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Mike Harvey

West Midlands Metro CAF Urbos 5 segment tram

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This has appeared in the TT trams Shapeways shop, following a dialogue I had with the designer a couple of months back. It is offered in a range of scales.  I have purchased one for evaluation for use on my modern N Grand Central layout. I seem to recall that commercial producers have struggled to get a 5 car "snake" with only 3 bogies to work convincingly in a straight line, so I may be looking for some engineering input to get it rolling. Right now I am thinking of separate centre conduit made of magnetic material to pick up on magnets on the articulation points. No catenary will be needed for my route which assumes that the trams operate on battery power as the real ones do on the Birmingham New Street - Centenary Square extension just opened.

https://www.shapeways.com/product/DC4GARRS5/west-midlands-urbos?li=ostatus&optionId=134739381

Picture from Flickr of a real one in the new current blue livery.

32144010907_2e2560e6aa.jpg

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The CAF Urbos 3 West Midlands arrived from Shapeways yesterday. With a warm garage I could clean it and give it a light primer coat. A very small amount of sanding needed on the tapered cab nose. I think I will be trying to power the centre car with a Tsugawa TU-7T which will be a snug fit, with a rigid two axle chassis created for each of the end cars relying on the articulation to facilitate curving. Also need to think about the inter-car bellows.

 

caf2_c10.jpgcaf110.jpg

 

Edited by Mike Harvey
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That looks pretty smart, I look forward to seeing the finished version. As far as the problem of getting it to run straight, my initial thought was to hide a small additional set of wheels between the doors on the 'suspended' sections to guide that section, but a) I don't think that would stop it tracking slightly sideways and b) it probably wouldn't be able to negotiate corners as that section would overhand inwards. But...

 

On the modules without wheels, some sort of "tab" somewhere under the outer leaf of each double door, a sort of static flange, that will run along the flangeways the same as the wheel flanges and guide the vehicle, keeping it roughly in line with the track. I'm thinking just a small strip of plasticard protruding down. Right on the corner would probably cause a problem with the overhang (as the front section pivots, the inner end of it will want to swing out the other way slightly, a bit like the tailswing of a bus) but set back slightly might work and allow for this.

 

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I am using standard Tomytec Wide Tram Track which has provision for a centre magnetic wire below the rail level so that it can be shared with the Moving Bus System vehicles the steering of which follows the wire. I will experiment with a magnet on the articulation points which might track well enough to keep things in line on the straight. It will mean lifting the scenery around the already laid track to install a wire, which will be a pain, hence the need for the experiments. Might get some smoothing done today to eliminate the print lines, and a trip to Centenary Square in Brum is on the cards for next week so I can have some photos to form the basis of the artwork for transfers/overlays. I am toying with two routes for the inter-car bellows - either a composite not-to-stiff paper one, or a cylindrical plasticard one similar to the design used by Tomytec on their articulated trams and bendibuses.

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Hi Mike,

 

I am following this with interest, as a couple of years ago I was fortunate enough to have a trip inside the West Midlands Metro depot at Wednesbury.

 

1EB90095-18DA-44C5-ACE1-0DEC0F7EA40A.jpeg.8f4da956cde0333c3db8aa6fe4629d97.jpeg

 

This was at the time the new units were arriving to replace the original Ansaldo trams; many of which were lined up having ran their last race.

 

AB0FE12D-CEA8-4749-A5C6-60F2D3BE1827.jpeg.92472d756f57b83fb7596910f43b056b.jpeg

 

We were actually there for an outside broadcast for BBC Radio WM, as I spent a very enjoyable summer there overseeing a project to the station out and about a bit more... this image shows presenter Pete Morgan interviewing one of the drivers before he heads out.

 

68EB5881-594D-4B96-99A1-2D3E33D48CC9.jpeg.e554baafd990504239afdf21531a3535.jpeg

 

From the images you have previously posted I assume you’re going with the revised blue livery, rather than the original pink and silver?

