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GWR Article

Moor Street Passenger Station (65) Moor Street Goods Station (39)
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Robert Ferris has transcribed the following information on the building and development of Moor Street station from articles which appeared in several editions of the Great Western Magazine.

Traversing Tables, Moor Street Station, Birmingham

Extract from Great Western Magazine Vol. XII. No.7, July 1910

The Company's new terminal station at Moor Street, Birmingham possesses several interesting features – one being that the station is built over the goods depot (not yet opened); another, that electrically driven traversers have been provided, in place of the usual cross-over roads for transferring engines of incoming trains to the outgoing road. Two traversers have been installed, one on either side of the central platform – ‘A’ on the diagram (gwrbms1698) – the intention being that in addition to serving the platform, they shall eventually be used for those on the other sides, when built – A1.

Each traverser has upon it three tracks (X, Y, Z) at eleven foot, two and half inch centres. This ensures a track always being opposite to the running rails, thus obviating the risk of vehicles or an engine falling into the traverser pit. Sixty feet long by thirty two feet, ten inches wide, the traversers are capable of travelling with a load of 170 tons at ten feet per minute, the motive power being a three-phase motor with wound rotor of 18 B.H.P. running at 710 r.p.m. They are provided with thirty six travelling wheels, two foot diameter, which run on nine rails (fixed at right angles to the engine track rails), or four wheels to each rail. The under-carriages, numbering nine, are composed of two rolled steel joists, and on the top of these are secured the six rail bearing girders, made up of three channels riveted together which carry the engine track rails, the latter being supported at intervals by sleeper plates. Chequered steel plates cover the tops of the traversers, which project sufficiently under the nosing of the platforms to prevent anyone falling therefrom getting into the pit, and the edges are finished off with a skirting of angle iron.

The motor and driving machinery, B, are carried on the traverser, approximately in the centre, under the chequered steel plates, one of which forms a door directly over the machinery for inspection purposes, etc. The motor is coupled direct to a steel worm, which gears into a worm wheel with cast iron centre and phosphor bronze rim; the worm gear complete being contained in a cast iron box with an oil well for lubrication. An electric brake is fitted to the worm shaft and is designed to give equal braking force in both directions, and to free the shaft from any bending action due to pull of brake band. The motive power is transmitted from the motor to the steel worm and thence to the worm wheel, which is keyed to a countershaft extending in both directions from the centre line of the traverser, the ends of the countershaft in turn gearing into two cast steel wheels on each driving shaft. Limit switches are provided to prevent the traversers over-running.

The position at Moor Street is somewhat confined, and it will be readily gathered that the principal idea in providing traversers was to avoid the long lengths of rail necessary with the usual cross-over roads.

Beneath the platform, on either side of which the traversers work, is a recess into which they ‘pocket’ up to nearly the middle of the platform column, as shown in diagram. The method of working is to move the traverser under the platform so that the middle pair of rails, Y, come into line with the train road. The engine goes on to the traverser, is then uncoupled and the traverser is run out, so that the line upon which the engine is standing comes into position with the outgoing road, thus enabling the engine to get off at once to the other end of the train, or elsewhere, as may be desired. The handles controlling the traversers, which are worked by the engine drivers, are placed between the stopblocks, an ingenious arrangement being that they are locked with the signalling apparatus, which is controlled from the signal box, an indicator being provided to intimate to the drivers when the traverser is ‘right’ or ‘wrong’. The arrangement is such, that the stops which have to be released to allow of the traverser being operated cannot be worked except when the latter is in the correct position.

Messrs. S.H. Heywood & Co. of Reddish, near Stockport, constructed the traversers, and the motors were supplied by the Lancashire Dynamo & Motor Co., 28 Victoria Street, S.W.

One illustration shows the traverser under ‘weight’ test ('gwrbms1699'), and another a traverser in full view ('gwrbms1697').