For 30 + years I ran a BB Junior Section Company in our local church and wit the help of our Parents Committee we introduced and ran a Christmas Fair for around 25 of those years until I “retired” leaving it to continue for few more years under new leadership before it was abandoned as too much work.

During my time I and others looked for ways to enhance what we had at the event and I came up with a simple oval of track on two table tennis tables for folks to watch and run the trains for 10p a time. All but 10 watched it!! I tried again the following year when we got £2.

I decided to enhance the system and built a layout, 16ft x 6ft with two passing loops for changing trains behind a centre backscene. Over time I added a town scene with station and all was sighted in a separate room at a charge of 50p for all to come in and see it. 

We still had people saying I just want to look, not come in so we said that would £1.It got rid of them.

This was more successful, increased the door to £1 for adults and 50p for children valid all the time the Fair was open so they could come and go. We made around £50 to £60 year on year for many years.

My helpers were initially non modellers but we made two out of boys who helped and a new commuter I met on the train to and from work also helped. His name was Andrew Moorhouse.

The layout became cumbersome over the years so t was rebuilt narrower but longer and so “Ochitildhu” was born. This is an “L” shaped layout 14ft x 2.6ins and 12ft by the same The town is loosely based on buildings from an island holiday resort on the Clyde and is an attraction in its own way. 

One highlight of the railway was a visit to the town it is loosely modelled on and displayed in a new local church as a fund-raiser where we collected £440 during that week. It was at that time another person came on board to help and became a member of the Society. His name is Bill Lindsay and he lives in the town. Because of this I was able to commute daily and he or another church member opened and closed the show each day.

My commute was virtually free due bus and rail travel passes leaving just the ferry which was minimal.

Feldbahn stock is used throughout as it is more proportionate to the otherwise 1/24th scale of the cars and buildings and has been a success, now attending shows near to home once or twice a year.

Our church closed down and I had to remove it from storage there where it was played with on the pretext that it was up for repair during the summer or Christmas when the hall was not in use and is now housed in a friends garage for the foreseeable future but cannot be erected as there is not enough room.

It is currently undergoing a revised plan on one leg of it which will extend the running track, have replacement buildings and the fiddle yard moved to behind the revised back scene creating an 8ft x 5ft section within the existing 12ft length.

There is scope for it to continue to be shown at Model Railway exhibitions for the immediate future and more so now that yet another team member has joined us. His name is Ken McCormick.

The pictures tell the remainder of the story.


The Background


Fraser Neilson





A few year ago!