Class 37/0 to 37/4 locomotives
37025 climbs away from Walsall at 16:00 on Friday 11th March 2016. The train is a 6Z90 Crewe - Didcot, which was running 177 minutes late
when photographed in rather grim light. 37025 is a preserved loco, on hire to Colas when this photo was taken.
37042 was shunting the smelter at Bloxwich when photographed at 10:02 on Tuesday 13th February 2001.
The sort of light that money can't buy, 37042 stands in the sidings at Birch Coppice with the 6G42 trip to Bescot. This was the scene
around 10:45 on Wednesday 23rd October 2002.
37042 leads the 6G42 Birch Coppice - Bescot trip through Kingsbury Link at 10:43 on Wednesday 19th May 2004. Kingsbury Link is an industrial
estate about half way along the Birch Coppice branch line, and this shot was taken from the then fairly new road bridge providing
access to that estate. At this stage the container terminal hadn't been built, and the Bescot trip was the main traffic on the revived
branch line. Unrepeatable now, as the traffic flow has ceased and EWS/DBS no longer operate any Class 37 locos. Only container
trains use the branch these days. 37042 was withdrawn from traffic in January 2005, but was eventually acquired for preservation
at the Eden Valley railway.
37046 approaches Brierley Hill with the 6G74 trip from Bescot. This shot was taken at 09:08 on Tuesday 9th September 1997, and
the train consists of two SPAs and five Tiphook bogie wagons. As an aside my notes suggest that the G74 trip was worked by 31466
on Tuesday 2nd September, and 37274 on Friday 5th, with 14 SPAs and 3 BDAs on the latter occasion. The signal on the left is KJ7,
controlled by Kingswinford Jct.
37057 drops through Ryecroft with the 6G55 Bloxwich - Bescot trip at 10:23 on Monday 23rd July 2001. At this stage the train was still formed of
Cargowaggons. In later years these were replaced by OAA/OBA/VAA/VBA four-wheelers, which were in turn supplanted by VGA/VKA vans until the
traffic finished in 2006. The trackwork here has been re-aligned in recent years, with the Cannock line now coming directly towards the
camera, eliminating the reverse curve which was an artefact of the earlier four-track layout.
For a few weeks in August 2001 the long-dormant Tasker St sidings were brought back into use for the loading and unloading of engineers materials.
It didn't last long, within a month or two the operation had been moved to the re-instated engineers sidings on the opposite side of the running
lines. Conflicts with the parcels operation that shared the same yard was one reason given for this move. A visitor to Tasker St during this period
was 37057, seen here at 09:15 on Friday 17th August. Metal sleepers were being loaded into the short train of OBAs and OCAs. Elsewhere in the yard
are old track panels which had been unloaded from previous trains.
37057 passes Shrivenham, near Swindon, with a 5Z23 Stewarts Lane - Caerwent special consisting of three 4-CIG units
made redundant by newer stock. This shot was taken at 14:08 on Thursday 2nd September 2004 and the units were 1907, 1803 and 1720.
37058 and 37225 lead the 4O31 Leeds - Southampton liner through Wilnecote at 16:25 on Saturday 13th July 1996. This train was booked
for a pair of 37s at the time, and was much photographed as a result. Other pairs which worked this train around the same time included
37131+37677 on 27th July, 37225+37330 on 17th August, 37884+37888 on 31st August and 37330+37677 on 7th September.
37058 heads north through Loughborough at 15:03 on Tuesday 31st August 1993. I believe the train is 8E77 Mountsorrel - Doncaster.
37059 heads north through Willington with a 1Q14 test train at 12:03 on Thursday 10th September 2009. Although I quite like the
elevated view off the bridge here, I thought I'd give the ground level shot through the bridge a go. Works OK I think, even
though the sun was off the nose for this train. 37609 was leading when this train went
south earlier in the day.
37069 and 37716 cross the River Tame just south of Tame Bridge. This is a 5Z79 Crewe - Eastleigh
ECS conveying charter stock used on Pathfinder railtours over the previous two days. It was
photographed at 16:34 on Sunday 2nd April 2017.
37087 and 37688 approach Ryecroft Jct at 18:12 on Wednesday 22nd April 2009. The train is 6M67 Bridgwater - Crewe. 37087 went to Barrow Hill
in June 2012 for parts recovery, and then by road to Booth's in Rotherham for scrapping during February 2013.
37094 passes Golds Hill crossing with 6V69 Wednesbury - Cardiff. This photo was taken at 19:11 on Friday 5th August 1988. The load
seen here is rather untypical for V69, the normal traffic being empty SPAs (see shot of 37293 below). These covered steel wagons were
much more likely to head south on the morning 6V43 Margam service. The crane on the right of this shot is in Cashmore's scrapyard,
graveyard of many steam and early diesel locos.
37096 and an unidentified classmate approach Wednesbury with the 4S50 Dudley - Glasgow freightliner. This shot was taken in the
summer of 1986, at which point the Dudley terminal wasn't far from closure. 4S50 was diesel-hauled to Bescot, where an electric
loco took the train forward (usually a pair in its later years). The picture was taken from the unused GWR trackbed, and the
track just visible bottom right leads into Wednesbury Exchange Sidings. The trailing connection from Ocker Hill power station
leads off under the second loco. The power station itself is just out-of-frame to the right, but its presence explains the large
number of electricity pylons in the background. Above the nearest containers is a large compound which contained some major
97301, the erstwhile 37100, worked a 5Z97 Derby - Shrewsbury on Monday 1st June 2009. Here it is passing Admaston just west of Wellington
at 16:11. The same consist made forays from Shrewsbury to Aberystwyth on the following three days.
37114 and 33030 double-head 6Y57 Hoo Jn - Three Bridges as it departs from Hoo at 13:41 on Tuesday 8th April 1997.
37114 arrives at Birch Coppice Exchange Sidings with 6G36 from Bescot. Taken at 10:11 on Tuesday 22nd April 2003, with the oil seed rape in
37116 passes Ryecroft Jct with 7M53, the Bridgwater - Sellafield flasks, at 18:15 on Thursday 1st August 1996. My notebook confirms
that the light was going in and out, and I fired earlier than planned to try and ensure that the loco, if not the train, was fully lit.
37116 was the third loco to carry the name Sister Dora,
and a picture of it in Walsall is rather appropriate given the lady's association to the town and its railwaymen. 37116 was withdrawn from traffic
in December 2001, and subsequently preserved at the Chinnor & Princes Risborough Railway. In 2014 it
was purchased by Colas for further use on the mainline.
37142 is seen on the climb from Dudley Port to Dudley with 9V01 Bescot - Gloucester. This was taken in the summer of 1989,
I believe the shunter might be 08950, which would make this a Tuesday in late May, probably the 30th.
37158 trundles past Marshfield with a train of steel slabs at 10:52 on Thursday 13th June 1996. I didn't manage a positive id for
this train, but I suspect it was 6B69 Margam - Llanwern. I spent quite a few days in South Wales during the mid 90s, some of it in
the valleys and some on the main line. Marshfield was a favourite spot, and in 1996 there was still a reasonable amount of freight
to be seen. On this particular day I only took two shots at Marshfield, the other being 47142 on 4E68 Pengam - Lynemouth which passed
at 10:35. A less successful afternoon followed, my next shot being 37802+37898 at Trelewis on 7C07 Cwmbargoed - Aberthaw. Unfortunately
by that time (16:34) the light had gone off a bit.
The smelter works at Bloxwich had been in existence for over a century, but in late February 2009 it went into administration and the
majority of the staff were made redundant. However it was subsequently taken over by JPE Holdings and many of the jobs were saved.
Trains to the works ceased in 2006, and rail connections into the smelter have since been removed. In happier days 37174 heads away
from Bloxwich at 14:54 on Thursday 7th March 2002 with a late-running 6G55 bound for Bescot. This loco survived in traffic until
early 2005, and went to the scrapyard in 2008. Most if not all of the wagons are also probably gone, wagonload traffic being all but
defunct these days. The semaphore behind the train went during the 2013 re-signalling. And new housing means that even the spot from
which this shot was taken is now inaccessible.
37185 approaches Smethwick West at 11:01 on Wednesday 14th March 1990. This is 7T48, the Langley Green - Bescot trip
conveying chlorine wagons from Albright & Wilson. In recent years the Stourbridge Extension line has virtually no freight traffic.
There are occasional overnight diversions off the Lickey incline, mostly metals trains which are routed via New St and in the
northbound direction may be banked from Stourbridge Jct. Beyond that the only regular trains are the daily Wentloog - Daventry containers
and the once-weekly Berkeley - Crewe, in effect six or seven trains a week, all northbound.
37197 trails at the rear of a 1Z74 Barrow - Bath charter as it climbs away from Ryecroft at 10:15 on 11th September 2004. This was a
Compass Tours train, headed by 47854. The 37 carries the livery of Ian Riley Engineering, the only loco to carry these colours to the
best of my recall. By this stage it had already passed into the ownership of WCRC, who subsequently sold it to DRS as part of a swap
arrangement for some Class 33s. DRS never actually used it, and it finally went to Kingsbury for scrap in May 2012.
37201 and 20075 draw out of the siding at Honeybourne with the 7G04 spoil empties to Bescot. The communication and signalling equipment was
housed in the grey hut, and was worked by the train crew in conjunction with the signalmen at Evesham and Moreton. This picture was taken
at 15:00 on Wednesday 9th August 1995, and there's a shot of the outward working of this train on the Class 20 page.
37205 and classmate trundle past Bristol Temple Meads, en route to Bath Road depot. No date for this photo, but it'll be a 1970s shot. It's
fairly obvious what sort of traffic the locos have been working, the stone dust being very visible. 37205 survives to this day, having become
37688, a DRS loco.
37207 drifts downhill from Dudley with 9V01, the Bescot - Gloucester departmental service. This shot was taken on Tuesday 13th June
1989, and the shunter behind the train engine is 08646 returning from Crewe Works to the Western Region - it was allocated to Landore
at this time I think. By summer 1989 Cardiff 37s had taken over 9M01/9V01 from the Class 50s which had worked it for the previous
couple of years. Just above the brakevan is Parkhead viaduct, and the distant spire belongs to St Thomas in Dudley town centre ("Top
Church" to the locals - it's at the top of the High St). Thanks to Dave Gommersall for providing the number of the shunting loco
and the date of this shot.
37215 worked the 10:20 Toddington - Cheltenham on Saturday 9th April 2005, which was part of a three-day diesel gala weekend. It's
seen here passing Hailes at 10:27. After a brilliantly sunny start to the day the cloud was building and a little luck was required to
get a train in sun.
37215 again, this time heading away from Cheltenham Racecourse with the 10:00 to Toddington on Saturday 24th September 2005.
37219 was based at Chasewater at the time, but spent much of 2007 working at the Glos Warks Railway. It was looking rather splendid
in ex-works Mainline livery when photographed just north of Gotherington at 11:21 on Sunday 1st April 2007. This train is the 11:10
Cheltenham - Toddington. 37219 was another loco returned from preservation to mainline use in 2014 with Colas.
The Chasewater Railway held a diesel gala over the weekend of 20th and 21st October 2007. 37219 did four trips on the Saturday, and
the 14:25 from Brownhills was the third of them. It's seen here drawing into Chasewater Heaths station at 14:45 with the three carriages
used for the passenger services. A rather smart BSK had not long joined the DMU trailers, and is seen at the rear of the train.
Back at Brownhills 37219 ran-round the coaches and worked its fourth train, the 16:25 to Chasetown. The plan is that this line will
eventually have conventional signalling, hence the presence of the signalbox from Madeley Jct.
37220 and 37888 climb away from Ryecroft Jct at 09:50 on Friday 21st March 1997. This engineer's train had originated from Bescot, but
my notes don't record the destination. The load includes 19 Seacows, and certainly merited a double-header. The milepost to the right
shows the distance from Derby, on the Midland Railway route via Water Orton.
37238 passes Spendiff on the Isle of Grain with a stone train for Hoo Jct. This shot was taken at 14:17 on Tuesday 8th April 1997,
and the train is believed to be be 7T83, the 15:02 from Grain running about an hour early.
