Cumbrian Coast Class 37 finale

kevsmith Dec 29, 2018

  1. kevsmith

    kevsmith TrainBoard Member

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    Sadly the 28th of December saw the last scheduled working of a passenger train on the Cumbrian Coast line with Class 37 diesel haulage. The contract was due to expire late in January but the decision was taken before Christmas that the service would be discontinued before the New year.

    As you will know, if you have followed my other posts, DRS have been supplying Class 37/4s and Mark 2 coaches to support Northern rail for a couple of years to increase capacity on the line between Carlisle and Barrow in Furness. The results have been mixed as the locomotives, introduced in the early 60's have had reliability issues and the Northern Drivers, more used to driving two car DMUs, needed a lot more training than they were given. What was obvious was how much it grabbed the attention of railfans from far and wide.

    Some of the 37s have had serious money spent on them and have become celebrity engines in their own right.

    So I set out to capture as much action as I could in the lat two weeks bearing in mind that the weather and light was appalling for much of the time. The first northbound train in the morning was impossible it being pitch black and the first southbound, passing at 08.30, was problematic. really the last one where there was decent light was the Northbound 2C59 just after 3 in the afternoon so opportunities were limited

    Three locos were the mainstay for the last few days

    37 401 'Mary Queen of Scots' was doing O.K until a spectacular failure at Foxfield blocked the Up line for Five hours and meant a 'Thunderbird' loco being dispatched from Carlisle to rescue it!

    [​IMG]

    37 425 which uniquely carries different nameplates either side 'Sir Robert MaCalpine' and 'Concrete Bob' behaved itself for the duration although it was getting filthy with the weather

    [​IMG]

    401 was replaced with 37 424 'Avro Vulcan XH588' which confusingly has the number 558 in big numerals on the side.
    This was the million pound 'show pony' when it returned from major works overhaul including a full re-skin of the bodyshell

    [​IMG]

    The last one I got was yesterday's 2C59 Barrow to Carlisle with 424 on the point. The 'Cumbrian Coast Express' headboard had re-appeared and although loco hauled trains continued until later that evening that was pretty much it. There had been some railfans around who had got wind of the end and were riding and recording as many as they could.

    So 2019 is going to be a lot quieter on the Cumbrian Coast as DMUs replace the 37s. While local residents will not miss the throaty roar of the English Electric 12CSVT engines the railfans really will. And with the 37s displaced from Nuclear services by Class 68s and also the class 88 Hybrids it's going to be a lot less interesting for photography and video next year for me

    The video is here, the sound is so evocative!




    Cheers

    Kev
     
  2. Hytec

    Hytec TrainBoard Member

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    As you say, a distinctive exhaust. Are those the opposed piston engines used in submarines during WW-II?
     
  3. kevsmith

    kevsmith TrainBoard Member

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  4. Hytec

    Hytec TrainBoard Member

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  5. mr magnolia

    mr magnolia TrainBoard Member

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    Thanks for the pics Kev.
    Those beasts used to scare the daylights out of me as a child.
    I rode behind them a good few times in the early 80s when work took me on strange cross country journeys ranging from Thurso down to Plymouth, but largely between Yorkshire and Plymouth in the old corridor/compartment overnight services.
    Still see some of them here in Scotland, but not on scheduled services.
    Your class 68s are the only loco haul passenger runs that I see nowadays.
    Ah me, having one of those 37s go by you is like having your stereo speakers turned up as high as you dare imagine, as your insides get wobbled by the bass line!

    First loco I bought too, when the modelling bug bit.

    Donald


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro
     
  6. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Love the sound of those engines. What was the "spectacular failure of "Mary Queen of Scots?" Something which will cause her to be scrapped?

    That lighting is no problem for me. It is the reality of everyday railroading.
     
  7. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    In the US, Fairbanks Morse O-P engines were used in submarines and other marine adaptations. i believe they still are in service, and of course newer versions....
     
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  8. Eagle2

    Eagle2 Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Not only are the 37's nice to see, but the BR scheme is wonderful (to my eye, at least)
     
  9. kevsmith

    kevsmith TrainBoard Member

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    Won't know till I get back to work on Wednesday. this was the first year, for a long time, I've not been first on-call engineer over Christmas and New Year and I've been quite happy to be 'out of the loop'


    Kev
     
  10. Doug Gosha

    Doug Gosha TrainBoard Member

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    I have loved the Brit locomotives ever since I got my first Treble-O-Lectric "Derby Sulzers" and "Baby Deltics" several years ago. I have bought several more since.

    Are the 37's turbo charged? They sound like it.

    Great video!

    Doug
     
  11. kevsmith

    kevsmith TrainBoard Member

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    Hi Doug
    Yes they are turbocharged,

    Back in 1997 ( on an 'Old school' camcorder) I filmed a 37 being started in cold wet conditions at Carnforth ready for some weekend engineering work and you can hear the turbo lag clear as a bell.

    The second 37 on the film 688 ended up on our fleet. This was the loco we used on a special move to Devonport where it took us 14 hours to get back to Crewe, the longest time I have ever spent in a 37 cab!



    Kev
     
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  12. kevsmith

    kevsmith TrainBoard Member

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    And now it really is over.

    Today we ran a one-off charter train for railfans to celebrate the sterling work these locos have done on the coast. 37 409 'Lord Hinton' and 37 425 'Concrete Bob' top and tailed a Carlisle to Carnforth and return limited stop special.

    Rumbling through the ancient railway buildings at Foxfield

    [​IMG]

    Note the two special headboards.

    At Lindal on the steep climb through Lindal tunnel. the rear loco 37 425 is doing all the work

    [​IMG]
    Rolling downhill through Dalton on the return leg

    37 425 has been this mucky since before Christmas and contrasts with the immaculate 37 409

    [​IMG]

    The last video for the forseeable future sadly



    Kev
     
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  13. Doug Gosha

    Doug Gosha TrainBoard Member

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    More excellent video and photographs!

    Do you know what that kind of loud ratcheting noise is in the next to last (cold start) video of just the two locomotives? Is it related to the locomotives or environmental? OK, I watched it again and it seems more to be environmental.

    When I mentioned turbo charging before, when the Milwaukee Road had a yard right near where I grew up in the nineteen sixties, they had a Baldwin S-12 switcher (shunter) to move cars around and the turbo charger in it sounded exactly the same as in those 37's. The S-12 didn't have the guttural, throaty sound of the 37's, however. Of course, less horsepower, too. I used to fall asleep listening to that loco at work.

    Anyway, it's always sad when old locomotives are withdrawn from service after they have proven their worth.

    Doug
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2019
  14. kevsmith

    kevsmith TrainBoard Member

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    It was some idiot using an angle grinder behind me!

    kev
     
  15. kevsmith

    kevsmith TrainBoard Member

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    Not quite the end , yet

    So I was back in the house Sunday teatime after making my eyes go all squirly painting a Z gauge class 37 in the early railfreight livery and noticed on TOPS that we still had a train on the Cumbrian Coast on a T3 possession (Basically an engineering train on a major track relaying job). The week before it had been one of our Class 66s which had come through Askam mid morning l.e in the daylight such as it is.

    This one was due to leave Millom at 17.30 bound for Crewe Basford Hall but some sixth sense made me decide to walk down to the station. In the dark, with a howling wind and the constant threat of driving rain.

    My wife by now is convinced I've gone mad!

    Anyway, in the shallow pool of light on the station platforms, near the signalbox and level crossing, got this



    424 and 422 attacking the climb to Park Summit with 1600 tons on the back

    Few weeks to go on this job yet so hopefully a bit more 37/4 still to come

    Kev
     
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