RESIDENTS of two Gwynedd specialist dementia care homes are catching the next train back in time after new simulation launches to replicate the historic North West Wales railways.

Patients at Meddyg Care Group’s Criccieth and Porthmadog homes are boarding the “Meddyg Care Express”, a train carriage installation which will provide a new themed area for its occupants recreating traditional first-class rail travel.

The simulator features a high-quality 60-inch screen showing hours of footage of the region, as well as vintage lighting, luggage, storage racks, seating, and a table. 

Additionally, an expanded railway experience is found at Porthmadog, with the senior team leader’s office doubling as a ticket desk.


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Residents can purchase an old-style train ticket and sit in the station waiting area while they read a brochure.

The new space can also facilitate visits from families, to allow occupants the chance to spend time with their loved ones “on the train”.

Laura Haynes, help at home manager at Meddyg Care, said: “The investment is part of the staff’s holistic approach to providing residents with alternative activities, aiming to promote socialisation among those living at the homes and offer a new outlet that can help with expression and anxiety.

“With the footage of Criccieth and Porthmadog, it creates a calming space for patients, too, most of whom are originally from the local area.

“If a trip on the Meddyg Care Express turns someone’s day around, even for half an hour, then the installation has been a huge success.

“The rail carriage installations will really set our homes apart and provide additional support along with our dementia care specialists.”

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To reflect various holidays and occasions throughout the year, the staff will update the interiors of the rail carriages.

For example, during Easter, the Meddyg Care bunny visited the train station to hand out chocolate eggs. 

There will also be decorations for Halloween, and an appearance from Father Christmas is planned for the festive holidays, too.

Laura added: “Residents can take a train ride whenever they like, which is ideal for those who tend not to sleep through the night.

“It means our care staff can take them to the first-class carriage and enjoy a cup of tea.

“We’re passionate about creating reminiscent environments.

“For example, we also have a pub and garden, called the Glaslyn Arms at our Porthmadog home, where people can enjoy quiz nights and their favourite tipple in a safe environment.

“We’re thrilled to have invested in this new area at our Porthmadog and Criccieth homes and we’re already seeing regular visitors to the carriage, which has certainly created a calming effect and helped the residents feel more at home.”

 The rail installations were designed and installed by Little Islands, which specialises in creating nostalgic experiences for the dementia care sector to promote stimulation for the senses and a soothing atmosphere.