Steeping into Moore St. station, Birmingham, is like walking into a time capsule. This station is unlike any other in Birmingham as it has been completely refurbished back to its 1930's style; complete with reproduction lamps, clock, seating and most importantly (to the type enthusiast) 1930s style signage. These old signs feature beautiful late 1800s, early 1900s woodcut, sans serif lettering; white set on a black background. If you were then to take the train 3 stops down the line you would come to Tyseley Station which contains another interesting typographic artefact. Although not restored, there are also several old signage boards, which like Moore St. station contain early 1900s san serif display: metal type set on a black wooden backboard.
It's this lettering which is revived in Old Railway a display typeface based on early 1900s railway signage. The aim was to recreate this low contrast lettering in a digital display typeface but crucially maintain the period look and feel and not try to iron out the original sample letterforms to much. I established that the character of the sample letterforms for Moore St. Station and Tyesely Station was in the imperfections and I felt it was important to retain this in the revival and not clean it up to much and making a sterile clone. So the almost even stroke contrast is retained with only minor adjustments made to give the letters an overall improved form. The odd design of the G is faithfully retained (despite perhaps not the most easily distinguishable) as it's a detail which really reinforces the period feel. The only letter given a proper 'face lift' is the S which required adjustment from the original to keep the overall harmony of the typeface.
The result is a solid, period sans which embodies the dignified, workmanlike 'Britishness' found in the likes of Johnston Sans and Gill Sans whilst also retaining the imperfections which are found in the original samples. Although not a perfect, historically accurate revival, Old Railway does it's best to capture the spirit of this old signage type like Moore St. Station; keeps the memory of this period lettering alive in an ever changing world.