The return of the DBSOs (but still thrashing class 37/4s!)

kevsmith Sep 1, 2015

  1. kevsmith

    kevsmith TrainBoard Member

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    In an earlier thread I recounted how DRS had re-introduced loco hauled passenger trains on the Cumbrian Coast line in North West England. Topped and tailed by Class 37s, usually a Class 37/4 with ETS at one end and a class 37/6 at the other we had a good few weeks of action during the summer. train spotters appeared from all over the U.K to ride, photograph and video the intensive action. Some came to ride behind particular locomotives, some to be the first to clock up a set number of hours riding the trains (really!) etc. The locos were worked quite hard as not only were they pulling four coaches but also 105 tonnes of dead weight at the other end and resulted in some quite spectacular assaults on the on the gradients of the Furness line and also some spirited running between the station stops between Barrow and Carlisle.

    However the long term plan was always to replace the 'spare' loco with a DBSO, Driving brake Standard open, a MK IIF coach converted to what in the USA you refer to as a Cab-Car. These act as a control car for the Loco at the other end so that in effect the train is what used to be called over here 'Push-Pull'. They were converted in the late 70s and were used in Scotland and east Anglia either in Scotrail livery or the standard BR Intercity livery as seen below with 9703 rolling into Stowmarket back in June 91
    [​IMG]


    They were taken out of use around about 2006 and languished at various storage points until Network rail and DRS started to refurbish a few to return to traffic.

    We had a couple on display at our Depot open day back in July at Kingmoor looking in prime condition[​IMG]

    points of interest are the three sections. driving cab, luggage area mainly used by workers from Sellafield for their bikes and the second class open seating area. Bars on the windows to stop people putting their heads out (mandatory on the Cumbrian Coast due to the restricted clearances. B4 bogies (Trucks) and disc braked wheelsets.

    9705 is seen in traffic coming to a halt at Dalton in Furness before attacking the bank up to Lindal and onwards to Ulverston

    [​IMG]

    More in a mo'
    Kev
     
  2. kevsmith

    kevsmith TrainBoard Member

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    Now it was thought that with the removal of the second 37 that running might be a bit more relaxed but the tight schedules resulting from the need to keep up with the timetable paths based on high power lightweight DMUs used previously means that on the evidence see so far it is still a 'thrashers' paradise.

    part of the reason being the line between Askam and Ulverston as seen in the profiles below

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    sadly while the hills are the same the plethora of sidings and branch lines seen here are all a distant memory of the complex iron ore traffic that existed years ago.

    Even on the level tracks around Foxfield and Kirkby the 37s are worked hard as seen here as one propels the train down the estuary from Kirkby to Dunnerholme

    [​IMG]

    and here up the hill northwards from Park South Junction

    [​IMG]

    because of the quiet rural nature of all this area you can hear these trains from miles around

    and next
    Kev
     
  3. kevsmith

    kevsmith TrainBoard Member

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    The video, to show what I mean.

    Contrasting scenes at Green Road, Dunnerholme, Kirkby in Furness and Sowerby Lodge where the line hugs the coast at Sea level and attacking the hills at Pennington, Dalton and Park South with a tailpiece of one coming E.C.S off Barrow carriage sidings in thoroughly miserable weather.

    There is no mistaking when one of these trains comes through the village as 'that sound' reverberates off the Cumbrian fells



    Kev
     
  4. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    I can imagine from your video being able to hear those engines. How did they hold up in this service? Any failures?
     
  5. kevsmith

    kevsmith TrainBoard Member

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    Not bad on reliability apart from a ferocious appetite for brake blocks. Some locos were going through a set in 3 or 4 days! Even so, i

    t's still like thrashing an F7 or F9 on a commuter train if you can imagine it. One set always ends up on our Kingmoor depot each night allowing an A exam to be performed on both locos and coaching stock.
    [​IMG]

    Kev
     

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