Following on from the success of South Junction there were moves in the group to produce an ‘O’ gauge layout of exhibition standard that kept trains running (a group philosophy!) and most of all could accommodate the ever increasing number of big O gauge locos being built by members.
It was difficult to find a suitable location to base the layout on but eventually the Summit on the Settle to Carlisle line was chosen. As with South Junction it had no station where trains could stand for hours at an exhibition! but did have sufficient interest with some sidings and provision for a banker…
Building the layout was no quick and easy task! Track was laid and then pulled up to enable a better curvature to accommodate the intended traffic. The build did not seem to progress much for weeks or even months then there would be a great leaps forward. On the first night that trains ran around both main tracks a film was produced and a copy given to each member for a souvenir.
The track is laid on a set of curved layout boards with minimum scenery that form a backbone to the layout. The scenery is of lightweight construction and attaches to the layout boards. It was intended that the scenery would be dramatic and its construction was a huge task in itself. Tall sections tower behind the track and wide sections at the front drop down, which together with a viaduct, tunnel and bridge give the layout the intended ‘wow’ impact at exhibitions.
This layout was exhibited at Guildex in 2015, Taunton Railex and Warley NEC in 2016 and has won awards at every appearance. It can only just be squeezed into a 7.5 tonne lorry and requires a team of ten to erect, operate and break down the layout. During exhibitions we try to have two members (in addition to the signalman) in front of the layout to answer questions and generally engage with the viewing public. The Summit is available for exhibitions and further details can be found here. In 2016 to cap a very successful year The Summit won the Railway Modeller Cup for layout features as voted for by their readers.
Operationally the layout is DC, with clever circuits to automatically control the fiddle yard. Points and signals are interlocked and operated from the front of the layout using a Modratec lever frame.
Below is a selection of pictures taken during the protracted build of the layout:
Finally a slideshow of the completed layout courtesy of Hornby Magazine: