One of the founding principles of Sutton’s Locomotive Workshop is that the Class 24 model should remain - as far as possible - in stock at all times. We regarded it as a ‘bread and butter’ mixed-traffic locomotive that will always be on someone’s shopping list by virtue of its wide geographical spread. With just over a year having passed since its launch, SLW can report that sales of the locomotive have exceeded expectations, already requiring several additional runs. With stocks again starting to dwindle, we are at the stage of scheduling further production during 2017.
The response has been unbelievably positive, with an incredible number of unsolicited testimonials from people who immediately understood our motivation that came from frustration with the current marketplace and, more importantly, the quest for detail and accuracy. It really is heart-warming to see so many people getting pleasure from our model. All this excellent feedback means that we have had numerous requests for specific Class 24 variations to be made in the future - variations that make extensive use of our suite of tooling options. We do not normally reveal our intentions but since it is now no secret that the Class 24 has done well – fulfilling our initial sales predictions – it therefore follows that further production has already been sanctioned. This new batch will include a number of incremental refinements from lessons learned the hard way. Do let us know immediately if you have any further suggested improvements or constructive criticism.
Here at SLW, we like to think we have a good idea of what would be popular but the requests received include some surprising livery choices. Rather than produce simple re-runs we have therefore decided to trial putting the final choice of this next batch of models directly into the hands of existing and potential customers. We would like your opinion as a method of gauging wider interest. Modelling is all about nostalgia and, as a pro-active organisation, we obviously want to get you directly involved so we can try and satisfy as many people as possible. One idea is that particularly enthusiastic individuals could take up the mantle to champion specific locos and galvanize wider support in areas such as clubs, societies, preserved railways, social media and online forums.
All the informal requests received to date have been aggregated and narrowed down to six options, each of which can be ‘voted’ for by expressing an intention to purchase. Selections will go into production when a target threshold (loosely based on our optimal order quantity) is reached. This will be visualized on the SLW website and Facebook page by means of a ‘thermometer type’ bar graph for each model that will be regularly updated to show the percentage commitment. We are optimistic but, at the outset, do not expect all options to be realized immediately. If the concept proves popular, we may leave any slower-performing options live, to garner support over a longer period. Successful models and damp squibs could be replaced with new versions to vote for - there will also be space for voters to make further suggestions of their own.