While most people line their garden with rose bushes, Walter Wills lined his garden with trains. Walking through this Garden Railroad at their former home was something out of a dreamworld. With custom tracks around the entire perimeter and train cars whizzing past each other at various intersections, it was a source of pride and the envy of other train hobbyists.
Once Walter and his wife, Jane, began making plans to move into The Crossings, he knew he would need to modify his hobby to move indoors. “I knew the Garden Railroad was going to come down and I had to put it all back in the box. When we were completely moved in, I subscribed to the Z Track Magazine,” recalled Wills. The magazine offered some new ideas on how he could downsize his hobby to an apartment sized track and train. “The change in size is a big difference. A diesel engine in garden scale is 23 inches long, in Z scale it is 2 ¾ inches long. The layout in our back yard was 85 feet by 37 feet. My layout in our apartment is L shaped, eight feet by seven feet. I have put a river and a lake into the layout. I am running five tracks on the layout without any connections between them,” Wills explained.
Debbie Zienty, Marketing Director at The Crossings, recalls the process the couple went through to downsize to make the move, “I think it is a misconception that you have to give up things you love to move to a senior living community. Perhaps you have to modify a tad, but Mr. Wills has proved that you don’t have to give up the things you love.”
Along the way, Wills has discovered new hobbies but never fully released his love of trains. “I just enjoy running the trains,” smiled Wills.