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melmerby

West Midlands Metro Tracklaying in Brum

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Hi all

 

I have been following the progress of track laying of the Midland Metro into Bull Street Birmingham

 

The track seems to arrive with sleepers consisting of concrete pads with the track clipped to them and a steel tie between them to keep the gauge.

However once the track has been levelled/aligned etc. it is set in concrete up to the rail head, thus making it permanent.

Questions:

 

Is this the normal way of laying tramway tracks these days?

What happens if the track need to be adjusted in the future or the rail replaced due to wear? (pneumatic drills to break up the formation?)

 

On heavy rail systems the ballast can always be re-tamped and the track moved slightly to maintain alignment.

 

Cheers

 

Keith

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by melmerby

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Hi , yes thats how they do it . The rails arrive precurved and in Bull St now on the second attempt of laying the set track curves!

Work has started outside New St Station - large concerte slab hopefully means track will not move and with rails to last 30 years I guess builders see rail change as "not their problem."  

Hopefully given how late the work is the connection into the Snow Hill lines will be late 2014 to allow the opening to Bull street.

Robert  

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The latest "opening date" for the Metro, revamped New Street station and Grand Central shopping centre are all now into 2015.

 

After completion of the replacement bridge over Great Charles Street I expected some work down there but nothing so far, although the track bed is more or less cleared for when track-laying starts.

 

Incidentally "Grand Central" was one of the names considered for the original station in 1846.

What goes around comes around!

 

Keith

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I'm told the Method used by Midland Metro is based on Melbourne practice. I certainly prefer the approach to some of the methods being used in section of Nottingham extensions now under construction and a great advance on the attempt to lay tram rail in grooves in a concrete slab and glue it down with rubber grout tried on some of our first new generation tramways and subsequently found sadly lacking in  accuracy of gauge keeping etc. I was pleased to notice in Nottingham that they had recognised that a hole in the bottom of the rail groove at track drains is a great help to draining the groove.

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Some sleepers now going down in Stephenson Street.

 

An interesting side effect of the works there is the corner of Waterstones which is being opened up as a pedestrian way.

The trams will run so close to the building that there will not be room for a conventionnal pavement, so the pavement will run across the ground floor corner of the building!

 

It looks a bit hairy as the corner of the building is currently held up by a few (original) cast iron columns.

Some serious strengthening is also going on at street level as the cellar extends under the current pavement, some of which has been removed .

 

The works have meant the removal of some of the facia of the building revealing what looks like possibly very old signage above that entrance.

I could make out the words "STEAMS..." which assume was part of  "Steamship Agent" or similar and "...K & Sons"*

 

Keith

 

* An old directory of early 20th Century lists Thomas Cook & Sons as being in that building

Edited by melmerby

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There are several recent you tube time-lapse videos that show modern tram tracks being installed or re-installed from start to finish. You can get a good idea of the present day overall process from those.

 

Andy

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I saw some relaying down here in Croydon not to long back, the welding process is something to behold!

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I still get my anarchic little thrill some mornings when I cross Upper Bull Street and proclaim to any startled passing suits: "It's good to see HS2 coming along so well."

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How did I miss this thread. Here are some pictures of the first few sections of track shortly after being installed:

post-6976-0-46191800-1397376514.jpg

post-6976-0-51612600-1397376515.jpg

 

Also, there is now funding in place to take the trams to centenary square. The works for this will kick off shortly after the opening of the line to Stevenson Street as the works cannot seamlessly continue. There will be another two stops which is quite good. 

 

The new tram fleet is now arriving at the Metro Depot. I was involved in the extension of the depot site and was luckily able to visit and take some photographs. Whilst this is slightly off topic I thought you might be interested to see it in relation to this thread. 

post-6976-0-62848900-1397376513.jpg

 

Whilst on site I was able to visit the current depot building before it is redeveloped and took some pictures of the Ansaldo T69s. 

post-6976-0-78811000-1397376516.jpg

Trams 1 and 2 are on old US army Bogies having been stripped for parts. 

post-6976-0-59857500-1397376518.jpg

Tram 5 was being propelled out of the depot building by the battery operated shunter. 

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Also, there is now funding in place to take the trams to centenary square. The works for this will kick off shortly after the opening of the line to Stevenson Street as the works cannot seamlessly continue. There will be another two stops which is quite good. 

Stephen, with a name like yours how could you get that name wrong? :jester:

(Hint: George, & Robert)

 

The tracklaying work has moved over Colmore Circus and preparations have started in the gap between the two office blocks it will travel through on it's way to Great Charles St bridge, running alongside the station in the trough already provided (but currently grassed over)

The point motors for the Bull Street crossover are now in place.

 

At the other end of the extension in Stephenson St the foundations on the corner of the Waterstones building are being massively re-inforced, as the trams will travel quite close and there is a cellar under the pavement. Some track components have arrived there but not been laid as of Thursday last. They were laying the concrete base for the crossover when I passed.

 

Keith

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Stephen, with a name like yours how could you get that name wrong? :jester:

(Hint: George, & Robert)

 

Whoops. I guess the 14 hour drive from France took its toll on me a bit more than I realised!!!

 

The Waterstones building is actually being altered as you rightly say with the trams running close to it I think they have taken a chunk out of the corner of the building with the view that pedestrians will still be able to get passed on this side of the road if a tram is coming along. 

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Whoops. I guess the 14 hour drive from France took its toll on me a bit more than I realised!!!

 

The Waterstones building is actually being altered as you rightly say with the trams running close to it I think they have taken a chunk out of the corner of the building with the view that pedestrians will still be able to get passed on this side of the road if a tram is coming along. 

The plans suggest the corner of the building is to be used as the pedestrian way through as the trams would be too close to safely allow a normal pavement at this point.

Somebody was telling me on Thursday that Waterstones weren't too happy about losing the corner chunk of their ground floor!

 

Keith

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SNIP

 

attachicon.gifIMG_2866 copy.jpg

Tram 5 was being propelled out of the depot building by the battery operated shunter. 

 

He looks so real. And we thought humanoid robots were years away. :jester:

 

Andy

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Also, there is now funding in place to take the trams to centenary square.

Also funding is in place for the start of the route eastwards to Eastside & Curzon St (HS2) and an extension in Wolves to get to the buses and trains.

 

Keith

 

IMHO the Metro is at long last starting to become a network.

Apart from Snow Hill, Jewellery Quarter, West Bromwich (shops and buses) and St Georges (for the shopping centre), many of the original stops were in the middle of nowhere!

Wednesbury was in a wasteland when opened and is not close to the town centre and bus station.

Edited by melmerby

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Also funding is in place for the start of the route eastwards to Eastside & Curzon St (HS2) and an extension in Wolves to get to the buses and trains.

 

Keith

 

I don't think the route to Eastside and Curzon Street is as well progressed. I believe there is still a funding shortfall for that section but the Centenary Square section has been able to get 106 funding from Planning Consents. 

 

The Wolves loop is another one that is still in limbo and there is a big debate about the final alignment of the new system as there are several proposals including one that I believe will leave St Georges as a peak time only/emergency stop. 

 

@Andy Reichert - It is the T1000 tram driver. He is liquid metal and is a cybernetic organism sent from the future to pilot trams out of their engineering shed... (actually the battery shunter is behind it. I will see if I can find a picture of it. 

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Further to the previous posts, Colmore Circus is closed from last Saturday 12th until Sunday 4th May to lay the tracks across.

This would tie with the preparatory work going on between the office blocks I saw last Thursday.

 

Keith

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Does anybody think they should be building some double deckers in Navy and Cream livery?

They could put this crest on the sides of them:-

612px-Coat_of_arms_of_Birmingham.svg.png

Edited by andytrains
  • Like 5

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One of the current fleet of Ansaldo trams is in the Navy and Cream livery (not sure if it has that crest on the side). The livery is not quite right though, I think the cream is too dark. Perhaps Halfords didn't have the correct shade of cream...

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Not double decker and the blue looks too light.

Not sure about the cream.

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Not double decker and the blue looks too light.

Not sure about the cream.

If it had been a double decker it wouldn't have been so for very long given the height of some of the overbridges on the route.  With the raised platforms over the motor bogies I suppose you could call them one and a half deckers like the old BEA Commer Commando coaches.

 

Notwithstanding the WMPTE shade of blue and cream, the "heritage" tram does look nice.  It's a shame there isn't a benefactor out there who could sponsor some other heritage liveries on other trams as the T69s come to the end of their life.  Wolverhampton green and yellow, South Staffs tramways maroon and cream, and GWR "Railcar" Chocolate and Cream would be a nice way to celebrate the end of the Italian made pish - sorry, fleet.  We could even see just what the originally planned yellow Centro livery would have looked like (I do actually have some video footage of the first two tram bodies under construction in Italy painted yellow, it was that close!)

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Does anybody think they should be building some double deckers in Navy and Cream livery?

They could put this crest on the sides of them:-

612px-Coat_of_arms_of_Birmingham.svg.png

Why is the blacksmith carrying a roll of soft toilet paper?

 

The "heritage" livery does look good and it would be great to see it adopted but whatever colour scheme they carry I'm very glad to see Brum getting its trams back. I do remember the tram tracks in Corporation Street  a couple of years after they closed but by then they just came to an abrupt finish at each end of the street.

Edited by Pacific231G

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