7mm Birmingham Moor Street

Discussion in 'Layout Progress' started by Focalplane, 9 April 2019.

  1. simond

    simond Western Thunderer

    I think you’re right Peter, Ron Heggs’ bridges appears to be very stable, and I thoroughly approve of his test methods which appear to require lots and lots of beer cans...

    I recall he’s working in Spain, and some points in the thread where he addresses this very point. He also built the structures for the Sri Lankan Railway model.

    Well worth looking out.
    Phil O likes this.
  2. Dave Holt

    Dave Holt Western Thunderer

    If you're considering using brass sections for the roof support beams, can I suggest to look up Robin Whittle's "Barrow Road" entries on RMweb (blog section) or the S4 Soc sites. His roof for the round house shed is very impressive and all metal.
    Best wishes for Moor St, I'm enjoying reading of your progress.
  3. Focalplane

    Focalplane Western Thunderer

    When at Telford I am going to check on the availability of various brass sections, mostly "L", some "U". As I prefer solder to glue(s) this is my first choice. There are some semi-circular parts to the ends of the five concourse roof sections which would be easier to make if using brass, particularly as they will likely show behind the vertical glass panels.

    If Peter Smith is reading this, it looks as though I may be using his photo sheets of bricks used for Snow Hill, the shadows have completely messed up my potential brick sheets!

    And although I mentioned using a brass skeleton framework for the engine shed at Penmaenpool, I don't believe this was shown on WT, so here are a few photos:





    Moor Street will be a bit more complicated!
  4. Focalplane

    Focalplane Western Thunderer

    By the way, Penmaenpool's engine shed is surplus to my needs. Problem is it is in France. Anyone interested pleased PM me about when I might be able to deliver it (probably Christmas!)
  5. simond

    simond Western Thunderer


    I rather think that we might have to put a rain check on meeting up at Telford, family issues suggest that I won’t make it.

    We can get the traversers working by phone & email when you’re back home.

  6. Focalplane

    Focalplane Western Thunderer


    Sorry to learn you may not make Telford. But family comes first.

    I may work on the wagon hoist first, it should be more straight forward, (actually it should be straight up and down!)

    I will probably miss Reading, so Bristol?

    Bon courage!

  7. simond

    simond Western Thunderer

    Merci, mon brave!

    Things may change, but Bristol sounds favourite.

    Same program, switches, everything, should do the hoist too. Let’s talk when you’re back home.

    Focalplane likes this.
  8. Focalplane

    Focalplane Western Thunderer

    I just got around to viewing the magnificent structure for Barrow Road shed (on RMWeb) and it certainly would be a good technique for Moor Street's concourse roof (and the platform canopies as well). I am still of the opinion that I should work with brass and nickel silver for the main load bearing structure(s) but could use styrene strips for the infill details.

    More in a week's time after Telford (Saturday) and the journey home.
  9. Focalplane

    Focalplane Western Thunderer

    A good day at Telford. Highlights included meeting many WT regulars. More next week on what I achieved toward Moor Street.
    AdeMoore and simond like this.
  10. Focalplane

    Focalplane Western Thunderer

    Telford, Saturday

    I discovered there is now wifi in cabins on the ferry, so here is a brief report, earlier than planned.

    My shopping list was not as large as usual so I had the opportunity to meet and chat with several WT members. It was certainly good to put faces to names and avatars.

    My first task was to do some shopping. First call was on Finney7 to collect the nickel silver version of their Hall kit which will be Rood Ashton Hall, now a Tyseley resident. I paid a little extra to have the boiler and smoke box rolled (I am told NS is more difficult and really needs rollers). While at the stand I admired Mickoo’s current build, the West Country Class “spam can”. We had a long chat about his visits to the SW USA and his superb photography. His images are proof that the very best come from a good hand and eye coupled with top quality glass and sensors. Richard Lambert was also on hand to check over the Hall kit and later on I mentioned that I would be in the market for the 51XX kit “sooner rather than later”.

