A POPULAR tourist attraction is moving full steam ahead with a major refurbishment programme – thanks to help from the experts.
Redecoration work at Cleethorpes Coast Light Railway has been going on since it was taken over by new owners two years ago.
Now the initial stage of the project, which is breathing new life into historic stations, miniature steam trains and even the smallest pub in the world, is finally nearing the end of the line.
And Peter Bryant, who bought the heritage railway alongside fellow enthusiast John Kerr in 2014, says a trusting business relationship has helped keep them on track.
Paint for the entire project is being sourced from the Crown Decorating Centre in neighbouring Grimsby, where manager Robert Wray and his team are pulling out all the stops, according to Mr Bryant.
He said: “We’ve invested heavily in both infrastructure and the upgrade of facilities and that includes extensive painting work.
“We wanted to create a uniform look across the whole site and the team at Crown has been massively helpful with that.
“Not only are they supplying the paint to meet our very specific requirements, they provide invaluable advice and their customer service is second to none.
“Robert really knows his stuff and his expertise has made a big difference to us during the last couple of years.”
The idyllic site in North East Lincolnshire, which now attracts more than 250,000 visitors each year, features three stations, a café and museum along a two-mile narrow gauge line stretching from Kingsway (near Cleethorpes itself) to Humberston.
But it’s the main station, at the halfway point of Lakeside, which is home to The Signal Box Inn – officially recognised as ‘the smallest pub on the planet’.
The fully-stocked pub, measuring just eight feet square, was the latest building to be included in the makeover when it was repainted to mark its 10th anniversary this year.
Its new look falls in line with the railway’s iconic maroon and cream colour scheme and means it won’t be long before the first stage of the refurbishment programme, carried out by Peter and John alongside five full-time staff and a team of volunteers, is complete.
Work will continue over the next few years with an extension to the main building at Lakeside and the redevelopment of Humberston station on the long-term agenda.
Robert said: “We’ve supplied paint throughout the project along with advice on precisely which products to use and where and we’ve struck up something of a relationship with the guys at the railway.
“They’ve been redecorating buildings inside and out, so they’ve used a lot of oil-based undercoat and gloss and we set them up with an account to make it more cost-effective.
“We’ve also used codes to supply very specific paint for some of their engines, particularly those based on Thomas the Tank Engine, as well as a special merchandising area.