Monday, 7 July 2014

Return to Cleethorpes...

Hi all. Today, whilst holidaying in the area once again, myself & Maisie took in a round trip on the 15" gauge Cleethorpes Coast Light Railway. The railway runs daily during the summer months along their 2-mile long section of narrow gauge railway. We arrived at the headquarters station of Lakeside at around 11am and duly caught the next Kingsway-bound train. All services on this sunny day were in the capable hands of No24, an American style 2-6-2 tender locomotive, built at Fairbourne in 1990. The big black engine was due to arrive at Platform 3 from North Sea Lane shortly and so, with a few minutes to spare, I had a peek inside the museum. Inside are some very informative displays and some very interesting pictures of the railways fleet in bygone days. Cleethorpes takes pride in looking after the ex-Sutton Miniature Railway stock, made redundant when the line closed in the 1960s, and the two steamers were on display today, with the blue liveried "Sutton Flyer" standing alongside a much more forlorn looking engine, known as "Mighty Atom"...
SMR No2 "Sutton Flyer" was built in 1950, unlike her older sister "Sutton Belle" who wears an attractive red livery and was built in 1933. The two Sutton Atlantic's make for a nicely formed engine in 15" gauge I believe and would be nice running around your garden if you happened to suddenly become a lottery winner! Here, "Sutton Belle" rests in the museum, only inches from her sister...
With a shrill chime whistle having been heard, I walked outside to see No24 hissing in with the next train. We boarded an open but covered coach and, with tickets clipped, the train got away towards Kingsway. No24 barely murmured as she pulled away, the fairly lightly loaded train seeming no effort for her at all. In fact, as the engine slipped along the cycle path section the regulator barely seemed to open. The blower was used regularly too, presumably in an effort to maintain draft artificially as the loco plainly didn't need to chuff. The American styling brings out an attractive but very large locomotive in 15" gauge and perhaps No24 would be better with a train twice as long! Kingsway was reached easily and in quick time, before the 2-6-2 was shunted back for oiling up...
"A Portrait of No24"
The Driver applies oil to the motion on the 1990-built 2-6-2...
A side-shot of this impressive locomotive...
No24 duly ran round, ready to take up her place at the head of the train for a chimney first run to North Sea Lane via Lakeside...
"2-6-2 No24: Built 1990"
Having steamed easily along the cycle path section and got away smartly from Lakeside, No24 ran easily along the 'extension' towards the terminus. The gradient here was again no trouble for her and the engine barely uttered a sound...
"Sea Views nearing North Sea Lane"
At North Sea Lane, No24 duly ran round again...
I couldn't help thinking as I looked at her, that No24 is probably much more useful for heavier work. With a sizeable boiler, hefty looking motion and large outside steam pipes, she is no doubt a powerful engine that would really go if you wanted her to. The light train of today just seemed child's play for the American engine but I guess that oversize nature does make the job a lot easier for the Driver. She did give us a very smooth run and was very impressive to see...
After a quick coast down from North Sea Lane, No24 came to rest in Lakeside's Platform 3 where she took on water prior to the next departure...
"Journeys End"
Well, another very enjoyable visit to the CCLR has been made. No24 was a welcome change to see in service and was doing some sterling work today. I'm sure her large stature would make her a formidable engine if the stock was heavy enough! Best Regards, Sam...

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