    I had a long list of Skytrex station and goods yard fittings and was able to purchase all but one. I also bought Severn’s signal box interior brass etches. His business is doing extremely well, I am pleased to say.

    Next up was Kirtley Model Buildings and a meeting with the two Smiths, Peter and John. They did not have stock of the building papers on hand but we discussed my recent photos of Moor Street and an order will be worked on in the coming days.

    I bought cans of spray paint and bottles of butanone and Carr’s flux, just about impossible to send these days across La Manche.

    Some basic stock of brass strip and styrene sheet was added to materials bought earlier.

    I could not find the MagClic stand (I assume if they were present they were piggy-backing on someone else’s stand). But when I visited Haywood’s stand to buy a non-corridor brake third kit for a 3 coach set that was used on the North Warwickshire Line in the late 1950s, I found that they had a look-alike magnetic coupling on sale. I bought six pairs for the seven brass coaches acquired from Steamline earlier this year (Yes, 6 as the rake ends will have standard couplers).

    Nick Dunhill had his recently completed SAR NG16 Garratt on display. What a lovely model! Also, his M&GN “Melton” tank engine was on display, or at least the chassis and footplate. These examples of craftsmanship just spur me on to do better.

    I ran into Dave Holt while at the Guild stands. We talked about 7mm scale modelling and he enthused about the overall quality on display. I wouldn’t be surprised if he succumbs to a locomotive kit one of these days!

    Modelu is another company going from strength to strength and Alan Buttler was keen to learn that I will need more than a few passengers standing around on Moor Street’s platforms. His new grey resin figures show an improvement over the earlier red ones.

    Because I spent more time making friends with other modellers I didn’t spend quite so much time with some of the traders who really set me up in 7mm scale. But, even though there is now a lot of RTR available the kit makers seemed to be doing good business, selling both kits and a lot more in-house builds of their kits than previously. I missed seeing the Dapol 14xx tank but as I have an MOK one I will probably pass anyway. The Dapol autotrain coach is basically wrong for Moor Street in the late 1950s so that’s another reason for not buying.

    All the layouts, large and small, impressed me, again plenty of inspiration available. I liked Scout Green because it reminded me of my student days mapping the geology of the area (and drinking more than a few bottles of Younger’s Double Century Ale in the bar of Shap Wells Hotel). The bleak setting is “just right” and the curved “circular” layout is innovative.

    A big cheer to the show’s organizers, an excellent job well done!
    AdeMoore, mickoo, paulc and 5 others like this.
  11. Focalplane

    Focalplane Western Thunderer

    One of the items I picked up (and paid for!) at Telford was Peter Smith's book "Using Printed Papers in Railway Modelling". This has been an invaluable reference while selecting the papers needed for Moor Street and will also come in very useful when building starts. I have also been in communication with Peter since Telford, and he has suggested various alternatives to my original selection of papers. I am nearly there ready to place an order.

    One amusing bad selection I made for the terminal building was a sheet of tile slates. There were no tiles on the building, the roof either being flat over the offices or glass over the concourse. A few tiles will come in useful elsewhere, mostly related to the low relief buildings in the Digbeth area, so the tile sheets will remain on the list. For the flat roof I will probably use zinc sheeting (the restoration has replaced most of the roofing materials).

    Peter also suggested that his platform edging stones make excellent quoin stones, etc. around the windows.


    An observation about the colour of mortar in an industrial city - it's usually very dark and certainly would have been during the steam era. I can remember a few civic building in the centre of Birmingham being cleaned in the late 1950s but most stone was nearly black while brick was dirty and mortar dark. Glazed bricks, as in Moor Street, weathered better than porous bricks. Blue bricks along the viaduct look like this today where they have "never" been cleaned:


    These stretcher bond bricks are part of the restoration project. The only worthwhile brick photo I took and it won't be used!
    The green rule is 12" long.