 

EFB3E424-83A7-4CEE-B852-A1A49EC1064A.jpeg.25526baf74701b92bd5e3f9781b57c9e.jpeg

 

cheers

 

Ben A.

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Yes, Ben, this one will be blue. If it is successful, then a grey/pink/silver one might be on the cards. Can’t recall whether there were any pink ones which were battery fitted, but rule 1 can apply so it can run without overhead wires anyway. It would be a sort of modern heritage livery. ^_^

 

But there is a long way to go to get this one a) looking good, and b) running well. Armchair planning seems to use a lot of paper, but a plan will emerge next year. ^_^

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Hi Mike,

 

I didn’t pick up on the fact that you’re depicting a battery operated unit.  I had no idea any were in service!
 

Looking forward to seeing how you get on with this in 2020!

 

cheers

 

Ben A.

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On 30/12/2019 at 09:50, Ben A said:

Hi Mike,

 

I didn’t pick up on the fact that you’re depicting a battery operated unit.  I had no idea any were in service!
 

Looking forward to seeing how you get on with this in 2020!

 

cheers

 

Ben A.

See my West Midlands Metro thread:

 

They are all equiped with batteries and are all nominally in service. (Although the one dedicated to Cyrille Regis was knocked off the tracks a few months ago by a heavy accident and may still be OOS.

 

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On 28/12/2019 at 10:01, Ben A said:

 

Hi Mike,

 

I am following this with interest, as a couple of years ago I was fortunate enough to have a trip inside the West Midlands Metro depot at Wednesbury.

 

This was at the time the new units were arriving to replace the original Ansaldo trams; many of which were lined up having ran their last race.

 

AB0FE12D-CEA8-4749-A5C6-60F2D3BE1827.jpeg.92472d756f57b83fb7596910f43b056b.jpeg

cheers

 

Ben A.

Number 11 was presented to the City of Birmingham and another T69 (No.7) was presented to UK Tram.

The rest have been scrapped.

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On 30/12/2019 at 09:50, Ben A said:

Hi Mike,

 

I didn’t pick up on the fact that you’re depicting a battery operated unit.  I had no idea any were in service!
 

Looking forward to seeing how you get on with this in 2020!

 

cheers

 

Ben A.

 

Had a useful half hour at Centenary Square/Library station yesterday where the double track layout facilitates taking good side on photos from the opposite platform whilst the trams are stationary on turn round. No OHLE poles to block views either. Decided not to go up to the Library roof to get photos of the tram roofs. Managed to get good photos of two blue units and a couple of advertising livery units which have the advantage that the windows of the centre car have contravision vinyls over them so conveniently blocking the view of the interior, which will be a motor on my model. So I may compromise on a blue version with adverts, although I prefer the time-flexibility of the standard blue with West Midlands diamonds on cars 2 and 4, given that the advertising liveries may come and go over time. Will need some more interior pictures in due course.

 

As well as the side-on views I took a few other photos close by. This picture shows one of the "Just Eat" liveried trams departing Library for Town Hall which is visible in the left background. Note the full vinyl sides on the centre car, with cant rail level advertising on the other cars. Cars 2 and 4 carry the West Midlands diamonds common across buses, trains and trams. The bus lanes in the foreground are not yet in use. The building behind the tram is the new HSBC bank offices at 1 Centenary Square. 

P1010601.JPG

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Mike Harvey said:

 

The bus lanes in the foreground are not yet in use.

 

And wont be for some time.

Most of Broad St. will be closed until 2021, whilst they build the Edgbaston extension.

Edited by melmerby
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My Tsugawa TU-7T motor bogie has arrived and will just fit into the centre car. It will need some careful weighting to balance the motor which is at one end. With 1.5 volts applied the bogie does an impressive wheelie when the motor is at the trailing end. :o

Edited by Mike Harvey

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