|If you lived in
Gloucestershire between 1990 and 1992 you might remember a weekly
newspaper called The Gloucester Journal. In The Gloucester Journal was
a feature called Railspot, which I wrote. Each week, Railspot would
include a picture, 500 words describing it, and often some pub quiz
type questions about railways.
ENGLISH ELECTRIC TYPE 3 CO-COS
|Alan Postlethwaite's beautiful 4mm scale model of LMS diesel electric 10000 can most often be seen on his Brockley Acres layout, next due to appear at Stonehouse on 21 March 2009.|
|Although the Southern
Railway first decided to try out main line diesel electric traction in
1946, Britain's first main line diesel - numbered 10000 - left the
Derby Works of the London Midland and Scottish Railway on 12 December
The LMS Chief Mechanical Engineer - H.G. Ivatt - collaborated closely with the English Electric Company during design and building of the new 1 600 bhp Co-Co, which took only seven months from drawing board to completion just ahead of Nationalisation on 1 January 1948.
As a single unit - powered by a 750 rpm four stroke English Electric16 SVT prime mover already exported to Egypt -10000 was seen as an equivalent of a Stanier "Black Five" 4-6-0 but working with its twin - 10001 - the combined installed 3 200 bhp could equal a "Princess Coronation" pacific to handle the heaviest 16 carriage Anglo-Scottish expresses.
|10001 heads a breakdown train under the West Coast Main Line wires through Kenton on 26 June 1964. By this time the overall Brunswick green had been modified with an eggshell blue horizontal band, white numbers, medium grey roof and yellow half-height warning panels.|
|Following delivery of
10001 in June 1948 each locomotive was tried out individually on the
Midland main line from St Pancras, then together north of Euston on the
West Coast before a spell of individual workings on the Southern
Region's Waterloo to Bournemouth and West of England services.
While powering such named trains as the "Bournemouth Belle" and "Royal Wessex" 10000 and 10001 were allocated to Nine Elms Depot ( 70A ) alongside the Southern Region's own English Electric powered 1Co-Co1 diesels 10201 and 10202. However, the poor reliability of the LMS twins required works attention at Brighton among other places.
Following a repaint from silver lined black to orange and black lined Brunswick Green in 1956, later work on London Midland Region included fast freight during winter ( partly due to unreliable train heating boilers ) and outer suburban turns, by which time standard production diesel classes were taking over British Railways locomotive duties. 10000 was withdrawn in December 1963 and 10001 in March 1966 but sadly neither diesel was preserved.
|THE CORRIDORS OF POWER|
|Despite this, 10000 and
10001 had not only pioneered British diesel electric traction but the
use of such locomotives in multiple unit working. Where two steam
locomotives needed two drivers and two firemen for a double headed
train, the driver of a diesel could control two or even three
locomotives as if they were one. Theoretically this would save the
railway wage bills and allow a more flexible use of traction.
In practice however, not all locomotives were compatible. Class 37 locomotives - such as 37 215 pictured above - were built with the "Blue Star" coupling code, which means that they can not only work in multiple with any other Class 37 but also with Classes 20, 25, 26, 31, 33 and certain members of Class 47. Class 50 locomotives meanwhile have "Orange Square" MU wiring, Classes 56 and 58 "Red Diamond" and Class 60s can only work among themselves. This is quite logical as the larger diesels can usually manage trains on their own,and so do not need help from their less powerful brethren.
In the 1960s though, the manufacture of similar horsepower locomotives by a range of different companies led to a whole host of coupling codes appearing. Names, forgotten now, like "Red Circle", "White Diamond" and "Yellow Triangle" were commonplace, making multiple unit working harder to achieve outside of regular localised diagrams.
BR also discovered the hard way that one large locomotive is cheaper to maintain than two small ones. Consequently the fleet of Type 1-3 designs ( each yielding less than 2 000 horsepower ) has been rationalised in the last 30 years, leaving traffic in the hands of more substantial diesels. Despite this, one legacy of the rush to dieselisation remains.
From the beginning, designers believed that when two locomotives were running in multiple it would often be neccessary for the crew to check over the unmanned unit whilst on the move. As it turned out this was not the case - but the belief meant that throughout the 1950s line service diesels were being built with small coach-style corridor connections. In turn, front-end designs suffered from being built around pairs of metal doors.
