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Winter train display delights Wind Crest community

Created date

December 20th, 2011

The model train club at Wind Crest, an Erickson Living community in Highlands Ranch, Colo., has an annual tradition. Each year, these model train enthusiasts strive to fill their neighbors with holiday spirit through a train display that lasts from Thanksgiving Day until the first of February. And each year, their display features a different theme. This winter season, a combination of a Dickens Village, an old-London replica, and the North Pole won the hearts of the community. People watch the trains and look at all the details of the scene for hours, says Jim Murphy, Wind Crest resident and proud model train club member. When brainstorming the theme months ago, club member John Lillie suggested building the London Tower Bridge. Over a year s time, the wintery scene grew to include an 1850s Dickens Village, as well as the North Pole. The train travels from the North Pole into London when it crosses over the London Tower Bridge. This is the first time we ve connected two scenes, Jim says. Ron Poinsett built the bridge, a 5 by 3 structure crossing the London skyline and the River Thames winding along the track, all painted by fellow club member John Lillie. In fact, the club builds every aspect of the display, from the woodwork to the tracks to the bridges. Once the initial skeleton is completed, Ginny Murphy fills in the details the ceramic buildings and people, miniature trees, benches, street signs, and more. The details make it all come alive, Ginny says. All the buildings have accessories, like the Antiquarian Bookseller and accompanying woman reading a book. The entire U-shaped display, located by the stairs in the clubhouse, measures 8 by 14.

Making connections

Wind Crest s model train club brings together lifelong train enthusiasts as well as newcomers looking for a hobby. Best of all, it connects neighbors. Jim Andersen, who has always had a fascination for model trains, was delighted to discover the model train club when he first moved in. An active member for several years, he enjoys working on the displays. Ron was involved with the model railroad club every week for four years before moving to Wind Crest. It was one of the things that sold him on the community. He got to know it and love it. The only thing that could keep me away [before I moved to Wind Crest] was a big snowstorm or something like that, Ron says. Now that s no longer a concern since his maintenance-free apartment home is just a short, indoor stroll from the clubhouse and train garden. Ron used photos to build the London Tower Bridge from foam board, thick paper, and textured spray paint. Having an engineering background allowed him to build the bridge to scale. The residents look forward to this every year, Ginny says, not only the ones who get to lose themselves in the scene, but the ones who build it as well. Aside from their holiday scene, the club is also working on a permanent display revolving around the mining areas in the Colorado mountains. We re always working to make things better and better, says Jim Andersen.