For Brian Currie, building his own model railroad in the basement has been a 15-year labour of love which stemmed from a dream he’d harboured for 50 years. Brian’s wife Lyn supports her husband’s all-consuming passion 100 per cent, though she knew it meant a lifelong tie to their house on Commodore Drive, Lynfield. That was until they heard about the new retirement village on the Tropicana estate, right across the road from their house!
“We never thought we’d leave this house because of the trains, and also we run our accounting business from home, so it was just good timing,” says Lyn. Now, their plan is to rent out the top part of their house while below deck Brian can continue to pop over the road to tweak his ongoing rail project.
With 44 metres of 9mm track weaving in and out of five tunnels – or holes! – in the basement walls, with a variety of industrial and rural scenes as backdrops, it’s truly a sight to behold. The attention to detail is incredible, with a computerised signal system to control the switches and sound effects and five buildings named after their grandchildren. Even the cows in the fields have cow pats! It takes nearly five minutes for a train to follow the whole track around.
“I’m sort of a big kid – Peter Pan is theoretically alive and well!” says Brian. “I would have loved to have been a professional Lego maker if that job had existed back then!”
While he obviously loves trains, he admits they can get frustrating - if a little dust gets on the track it can cause a huge pile-up. “There’s a real buzz in throwing the electrics into it because if that fails everything stops. But the scenery gives me the most pleasure, although being colour-blind created a challenge or two!”
And Lyn has nothing but admiration for Brian’s hobby. “He’s done it all himself, it’s amazing really. He started off with a few rails on a board and it just grew from there.” She did have to draw the line when Brian wanted to expand out into the middle of the laundry area however. “I wouldn’t have been able to get through carrying a laundry basket!” she says.
With their move set for just a few months’ time, the couple has now started on the downsizing process – not an easy task after 26 years in their current home. Lyn admits to finding the stairs trickier to manage recently. “Instead of waiting until one of us falls down the stairs and you’re desperate and can’t find a place we decided to act now,” says Lyn.
“You just don’t know what’s around the corner so we like to really live each day.”
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Special thanks to: Ryman Healthcare, 9 Commodore Drive, Lynfield, 09-627-2727