"Deltic" was the first to buck this trend, followed by the D800 "Warships in 1958 and Birmingham RCW's Class 33 in 1960. Class 37 - introduced in 1961 - was in an interesting position however. Based on both LMS 10000 and the English Electric Class 40 design of 1947, the first 119 examples had nose-end corridor connections with split headcode box displays. The final 189 units of the 308 strong class, though - including 37 215 above - had a neater centre-headcode box. This was liked not only by aesthetes but by crews as well - those corridor connections could be very draughty! In time the front end doors were welded up or replaced by single sheets of metal. Headcodes, too, were abolished in 1976 and the display boxes were either plated over or even replaced on refurbishment.
However, Class 37s 054, 065, 072 and 100 were released to traffic with split boxes at one end only after accident repairs - the source of many platform end arguments no doubt!
|ENTER THE CLASS 37S|
|The doyen of the Class 37s - first numbered D6700, later 37 119 and later still 37 350 - was pictured by William Lyon Tupman at Grosmont during the North Yorkshire Moors Railway Diesel Gala on 9 May 2008. Vulcan Works number 2863 / D579 was finally withdrawn from 30A Stratford although for two months in 1989 D6700 left its normal oil train duties on loan to Provincial sector where it found regular employment on the 16.54 Bristol Temple Meads to Weymouth service.|
|Despite Britain's first
main line diesel electrics offering 1 600 installed bhp apiece, the
British Transport Commission's Modernisation Plan of 1955 had, by the
start of the end of the decade, only produced locomotives either in the
Type 1 ( Up to 1 000 bhp ) Type 2 ( 1 000 - 1475 bhp ) or Type 4 ( 2
000 to 2750 bhp ) ranges. This was to deny British Railway's operating
department a Type 3 ( 1 500 to 1 750 bhp ) - as it turned out, the most
useful Type of all!
If two Type 2s were worked in multiple it could be argued that they were overpowered at over 2 000 bhp for many mixed traffic duties but underpowered individually. Similarly, new Type 4 classes were becoming ever more powerful.
Thus, to bridge the ever widening gap, English Electric in 1957 made a radical proposal to power a 1700 bhp Type 3 Bo-Bo locomotive with an 18 cylinder Deltic engine - either in a single cab format similar to the Class 20s then being produced at Newton Le Willows or in a two cab format similar to what would become English Electric's Class 23. Introduced in 1959, these "Baby Deltics" with nine cylinder Napier prime movers sandwiched between two-section windscreens and nose ends were one of British Railway's least successful classes, and perhaps explained the wariness with which English Electric's proposal was approached.
What English Electric could offer instead though was a 12 cylinder 1 750 bhp version of the 16SVT 2 000 bhp engine already being installed in the firm's Class 40 diesel electrics - fitted inside a body that shared cab doors, windows, nose ends, gangways and many other superstructure components with the production Type 4 1Co-Co1s. Indeed, when D6700 - the first of what would become Class 37 - left the Vulcan Foundry in December 1960 it weighed 30 tons less than 10000 and 10001 but developed 150 bhp more with an engine block four cylinders shorter. Unlike other private British locomotive builders too, English Electric could build their new Type 3 Co-Cos simultaneously at both Vulcan Foundry in Newton-Le-Willows and at the former Robert Stephenson Hawthorn works in Darlington.
|37 215 - preserved on the Gloucestershire and Warwickshire Railway - was built by the English Electric Company at Vulcan Works, Newton-Le-Willows as works number 3393/D859 in 1963. It started its BR career as D6915 in January 1964 at 87E Swansea Landore before TOPS renumbering in March 1974.|
|D6700 was first
allocated to 30A
depot in east London and after teething troubles with fabricated six
wheel bogies ( later either modified or replaced with a cast design
that would also serve under Classes 55 and 50 ) the Class 37s soon
spread from Eastern to all other British Railways regions. On Western
Region from 1962 the D6700-D6999 series soon ousted Class 35 "Hymek"
diesel hydraulics from South Wales ( sometimes triple heading heavy
iron ore trains ) and in the summer of 1965 pairs of Class 37s were
tried hauling passenger expresses from Paddington to Bristol and the
West of England. With 3 500 bhp ( 200 bhp more than a Class 55 Deltic )
at the command of the driver, normal 90 mph speed limits were relaxed
and speeds of 104 mph were officially recorded.