    The Digbeth Viaduct brickwork is, by the way, quite magnificent given that it lay derelict for quite a while. Take a close look at this arch on Allison Street:


    Another area which won't feature in the layout is the underground good station level. Part of this is today in use as a car park for the Bullring shopping centre. Made of Ferro-Concrete it was one of the first large scale English uses to be made of the (French) invention by Francois Hennebique.


    The ferro-concrete area does not extend under the station which is supported by brick arches.
    AdeMoore, Wagonman, jonte and 4 others like this.
  12. mickoo

    mickoo Western Thunderer

    Pleasure to meet you too :thumbs:

    Keep up the good work and look forward to seeing the Hall build.
    Focalplane likes this.
  13. Focalplane

    Focalplane Western Thunderer

    The Hall is some way down the to do list but it looks to be a good kit to enjoy when I get there.

    Meanwhile I have spent some of today working on the magnetic couplers for the Mark I rake of chocolate and cream corridor stock. Nothing comes easy but 5 of the 7 coaches have been fitted, two more to go. I just hope the magnets will be strong enough.

    The building paper order has yet to be finalized, but I should have it ready tomorrow. The railway room has also been tidied up a bit, putting away my 4mm stuff in boxes so that I can see the wood for the trees, though Moor Street won’t actually have any trees, far too urban back in the 1950s, not even Buddleia sprouting out of the brick retaining walls like today.
  14. Focalplane

    Focalplane Western Thunderer

    Magnetic Couplings - favourable option?

    I have fitted all 6 pairs of magnetic couplings acquired from Haywood Railway at Telford, leaving standard couplings at each end of the rake of 7 coaches. Fitting them was reasonably straight forward, mainly because the existing holes in the coaches were circular and the shaft of the couplers is also circular. If the hole had been a slot then some machining would be required, not a difficult task but time consuming.

    When it comes of operating a train, the only snags I have found are:

    1. Jerky motion can disconnect magnets. Since there should be no jerky movements then that problem can be resolved by driving the trains "properly". And disconnects should only occur where there is a significant weight involved or inclines (which I don't have).

    2. Reverse curves generally pose no problem. In fact when reversing a train the magnets act as a firm connection with the sprung buffers not really as involved. This has meant no disconnects when reversing, a problem I had with the pre-existing "scale" couplers.

    3. The mountings need to be flexible with good lateral movement as well as a little vertical play.

    I also found that the track needed cleaning after being away from the railway room for 2 months. The worst areas were the points. This is why I experienced some jerky running with the Jubilee which has only a small "stay alive" capacitor.

    I am generally pleased with the couplers and less inclined to use Kadees even though they were my choice with American HO (there really wasn't a choice anyway). The hand of god technique is still used to couple and uncouple locos and this is where I could adopt Kadees, except they don't look right in the steam era.

    So, that's a job done, on to the next project.
    AdeMoore, David B and jonte like this.
  15. Focalplane

    Focalplane Western Thunderer

    I have the space to keep several projects on the go which may speed things up a bit. As well as various scenic projects on the layout I am going to revert to the Castle and Princess Coronation loco builds.

    The scenic areas include the back drop. As a start I repainted the rear wall of the old cinema which had shelves for videos, etc. I am maintaining the black look above the scenic panels which currently remain white. I am thinking of spraying a very simple sky but I haven’t decided on the weather to be portrayed. In the late 1950s, as far as I can remember, there was plenty of sunshine and since I want to run both market garden trains and summer specials in and out of Moor Street then blue is likely to prevail over grey. Also, all the times I have visited Birmingham recently every day has been a sunny day. Mr. Blue Sky may live in America but he still loves Shard End!*

    I am at a cross roads regarding the traversers. They need some re-engineering to run more smoothly. Or the design stays as it is and will be hand operated. Since I can’t decide I will focus on other scenic jobs working from the back scene forwards - how very logical is that! The wagon hoist can still be Arduino driven.

