British Rail Class 37

British Rail Class 37

Infobox Locomotive
name = English Electric Type 3
British Rail Class 37
powertype = Diesel-electric

caption = 37038 at Crewe Works on 1 June 2003 having recently been painted in Direct Rail Services livery
roadnumber = D6700–D6999, D6600–D6608; later 37001–37308
builder = English Electric at Vulcan Foundry and Robert Stephenson and Hawthorns
builddate = 1960–1965
totalproduction = 309
gauge = RailGauge|ussg|lk=on|al=on
primemover = "Built:" English Electric 12CSVT
"37/9:" Mirrlees Blackstone MB275Tt or Ruston RK270Tt
generator =
tractionmotors =
transmission = DC traction motors
whytetype = Co-Co
uicclass = Co'Co'
wheeldiameter = convert|3|ft|9|in|m|3|abbr=on
minimumcurve = convert|4|chain|m|lk=in
trainbrakes = Vacuum, Dual, or Air
locobrakeforce = convert|50|LTf|kN|sigfig=3|abbr=on|lk=in
wheelbase = convert|50|ft|8|in|m|2|abbr=on
length = convert|61|ft|6|in|m|2|abbr=on
width = convert|8|ft|10+1/2|in|m|2|abbr=on
height = convert|12|ft|9|in|m|2|abbr=on
weight = convert|100|LT|sigfig=3 to convert|105|LT|sigfig=3
topspeed = convert|90|mph|abbr=on
poweroutput = "Engine:" convert|1750|bhp|0|abbr=on
tractiveeffort = "Maximum:" convert|55500|lbf|kN|0|abbr=on
"Continuous:" convert|35000|lbf|kN|0|abbr=on
trainheating = "37/0:" Steam
"37/4:" Electric Train Heat
"Remainder:" None
multipleworking = ★ Blue Star
axleloadclass = Route availability 5
railroad = British Railways
West Coast Railway Company
The British Rail Class 37 is a diesel locomotive. Also known as the English Electric Type 3, the Class was ordered as part of the British Rail modernisation plan.

The Class 37 became a familiar sight on many parts of the British Rail network, in particular forming the main motive power for Inter-City services in East Anglia and within Scotland. They also performed well on secondary and inter-regional services for many years. The Class 37 is known by railway enthusiasts as a "Tractor", the nickname derived from the similarity of the sound of the locomotive.

Class 37s today

In the 1980s many locomotives were refurbished, which has meant the Class 37 fleet is one of the longest surviving classes on British railways. However, the introduction of new Class 66 locomotives has meant many 37s have been withdrawn or scrapped. The last few British examples are operated by EWS (English Welsh & Scottish) and Direct Rail Services, who retain small fleets, with several examples also operated by spot-hire companies. However, second-hand Class 37s have also proved popular in the export market, with some examples currently operating in Spain and France (serving the construction of these countries' high-speed railway networks).



The Class 37 locomotive was built in the late 1950s and early 1960s, the order split between English Electric's Vulcan Foundry at Newton-le-Willows, and Robert Stephenson and Hawthorns of Darlington. 309 locomotives were produced in total, originally numbered in the range D6700-D6999 and D6600-D6608. The bodywork bears a strong family resemblance to the English Electric Class 40 and Class 23 'Baby Deltic'.


The Class was designed for both passenger and freight work and was as much at home hauling heavy goods trains as it was on passenger services (indeed, in 1966 the Western Region even tried modifying some of its 37s for 100mph operation). Many of the original locomotives were fitted with boilers for steam heating. With the withdrawal of many Type 2 and Type 3 locomotives in the 1980s the 37s were selected as the standard Type 3 and many of the fleet were given a heavy overhaul to prolong their life into the 1990s and beyond. Some were fitted with electrical train heating (ETH) equipment in the 1980s to become the 37/4 sub-class, initially for use on the West Highland Line and Far North lines but later seeing use in other parts of the country.


A number of locomotives were rebuilt as Class 37/9 in the late 1980s to evaluate Mirrlees and Ruston engines for possible use on a new Class 38 freight locomotive. These 'Slugs' were heavily ballasted to improve traction and had excellent load-hauling capabilities, but the Class 38 (understood to be a 'modular' locomotive based on the approach that gave rise to the Class 58 and the unbuilt Class 88 electric loco) was never built.

Axle load

The Class 37 has a relatively low axle loading for its size and power. With the withdrawal of most of the smaller types of diesel locomotive, this left them as the only mainline type available in significant numbers for lines with weight restrictions, and for a number of years they handled almost all locomotive-hauled services on the West Highland Line, the lines north of Inverness (Far North Line) and in parts of Wales. The Class 37 has Route Availability 5 and this is one of the main reasons they are still in use on the network.

TOPS renumbering

As with many diesel classes, the TOPS renumbering was implemented in a straightforward manner, with the locomotive numbers remaining in sequence. Thus 6701 became 37001 and D6999 became 37299; while D6600 - D6608 became 37300 - 37308. The remaining locomotive, D6700 became 37119 instead of D6819 which became 37283; D6983 had been withdrawn in 1965 following a collision with a Class 47, number D1671, in South Wales as the result of a landslip. [cite book | last = Morrison | first = Brian | title = The Power of the 37s | publisher = Oxford Publishing Co| year= 1981 | location = Oxford ]




*cite book | last = Marsden | first = Colin J. | title = Motive power recognition:1 Locomotives | publisher = Ian Allen Ltd | year= 1981 | location = Shepperton | isbn = 0 7110 1109 5
*cite book | last = Preedy | first = Norman E | coauthors = Ford, H L | title = BR Diesels in Close-Up | publisher = D Bradford Barton Ltd | location = Truro
*cite book | last = Williams | first = Alan | coauthors = Percival, David | title = British Railways Locomotives and Multiple Units including Preserved Locomotives 1977 | publisher = Ian Allen Ltd | year= 1977 | location = Shepperton | isbn = 0 7110 0751 9

External links

* [ The Junction - Class 37 History]
* [ Class 37 Locomotive Group]
* [ The Growler Group]
* [ The Class 37 section on Ste's railway gallery]

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