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Sutton Collection

Discussion in 'Miniature Railways' started by andrewshimmin, Jan 28, 2018.

  1. andrewshimmin

    andrewshimmin Well-Known Member

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    What's the latest on the former Sutton Coldfield collection, i.e. Sutton Flyer, Sutton Belle, Mighty Atom and the lovely rolling stock and railcar?
    There doesn't seem to be any info on the CCLR website any more, and I can't find a Sutton Collection website.
     
  2. JMJR1000

    JMJR1000 Member

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    Hey Andrew, only just noticed your thread and question till now, so I hope me answering your question isn't too overly belated that you've lost interest in knowing now. I live in Cleethorpes and have tried to keep up to date with what's happening with the collection, so I'll give you the latest I know.

    Unfortunately most of the collection isn't running as much these days, due to the fact their all rather rundown and in much need of some TLC. As the new owners of the railway have rightly put it, they were used virtually everyday when really their not best suited to regular day to day operations anymore, not with the CCLR becoming ever more busier with more and more passengers riding on it.

    The carriages have been retired for the moment from what I gather, though hopefully now can be given much needed attention and care, being put to more appropriate only occasion/special event uses.

    On the locomotive front things are not so dire fortunately, as while none of them are runners as yet, Sutton Flyer and the railcar are due to visit the Tyseley Locomotive Works for their anniversary event and as part of the deal both will be overhauled and brought back into service. Sutton Belle on the other hand is need of major boiler repairs and so won't likely been seen for a while yet.

    As for the original steam locomotive of the railway (the SMR), Prince of Wales/Mighty Atom, the engine is stored away for the moment. From what I gather their still debating as to what should be done with the engine, have it overhauled and run again with the rest of the collection, or have it simply as a static display. Personally I'd love to see it run again, truly complete the collection as the rest of them despite their age are still great runners when worked within their limits.

    So that about sums it all up really, the collection is somewhat in a rough patch at the moment, but all being well in the near future should get back up to full strength while hopefully using it with a bit more care and less over usage then previously. I have many fond memories of this collection growing up, and to me their as integral to the history and character of the CCLR as they are of the old SMR where they used to run. So I indeed hold much hope they have their time to shine once more.
     
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2018
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  3. talyllyn1

    talyllyn1 Member

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    I too have fond memories of the SMR - as a school kid it was close to my home in Sutton Coldfield. I could hear the wonderful chime whistles from the garden.
    They were certainly suitable for day to day running then. In the summer months a near-continuous operation had Belle and Flyer working turn and turn about. The railway was immaculate - owner Tommy Hunt ran a very "tight ship".
    The whole lot was stored away at Hunt Bros factory in Oldbury for years after the loss of the Crystal Palace site in Sutton Park. I remember walking the track with a school friend just after it closed - peering under the shed doors, we could see that the locos were still in there.
    The local paper would have an article about it occasionally with rumours of the railway returning - alas it was not to be. I really must make the trek to Cleethorpes sometime.
     
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  4. JMJR1000

    JMJR1000 Member

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    I've read much of the SMR in it's heyday, and I must say I would've to love to have seen the railway back then myself. Indeed I found from what I read of Mr. Hunt to be quite the respectable man who, despite running what was never the biggest of 15inch railways, maintained and ran it like a full sized equivalent. So well looked after they were in fact that, from what I understand, little work needed to be done to get most of the collection up and running again at Cleethorpes.

    As I say hopefully it won't be long before Sutton Flyer is running about once more, along with Sutton Belle at some point all being well, as I do find hard to picture one without the other.

    I'd recommend certainly coming to visit sometime, it's a lovely railway that's only getting better and has a lot of charm, and hopefully when the planned extension to the line is completed in a few years time, you'll be able to ride behind one of the Sutton atlantics along the seaside coast for just over two miles, with a turntable at each end for the locos to be turned round. Would be appropriate if and when they get the turntables installed at each end of the line, for the Sutton engines certainly, as I recall the SMR had a turntable at the end of the line which essentially laid out as a balloon formation correct?
     
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  5. talyllyn1

    talyllyn1 Member

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    The SMR was a balloon loop but the two terminal tracks ran straight through the station into the loco shed, with a crossover to release incoming locos. There wasn't a turntable so the locos ran each alternate trip tender first.
    There was "double track" outside the station (in reality the two legs of the balloon loop). An incoming train would wait for the outgoing one to pass and then draw forward into the lovely station with an overall roof. The points were spring loaded so the incoming train would sometimes time it right to run in without stopping.
    When there as a long queue at the little ticket office the pace was a bit like a Kings Cross commuter service!

    There was a lovely signal gantry over the tracks, a "scale" signal box and a four-wheel "loco coal" wagon in one of the sidings.
    I never tire of watching this - always brings a lump to my throat:(:-

     
  6. JMJR1000

    JMJR1000 Member

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    Ah yes I recall that now your right, no turntable, and just as well as it would have slowed down what was a slick, fast paced operation indeed. And thanks for sharing the video, hadn't seen that before, great to see how it was back then in motion. :)

    I'd imagine you have many swell memories of the railway, though as I say perhaps coming to the CCLR will bring back even more of those fond memories. As well as the locos and carriages, we also have the overall roof at Lakeside station, the old shed now used as a museum. We even got the signal box and signal gantry erected at Lakeside too, over our own double track section when trains pass one another.
     
  7. talyllyn1

    talyllyn1 Member

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    Another video, this one of when the Flyer visited the RHDR:-



    Tommy Hunt features in it. The team even took their own coal!
    Incidentally, he was very supportive of the Talyllyn in the early years, and his company produced many components free of charge. Most prominent were the oval buffers for the Corris locos and Penrhyn, GVT and Corris coaches. The housings had "Hunt Bros" cast in them.
     
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  8. andrewshimmin

    andrewshimmin Well-Known Member

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    Is there any update on the SMR collection at Cleethorpes?
    I don't know if @JMJR1000 has any info?

    Sent from my Pixel 3a using Tapatalk
     
  9. watrail

    watrail New Member

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    Flyer and the railcar along with a few coaches are in store in the Midlands.

    Belle is dismantled at Cleethorpes (as she has been for quite a few years) and the remaining coaches are also in store there.

    There are plans to move the whole collection to a site in the Midlands, hopefully a case of watch this space.
     
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  10. andrewshimmin

    andrewshimmin Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the update. A great shame if the SMR collection at Cleethorpes has stalled, it seemed so promising there. I hope they get a new lease of life.

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