Heavy Metals!

Class 37/7 No. 37714 is on long term loan from DRS to the Heavy Tractor Group at the Great Central Railway. So what are its plans for the loco? Paul Bickerdyke finds out.

‘HEAVYWEIGHT’ Class 37 No. 37714 is about to gain a new identity – or rather regain one it first wore in the late-1980s.

No. 37714 starts first time at Loram, Derby, after a few weeks out of action. The loco and bodywork are both generally in good condition. It currently sports de-branded DRS blue livery with vinyls of one of its sponsors Morris Lubricants, but is being repainted into Trainload triple grey. All pictures taken on January 21 by Paul Bickerdyke unless stated

The loco – which is owned by Direct Rail Services but on loan to the Heavy Tractor Group based at the Great Central Railway – was moved to Loram, Derby, just before Christmas to be repainted into the Trainload Metals triple grey sub-sector livery. It currently carries debranded DRS blue, but with vinyls from one of its sponsors, Morris Lubricants.

The loco has had a varied career since first entering traffic in 1961 as No. D6724. The split-box (series 1) machine became No. 37024 in 1973, spending time allocated to depots such as Stratford, Thornaby, Motherwell and Cardiff Canton. In 1988, it was chosen to become one of the final refurbished ‘heavyweight’ fleet (see box), emerging from Crewe Works minus its headcode boxes as No. 37714 and allocated to the Trainload Metals sector. The ‘37/7s’ were ballasted to weigh 120 tonnes (a standard ‘37’ being about 100 tonnes) to improve their starting tractive effort on freight work.

After the privatisation of BR in the mid-1990s, the loco became part of the EWS fleet and was painted into the company’s red and gold livery in 1997. After becoming redundant at EWS, a new life beckoned working on railway infrastructure projects in Spain as No. L26. It was repatriated in 2012, becoming part of the DRS fleet and finding use as a ‘super shunter’ at Daventry International Rail Freight Terminal at the end of 2013 alongside classmate No. 37703.

Read more in the March issue of RE – out now!

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