    * If this sentence means nothing to you, don’t worry a bit.
    AdeMoore and Pencarrow like this.
  16. Yorkshire Dave

    Yorkshire Dave Western Thunderer

    Mr Blue Sky lives here......:). And yes I still give it a spin.

    Mr Blue Sky.jpg
  17. Focalplane

    Focalplane Western Thunderer

    Taking a break from loco construction and other DIY projects (hands rather sore) I have been thinking of how LM(R) trains would access Moor Street and Snow Hill. There is plenty of documentation of LM(R) trains running through Snow Hill, either re-routed through trains (some holiday excursions from Yorkshire and Lancashire to the South Coast went through without stopping, or the occasional football specials destined for Villa Park. But for every day transfer of local freight there really wasn't much of a connection between the WR and the LMR within the city limits. And even then the most obvious link was between the old Midland at Saltley to Bordesley Junction. The original LNWR line really had no local connection with the GWR.

    The West Coast Main Line upgrade and electrification did mean that a lot of trains were either re-routed, diverted or simply transferred from one region to the the other, the most obvious being the Wolverhampton to London service.

    It is possible that some real strangers could have visited or passed by Moor Street other than the well documented West Country pacifics piloted by 8Fs up Old Hill into Snow Hill, then south down the main line back to Oxford and Southampton. The fish market near the city centre was supplied from Immingham and B1s and V2s certainly came through to New Street on a regular basis. Fish destined for Moor Street came via Banbury so there would have been less chance of an Eastern Region locomotive running through to Moor Street. Descriptions of the summer holiday specials imply that all manner of often unsuitable locos were drafted in.

    As Pete Waterman has observed, Leamington Spa was his choice partly because he grew up nearby but also because Leamington could promise steam locos and trains from all four regions in the two side-by-side stations that then existed.

    And ironically, plans for the future of Moor Street include creating new connections to allow trains from Leicester to reach Moor Street (and HS2).
    AdeMoore and Pencarrow like this.
  18. Yorkshire Dave

    Yorkshire Dave Western Thunderer

    Quite a few 'inter-company' connecting spurs were put in during WWII to create diversionary routes. Some were taken out after the war and others left or reinstated.

    As often quoted - rule 1 applies - therefore run the trains you like :). Depending on the time period there's nothing to stop you running an Eastern Region train from Marylebone via Banbury to Moor St!
    AdeMoore, Peter Cross and Focalplane like this.
  19. Pencarrow

    Pencarrow Western Thunderer

    Yes, there was a link put in at Launceston between GWR and SR lines during the war. Hope this helps your Snow Hill considerations...:p
    Focalplane likes this.
  20. Focalplane

    Focalplane Western Thunderer

    And I forgot all about the S&MJR link at the southern end of the North Warwickshire Line. There were exchange sidings on the curve between Stratford Old Town and the Western main line going north. After WWII BR also added another curve to allow traffic to use the S&MJR as an alternative route though this would have have affected Moor Street. 5 years ago I researched all this to help a make believe link from Shipston-on-Stour to Ettington on the S&MJR which would have made operations on my mothballed Shipston Branch a lot more interesting. I had found a use for the 4mm scale Dukedog to haul commuter trains to Birmingham in the late 1930s - a Dukedog had been stabled at Tyseley at the time. I still have the Bachmann model in GWR livery.

    Part of the reason there were few links around the centre of Birmingham was the different elevation of the tracks. That and the original rivalry of the Victorian companies which seemed to live on for a hundred years or so. The infamous example of the GWR building the Duddeston Viaduct to "gain access to Curzon Street" but which was never utilized by a through train, only as a storage siding. Parts of the viaduct still stand 160 years later. Here is an interesting photo of the wall of the viaduct with a Victorian latrine, taken in 2006. I feel sure it's still there today.

    AdeMoore, Len Cattley, Phil O and 5 others like this.