D6700 itself was fitted with push-pull controls by BR's Derby Research Centre in 1968 and in February that year trialled on 90 mph services between Edinburgh and Glasgow. As it turned out however, these push-pull services were to be powered by BRCW Type 2s before Class 47/7s took over.
|While the 1970s were a
relatively quiet period for the technical augmentation of Class 37s,
June 1985 saw British Rail Engineering Works in Crewe turm out 37 401 ,
the first of a series of dual braked Electric Train Heat (ETH) fitted
and alternator driven locomotives which was completed when 37 431 was
delivered in 1986. Many of these new 37/4s were sent to the West
Highland and Far North lines in Scotland, enabling modern ETH passenger
stock to be used without the aid of Electric Train Heat Ex Locomotives
- usually former Class 25s. However, second generation diesel hydraulic
multiple units took over many of these duties from 1989, leaving the
Class 37/4s left in Scotland to work freight and overnight sleepers.
Late 1985 also saw the conversion of 37 253 to 37 699 - essentially a non ETH fitted Class 37/4. The refurbished 37/5s also featured a traction alternator, snowplough brackets, headlights, dual brakes and One Man Operation equipment to make them adept freight locomotives - coping with trainloads of Cornish china clay, Peak District limestone and Welsh coal.
1986 meanwhile saw the creation of the heavyweight Class 37/7s, boasting a Brush or GEC built alternator and ballasted up to 120 tons in weight to give better adhesion when working Merry-Go-Round coal trains to power stations, petroleum products around the Thames estuary or steel in Scotland.
Class 37/3s meanwhile were intermediate overhauled Class 37/0s with refurbished CP7 bogies and either a single 890 gallon fuel tank or twin tanks with a capacity of 1698 gallons. The first candidate for Class 37/3 conversion was in fact 37 119, the original D6700, which was outshopped in green from Crewe in March 1988 as 37 350.
Looking ahead to a time beyond the life of the Class 37 design was the six strong 120 ton twin tank 37/9 sub class, outshopped in 1986 and used as test beds for new engines and alternators. Four examples were powered by an eight cylinder Mirrlees MB275T of 1 800 bhp coupled to a Brush alternator while the final two 37/9s had similarly rated GEC / Ruston RK270T prime movers and GEC alternators. By the start of the 1990s, the first Class 60 diesel electrics were being rolled out of Brush at Loughborough with a longer version of the Mirrlees engine.
|CLASS 37 BY NUMBERS|
|37 010 and 37 258 on Gloucester Horton Road depot in 1992. 37 010 was outshopped from Newton- Le-Willows as Vulcan Foundry 2874 / D590 with split headcode boxes in February 1961 and as D6710 was first allocated to 30A Stratford. 37 258 - with a central headcode panel - carried the Vulcan works number 3515 / D946 from January 1965 and the running number D6958. Its first depot was 86A Cardiff Canton, and in this image both locomotives wear Civil Engineer's "Dutch" livery and the leaping goat badge of Cardiff Canton.|
|This post Privatization view of 37 013 at Carlisle Citadel reveals blue Mainline livery on the former D6713, Vulcan 2876 / D592 of March 1961. The split box Growler was first allocated to 30A Stratford depot.|
|37 058 began British Railways service as D6758 and by the time that this picture was taken at Gloucester in April 1991 it was allocated to Cardiff Canton after spells at Gateshead, Thornaby and Tinsley's Speedlink pool in 1989. Outshopped from Newton-Le-Willows in October 1962, Vulcan works 3050 / D712 was first allocated to Thornaby when the depot was coded 51L.|
March 1990 37 197 and 37 273 ( in two tone markings ) were photographed
at Gloucester Horton Road depot. Then allocated to Cardiff Canton
depot, they retained dual brakes but had swapped steam heating
apparatus for extra fuel capacity.
Starting life as D6897, 37 197 was a Thornaby locomotive until the mid 1980s when it moved to Cardiff initially to haul coal trains. In 1989 however it became a Railfreight Metals asset.
Numbered D6606, the last built "Growler" bar two became 37 306 under TOPS in the 1970s. By the mid 1980s though, many standard Class 37s were being adapted for more specialised work and to avoid confusion with the regeared, rebogied 37/3 sub class 37 306 was renumbered 37 273 in 1989. The original 37 273 had been converted in 1985-6 to 37/4 specification, complete with radio electronic token block and electric train heat, and was subsequently numbered 37 410, named "Aluminium 100" and based at Glasgow Eastfield depot.
