The blog has been very quiet of late regarding layout progress. As regular readers will be aware, the 2012 project is all about creating a diorama that has the feel of the Waverley route and features a viaduct based on Shankend, a siding and signal box based on Whitrope siding, and a tunnel mouth based on Whitrope tunnel. The intention is to make the scene as timeless as possible so that anything from LNER steam to a BR blue Deltic will look right passing through. There is a good reason for slow progress, work (the paid sort!) has taken me away from home Monday to Friday recently and trips to the railway room have been scarce. Some progress has been made on Rede Head Summit and viaduct. The walls and around the diorama have now been panelled, meaning that the bare beams of the loft are no longer visible and that area looks a great deal more like a railway room. A scenic break is also in place at one end of the scene, the part that will eventually become tunnel, and the profile of the landscape has been attached to the baseboard edge.

I’m currently studying pictures of the portal to Whitrope tunnel with a view of building a near copy in miniature. The biggest challenge is going to be capturing the wild border fells and making the scenery rise high enough from the line to make the tunnel look necessary. This is a bit of a challenge when the distance from the end of the viaduct to the tunnel will only be about 3 feet.

Hopefully the landsacpe profile will be right for wild moorland

The time away from home and some idle evenings has allowed some thought on how the diorama might work operationally. One of my favourite layouts is Stoke Summit, I’ve spent hours watching it at a number of exhibitions, and I’m always drawn to it even though I’ve seen it all before. On analysis the thing that I like is simply watching full length main line trains going past in a very authentic setting. In effect its train spotting in miniature. This is the concept behind the diorama. Ultimately I want to be the signalman in Rede Head signal box, and my role is to accept trains and despatch them onwards to the next box, just as the prototype signalman would do. As I’m usually alone in the railway room without any other layout operators this is going to be an interesting challenge but I’m sure with full DCC operation through JMRI the required automation will possible. I simply need to work out how to do it!

The site for a replica of Whitrope Tunnel

The other side of the scenic break will have a bridge over the line