Text Box: Whartson Hall Mk.1
  (A Model for The Poverty Stricken)

The Scenic board presented few problems structurally, but the available materials made life interesting. “Useful” thin play had become scarce and constantly adding cross-members to support the available off-cuts would strain the available supplies

of 1.1/2” x3/4”. What to do; a large block of surplus polystyrene foam? It comes in roughly 4’x2’x2” peach

Whartson Hall is a cut down version of Water Orton retaining the basic station area & the intensive services, but nothing else, it being just a “round and round” for public entertainment, which allows the fiddle-yard to be merely “in and out” without the complications of the original model. Why Whartson Hall? The concept behind the model was that it had to be built from items which were already held in the “useful” cupboard/draw (if you do not know what a useful cupboard/draw/box is then you are not a true modeller), to put it in simple terms, only materials which were already held or could be recycled or “wombled” were to be used.

The Overall Picture The model is three circles of track, to which any part of the fiddle-yard my be connected. No points, few electrics and all very basic; operation is everything. The inner track runs only left to right, or Birmingham to Derby. The outer track runs right to left, or Nuneaton to Birmingham, while the centre track runs in both directions.

Transport The club needs a model which could be carried about the countryside in a medium sized family car without upsetting the police, which ruled out the possibility of bits protruding from various vehicular orifices, whilst experience of wind and rain made attaching a model to roof racks a dubious practice, even when we feel they are “protected”.

Logical Conclusion; 4 boards, legs, stock, control board, power,  tools for repairs or breakages and folding high chairs, needed to be moved. Boards should be as large as possible to reduce electrical problems, while a simplified version of “Water Orton” could supply the intense services required with only a “through” fiddle-yard, if the junctions were omitted from the model. This would give a scenario requiring a limited number of structures, much greenery, a large hill and simple, quick construction.

Final Reasoning The model’s width was be 3’ to allow a fit in the car, which suggests that the end boards would be best constructed as 36”x18”. The cars capacity dictated a maximum board length of 7’ with two boards of 18”x84”, given the storage capacity required for the yard, a board larger than 18” in width may be needed. The best choice is one large middle board with no joints for a sound yard base, while removing considerable amounts of wiring and possible electrical problems. In a base of this size, the advantages would seem to out-weigh the disadvantages, so this formed the basic plan to “suck it and see”.

Maximising Operations How many fiddle yard lines would be required for adequate services. Marking and measuring showed that for any reasonable number/variety of trains the best width tracks was some 21”, which would allow the front board to be 15”. A 15” space would be sufficient given that it would be possible to “overhang” some of the rear scenery to add more depth. Two boards of 84”x15” and 84”x21” could be more easily accommodated in the family car but It did mean that the boards would have to be effectively supported. The main frames for all boards are from 96”x4”x1.5” wood, while cross members are 1.5” x .75” or as far as the “useful” box will allow. The frame tops were to be thin ply with a covering of fibre underlay from laminate flooring.

coloured slabs, weighs virtually nothing, is rigid and may be carved simply and accurately. It is roughly a standard sized baseboard, all it needs is a surround to protect its edges! The answer to a modellers prayer and

Text Box: Text Box: The track plan is of an actual location but modellers license has been applied to make the passage of trains more interesting. The real line does curve, but over a much larger distance.

The End Boards are of simple construction shown left, (one up, one down) with the patchwork quilt effect bought about by recycling showing well. Most of the formers in use are only there to support the many small off-cuts in use, whilst the holes seen are merely for ventilation purposes.


readily available at B&Q. It is known as “foamboard” and produced by Jablite. The slab was cut to the width of the board and wooden cross-members inserted between each slab. An ultra light-weight board, who’s interior could be carved and was capable of supporting track on its own, without the track width thin ply base which I intended to use.

The Fiddle-yards’ size and required accuracy meant that everything had to be checked and double checked before final assembly, however, as the fiddle-yard was now a separate entity, construction was more straight-forward than initially envisaged. The yard surface had to be flat, rigid and stable, but obtaining this while retaining a light-weight structure and ensuring that the edges of the board did not alter vertically during travel would complicate matters. The slider was positioned next to the side of the framework, to allow greater vertical stability in the sliding table, while enabling the tray edge travel to be controlled and stabilized. It also allowed the very edge of the platform to be supported by the frame itself.

Despite the use of cardboard laminate rather than ply or sundela, the yard has considerable weight. Perhaps, with research, the tray could be made removable?

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Stored in garage 
awaiting repair
to fiddleyard.