Rail (UK)

An­niver­sary run for pi­o­neer ‘37’ thwarted by pan­demic

- Richard Clin­nick Head of News richard.clin­nick@bauer­me­dia.co.uk @Richard_rail Class 37s fea­ture: see RAIL 920. Infectious Diseases · Health Conditions · English Electric · London · Liverpool · DB Schenker Rail (UK) · Newton-le-Willows · Great Yarmouth

COVID-19 has pre­vented pi­o­neer Class 37 D6700 from be­ing in op­er­a­tional con­di­tion for its 60th an­niver­sary.

The ‘37’ is cur­rently at the Na­tional Rail­way Mu­seum in York, where it re­quires re­pairs to its trac­tion mo­tor blow­ers on its No.2 end.

NRM Se­nior Cu­ra­tor for Rail Trans­port and Tech­nol­ogy An­thony Coulls told RAIL that while this work was not hugely ex­pen­sive, the com­po­nent would have to be sent away for spe­cial­ist re­pairs.

He also ex­plained that be­cause of the pan­demic, work­shop staff and vol­un­teers were still work­ing from home, and that projects such as re­turn­ing the ‘37’ to op­er­a­tional con­di­tion had to be paused.

Two groups are un­able to work to­gether in the NRM’s work­shop due to so­cial dis­tanc­ing rules.

The ‘37’, which is part of the NRM’s op­er­a­tional strat­egy, last hauled trains in Oc­to­ber 2017 at the Mid-Hants Rail­way.

The lo­co­mo­tive was re­leased from Eng­lish Elec­tric’s Vul­canFoundry at New­ton-le-Wil­lows on De­cem­ber 2 1960. It hauled its first rev­enue-earn­ing train on De­cem­ber 24 that year, tak­ing an ad­di­tional pas­sen­ger train from Lon­don Liver­pool Street-Great Yar­mouth.

It was re­stored to near as-built con­di­tion by EWS ahead of the RAIL/ EWS To­ton Open Day in Au­gust 1998, and was with­drawn from traf­fic in De­cem­ber 1999, pass­ing to the Na­tional Col­lec­tion.

“The lo­co­mo­tive was part through a main­te­nance regime that had been go­ing on for two years,” Coulls told RAIL.

He said work had ini­tially been paused while the NRM re­viewed its pol­icy around vol­un­teers and ac­cess, but that it had been agreed re­pairs would re­sume last March with a view to start­ing the ‘37’ in July. Then COVID-19 struck.

Longer-term, the plan re­mains for it to be avail­able for hire to galas.

Coulls ex­plained: “It’s able to op­er­ate in the yard, but that is suited for smaller lo­co­mo­tives. We know ‘37s’ are very pop­u­lar and we had re­quests for galas this year. It will be avail­able, but less likely for long-term loans and more likely short-term ones.”

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