Although they were one of the earliest British Railways diesel classes which could well have faded into history by now, Cumbrian operator Direct Rail Services has used them for many years. Now though, their seemingly charmed existence looks to be coming to an end, as EVAN GREEN-HUGHES reports.
It is now more than 60 years since the first English Electric Class 37 took to the rails. This maid of all work mixed traffic engine owed much of its design features to the very earliest post-war main line diesels and incorporated many tried and tested features. This included the incorporation of a distinctive nose end in front of the cab, despite British Railways’ own preference for flat fronted cabs.
A total of 309 examples were introduced into service between 1960 and 1965 and proved rugged, reliable and powerful performers, appearing almost everywhere on the system and performing every duty from express passenger trains right through to pick-up goods.