All Aboard for a Holiday Treat

There was literally no chance of a rail strike. Not here. The many miles of tracks along the quaint towns and nature areas were always destined to remain as active as they’ve been for many decades.

The Train Club at Friendship Village senior living community in Schaumburg has set up its picturesque model train displays in several places throughout the community in celebration of the winter holidays. Over the coming weeks, the working models will be enjoyed by countless residents, their families, visitors and staff. A couple living at Friendship Village donated their Department 56 Christmas Village collection to compliment the festive holiday theme.

When considering moving to a senior living community, it’s not unusual for some individuals to fear having to give up beloved hobbies because of limited space. Resident George Magerl, formerly of Des Plaines, was consequently delighted to learn the opposite was true. Moving to Friendship Village actually gave him abundant space, the opportunity to spend more time on his model trains, and friends with whom to collaborate.

Friendship Village’s Train Club’s meeting space and workshop is a 900-square-foot room decorated with photos and artwork of all things locomotive, as well as model train layouts. Much of the equipment, including miles of track and hundreds of engines and train cars, have been brought from personal collections and donated by fellow train enthusiasts. 

Magerl commented that it’s difficult for people to pass the holiday train exhibits without being mesmerized. “It’s soothing to watch the trains go around,” he said. “It’s a good way to connect with other residents. When they see the trains, they get excited and want to talk about them. Many of them probably had train sets when they were kids.”

In addition to providing great enjoyment during the holiday display, the Train Club offers benefits throughout the year. Working on the building, decorating, designing, wiring and electronics of the model trains helps the participants hone their skills and maintain dexterity. They enjoy the opportunity to bond over shared interests as well as reminisce. Showing their displays to other residents and visitors, Magerl added, “helps us share our interests with the rest of the community.”

This year, there are three holiday train exhibits in common areas at Friendship Village. One, specially designed for residents in Reflections Memory Care, is constructed so that residents can easily operate the system to share in the joy.

Read the story as it appears in The Daily Herald