|Photographed by William Lyon Tupman, 37 261 poses in front York's Yorkshire Wheel in the blue markings of Sellafield based Direct Rail Services on 12 October 2008. Starting life as Vulcan Works 3521 / D950 in January 1965, D6961 was first allocated to 41A Tinsley and given its TOPS number in November 1973. In June 1985 it was given the name "Caithness".|
|37 264 approaches Gloucester Horton Road level crossing as a class member waits on the north eastern side of the triangle with a freight train. Although pictured in large logo blue, D6964 was originally allocated to 41A Tinsley in January 1965, carrying Vulcan Works number 3524 / D953.|
|With its two tone Railfreight grey markings superimposed with a Transrail logo, 37 412 heads a Pathfinder Tour of west Wales. Formerly 37 301 and before that D6601, Vulcan Foundry 3561 / D990 was first allocated to 87E Landore depot in September 1965. TOPS renumbering took place in May 1974, refurbishment to 37/4 was completed in November 1985 and the name "Loch Lomond" was applied from April 1987. By the time that this picture was taken in the mid 1990s however, 37 412 had been renamed "Driver John Elliot".|
|37 414 was pictured at Crewe in the markings of British Rail's Regional sector, having previously been blue 37 287 from May 1974 and green D6987. Vulcan 3547 / D976 of June 1965 was originally allocated to 86A Cardiff Canton and was upgraded to 37/4 status in November 1985.|
|Like 37 264 pictured above, 37 429 is in large logo blue as it stands next to 33 009 at the northern end of Bristol Temple Meads station in the mid 1980s. Although representing the two diesel electric classes in the same Type 3 power category, the Birmingham Railway Carriage and Wagon Company's Bo-Bo has a Sulzer engine and very different styling from the former D6600, outshopped from Vulcan Foundry as 3560 / DD989 in August 1965 and allocated to 86A Cardiff Canton. Becoming 37 300 under TOPS in November 1973 and 37 429 in March 1986, the name "EisteddfodGenedlaethol" was applied in August 1987.|
|37 514 began British Railways service as D6815 and by the time that this picture was taken at Gloucester in April 1991 it was allocated to Thornaby after spells at Tinsley, Stratford and March. The erstwhile 37 115 became 37 514 in March 1987 with the addition of a Brush alternator and CP7 bogies and was only repainted in two tone grey from Railfreight Redstripe in 1990. 41A Darnall was the first depot of Vulcan Foundry 3244 / D769 in February 1963.|
|37 602 makes an interesting comparison with 37 261, above, both being pictured at York by William Lyon Tupman and both in variants of Direct Rail Services livery. As seen on 6 July 2008, 37 602 is one of a number of alternator fitted Growlers originally refurbished for use on Channel Tunnel Nightstar services fitted with UIC jumper cables and designated as subclass 37/6. Built by English Electric at the former Robert Stephenson Hawthorn works at Darlington as 3209 / 8328 and outshopped in November 1962 as D6782, the 1750 bhp Co-Co was first allocated to 50B Dairycoates depot in Hull and was renumbered as 37 082 in February 1974. Refurbishment to 37/5 standard came in March 1986 and naming as "British Steel Teesside" in March 1987.|
|37 698 is seen at Carlisle Citadel in the post Privatization colours of Load Haul, having been numbered 37 246 before refurbishment to 37/5 standard in February 1986. Built as Vulcan Foundry 3503 / D934 in October 1964, D6946 was allocated new to 86A Cardiff Canton and carried the name "Coedbach" from September 1988.|
|In its scruffy EWS livery, 37 704 was captured behind Platform 4 of Gloucester station on 20 February 2008 en route to storage at Long Marston. The 37/7 had previously been numbered 37 034 from March 1974 before refurbishment in January 1987. As D6734, Vulcan Foundry 2897 / D613 had been allocated new to 50B Dairycoates in March 1962.|
|Looking even more worse for wear on the same day and place as 37 704 was 37 898, its two tone grey livery with Transrail insignia a travesty of that worn by 37 412 above. 37 898 had been known as 37 186 under TOPS and before that as the palindromatic D6886 when outshopped from the former Robert Stephenson Hawthorn works at Darlington as 3364 / 8407 in November 1963. Refurbishment to 37/7 standard was in December 1986 for the locomotive first allocated to 87E Landore.|
OTHER RELOADED RAILSPOTS
|Avonside Standard Gauge Tank Locomotives|
|British Standard Six Coupled Steam|
|Brush Class 60 Type 5 Co-Cos|
|Great Western Railway Express Passenger 4-6-0s|
|Industrial Narrow Gauge Railways|
|LMS "Princess Royal" Class 4-6-2 6201 "Princess Elizabeth"|
|The Midland & South Western Junction Railway|
|National Waterways Museum Wagons|
|Southern Railway Class N15 "King Arthur" 4-6-0s|
|Warship Class Diesel Hydraulic Locomotives|