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Text Box: Whartson Hall Mk.1 Rides Again, Again! 
Text Box: I  have finally managed to get a plan of the new format which in theory ...works. Even the curves seem to be OK!

The plan looks so simple, but take it from me getting it all to work with-in existing parameters has taken ages of considerable struggle and I have at least once given up and consigned the thing to the “might have been” files. It is just my pig headedness and refusal to be beaten by anything this stupid that has made ne return time and again. The bits of red you can seen are merely over-extensions of straight track which can be overcome by adding more straight track and are not the dreaded curves with radii too small, I have seen enough of those when fiddling with this plan. I have had to lower the minimum curve to 11” rather than my normal 12” but even so I do not think traversing the layout will be a problem for today’s stock. Yes I say that with all my fingers crossed! What remains is the tweaking of the runs on the model boards to allow for a little more elegance through the station and its run-up and I think all should be well.

 

Having achieved an apparently viable redesigned layout, the next object was to check the old  one for damage which would need repairing before any additional work could proceed on the end boards which would have to be largely stripped of trackwork to enable the two crossings to be fitted and allow traffic to be switched from line to line in order to reduce the models required to provide a desired service. Also, my now decrepit body could no longer heave the original traverse about given the size and weight of the woodwork involved, so a redesign was in order, something along the lines of that on Whartson Hall 2. However, this time the 9 road yard was to have the switches at either end to enable more varied traffic to appear running through the main scenic section.

 

The old traverser was dismantled or rather fully dismantled, as most of the track had been stripped off already and the cardboard laminate base that was left was in rather a poor state. The electrics had been stripped from the controller end and the spring loaded contacts I had created for the traverser were badly damaged and would have to be replaced, repaired or redesigned on both end boards so that current flow was enabled merely by aligning the boards correctly. Further inspection showed that the contacts between the scenic board and the two ends had also suffered and would need repair or replacement. The only good thing was that the track alignments between boards and the contacts required had all ready been established. This however proved to be somewhat of a mixed blessing, when the crossings were placed on the end modules and the whole thing aligned to the existing outlets, which severely limited any positioning options

 

The first objective was to create a new fiddle-yard to fit the old gap between ends, this proved not be as problematic as I thought because I had dismantled the old yard rather than pulling it to pieces and the main spars remained as they were and all that was required was to build new cross members to add strength and constant spacing to allow the insertion of tough polystyrene insulation board between them and of course a good squirt of “no more nails” around the edges, to hold all in place in the frame. The resulting board can be lifted with one hand and not a fork-lift truck, as was the case with the original traverser base. The new board was then covered in “exhibition” board (a sheet of polystyrene covered on both sides with thin plastic). It is not what I would call strong, but I am running N gauge locos, not O gauge, so it should hold up if it is not banged about too much. Exhibition board has another great advantage.....it’s as flat as a pancake! Laying track is therefore a piece of cake. I recommend that track be laid after a base-line has been created, suitably equidistant from the edge of the board, using a long and straight rule or similar aid. Track can then be laid using this line to ensure correct location while joining each section with the appropriate fishplates (conductive or non-conductive). Once a row is complete ensure that it is satisfactory and then cover the track with a length of flat board and some suitable weights to ensure that all is held down uniformly and then I recommend tacking the track each side with blobs of hot glue. DO NOT ALLOW THE NOZZLE OF THE GUN NEAR THE EXHIBITION BOARD (Oh yes I did). Once completed repeat the process along the adjoining track using a spacer set to the separation you desire. I used a peco spacer on the wide setting, but a piece of wood or plastic with 4 slots cut to N Gauge spacing could just as easily be used. Beware snapping across the grain using wood. Why not soak the wood in glue or something to harden it a bit, how about “shellac” (now there’s a blast from the past)

Birmingham                  Nuneaton

Scenic break cum leaflet depositary