Restoration And Extension
1 The Background
When Michael Byng acquired "Inkerman Street" it was with a view to raising the LMS Society's profile at Exhibitions by showing an operational LMS model in addition to the static display panels used hitherto. Set vaguely in Salford during World War II, its object was to demonstrate that '0' gauge could have a convincing scenic setting comparable with those of its smaller scale brethren. However, it was quickly realised that during the intervening years much of the model had deteriorated and considerable restoration work was needed before it could be exhibited.
A comment from John Miller that such a small, insignificant, inner city terminus may not have survived the economic difficulties of the 1930s together with the impression that the model was originally intended to be a through station caused the present team to consider this latter option in the context of an extended layout. When Noel Coates produced the information that the L&YR had proposed, but never built, a line to serve Pomona Dock, upstream from the main docks, our thoughts focussed on that area, with the result that we placed "Inkerman Street" on an imaginary line linking Windsor Bridge on the L&YR main line westwards from Manchester Victoria with Castlefield Junction on the MSJ&AR line to Manchester London Road. Our line would take a route slightly to the south and west of the more recent "Windsor Bridge Link" and would pass beneath the LNWR Liverpool and Manchester line instead of crossing it on the level. The topography of the area renders this anomalous but enables us to use the viaduct which was a major feature of the original model. In addition, "Inkerman Street" would be at one corner of a triangle with Windsor Bridge No.1 and No.2 signal boxes forming the other corners, one leg of which would provided a rail connection between Victoria and London Road stations for which Manchester has such a desperate need that was denied until the opening of the Metrolink in 1992.
Although the line between London Road and Castlefield Junction was congested in the 1930s, the period of the restored model, we considered that a significant traffic could be diverted to that route had it existed through Inkerman Street. One benefit would have been the avoidance of Miles Platting bank for such trains. During the 1950s, two L&YR 0-6-0s were kept in steam to assist goods trains, while a 2P 4-4-0 was stationed at the west end of Exchange station to assist, principally, the Liverpool to Newcastle expresses. For a while, 635, one of the engines built for the S&DJR performed the role.
On the original layout, the single line across the front led to the gas works off the right hand end as viewed by the public. For our hypothetical location, this would more likely be off the left hand end so we have designated the single line off to the right as the Pomona Dock branch, the main line connection being at Windsor Bridge.
Unfortunately, the topographical anomalies already mentioned prevent an accurate model of the area from being produced without major alterations which would destroy the essential character of the original, something that neither we nor those members of the public who offered comments during its outings to Warley and Aylesbury wish to see. Our portrayal of Salford must, therefore, be merely an abstract approximation, though with as much authentic "Salford character" as we can model.