volunteers at the care centre. (Contributed)

Model train in Shuswap allows former railway workers to reminisce

Recreation assistant says the model was almost assembled when COVID-19 restrictions hit

Residents of the Piccadilly Park Place care centre have recently seen the reopening of some recreational activities halted due to COVID-19.

One of the resumed activities allowed a pair of former railway workers a chance to reminisce.

Mark Anderson, a recreation assistant at the care centre, said he and a group of residents began putting together a large scale-model train set and village at the end of February. After two weeks of fun, however, COVID-19 restrictions put a halt on construction. He said the model train, which was purchased with help from fundraising activities at the care centre and donations from Home Hardware, Canadian Tire and Touch O’ Texas, sat idle for months, although residents were anxious to return to it.

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Anderson said activity at the train table was recently able to resume with some physical distancing measures in place, and none were more excited than Elay Huley and Lyle Harper, who each spent a lot of time around much larger trains in the past.

Harper was an engineer with CP rail for more than 30 years and Huley, known to his friends as Ed, was a train conductor for the Kamloops Heritage Train Association. According to Anderson, Huley said working on the train was a lot of fun and brought back good memories while Harper was glad to spend time with others who are also enthusiastic about the rail system

Most of the work assembling the train set was done by residents at the care facility, and Anderson said they made all the decisions on the layout of the model village which lines the track.

While Anderson said hand sanitizer and other precautions were already in use during recreation activities long before the COVID-19 pandemic , he praised the procedures the care home and Interior Health have set up to allow activities like the model train to proceed once again.

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jim.elliot@saobserver.net

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Seniors