By Ron VandenBoom
There's something fascinating about watching miniature trains work their way around a well developed landscape. Childhood memories, reminders of past employment, or romantic thoughts of the smoke belching locomotives of years gone by are all, at least to some degree, brought back to life at Northern Montana Care Center.
Darrel Lander has decided to share his hobby with Care Center residents by donating a miniature railroad.
Lander, after a recent visit to the Care Center, was reminded that "the whole works were in my garage."
Lander teamed up with Dr. Robert Henderson and decided to donate his HO scale railroad to the residents.
Railroad enthusiast Clarence Henning helped pack the train and the landscape into boxes and then Eldon Mooney, Henderson, Mike Winchell, Tim VanderMars, and Daryl Anez assisted in transporting the train to the Care Center where it was reassembled just inside the south entrance.
The railroad was installed at a height appropriate for wheelchair viewing and Mooney and Henderson repaired and painted the scale model landscape and Barbara Mooney, Eldon's wife, was the "scenic artist" for the project.
Henderson, Lander and the Mooneys will maintain the attraction at the Care Center.
Lori Henderson, Care Center director, said the layout is a delightful addition to the south sitting room.
"Many of our residents worked for the railroad or had family members who did, " Henderson said. "So this is something that really is full of memories for them."
The Mooneys and Henderson belong to the Pacific Junction Railroad Club which also created the model railroad exhibit at the Railroad Museum in downtown Havre.