37248 and 37676 double-head the 1Z48 Poole - Blackpool North through a misty Bescot at 10:56 on Saturday 29th November 2008. This was
Spitfire Railtours' "Christmas Cracker", which was originally intended to go to Newcastle until operational issues forced a
re-route. The unit in the background is forming the 10:13 Rugeley Trent Valley - New St.
The North Wales RHTT heads east through Abergele at 13:55 on Thursday 18th October 2007. 37261 leads with 37515 on the rear.
37261 and 37609 lead 6M63 Bridgwater - Crewe on the descent from Ryecroft to Walsall. This shot was taken at 16:53 on Thursday 6th
Not my best shot this, but I've included it for the novelty value. It shows 37264 working the Tuesday-only 9V01 Bescot - Gloucester,
sometime in the summer of 1989. The novel thing about this train is that it's the only time I've ever seen a shunt loco in transit where
the train involved has conveyed no brakevan - which probably means it was running as 8V01 on this occasion. The shunter is 08649, en-route
from Crewe Works to South Wales after overhaul. The location is just south of Dudley Port (Low Level). I'd been looking for a spot where I
could do a wide shot of the train and this would have been fine if I could have got higher. I was still pondering my options when the train
came and made the decision for me.
An 0Z71 loco convoy ran from Barrow Hill to Kidderminster on Wednesday 7th May 2008. 66724 hauled 20096 and 37275 which were en route to
the Swanage Railway diesel weekend. At Kidderminster the convoy ran into the turnback siding for a few minutes, before reversing back
onto the down line. This picture was taken at 16:10.
37293 departs from Wednesbury at 18:39 on Monday 4th June 1990. The train is 6V69 Wednesbury - Cardiff, a rock-solid 37 job. If the weather
was good I'd often stop off on the way home from work to photograph this train. The puzzle here is what the guard is doing with his hands.
Warming them in the evening sun? Suggesting that he doesn't want his pic taking? Or indicating that the train is ten minutes late? Probably
not the latter, as it was running about 80 minutes early (as usual).
37308 rounds the curve on the approach to Ryecroft Jct with 6P36 Burton - Bescot on Tuesday 2nd March 2004. 37047 and 37308 had
returned to the West Midlands from Cornwall by working the previous night's 6M72 St Blazey - Cliffe Vale clay train. They were removed at
Bescot in favour of 37667 and 37674, after which 37047 worked the Bloxwich trip and 37308 the Burton trip. After spending the autumn 2004
Sandite season working water-cannon trains out of Bescot 37308 was withdrawn from traffic at the end of the year.
37324 coasts towards Hailes with the 09:30 Toddington - Winchcombe. This was taken at 09:33 on Saturday 9th April 2005. Originally 37099
this loco carries the same name ("Clydebridge") and number as it did during its spell at Motherwell during the late 1980s.
37324 runs past Cheltenham Racecourse signalbox at 12:11 on Saturday 1st April 2006. This was the second day of a Gloucestershire
Warwickshire Railway's diesel weekend, and the 37 was running round its train before working the 12:20 to Toddington. The semaphores
hadn't been commissioned, but the signalbox was being used as a shunt frame with the signalman controlling movements with flags.
Earlier in the day 37324 had worked the 09:48 Winchcombe - Toddington goods, seen here near Hailes at 09:52. I did this shot at the
corresponding event in 2005, when 24081 worked this train, and I liked the result so much that I was happy to repeat it with a different
loco. The sky is misleading, there was rather more sun than the picture might suggest. Nonetheless I had a lot of luck with the light
all day, with my first five shots all sunlit and only a couple of failures later on.
Another shot of 37324 on Saturday 9th September 2006. This was taken at 15:12 and shows the loco arriving at Winchcombe with the 15:00
Toddington - Cheltenham. Meantime 47105 waits patiently with the 14:40 Cheltenham - Toddington.
37334 trundles along the goods loop at Burton-on-Trent with the 7D36 trip from Bescot, conveying MGR wagons for repair. This picture
was taken at 10:06 on Wednesday 2nd October 1996.
37352 arrives at Bescot with the 7G19 trip from Coton Hill (Shrewsbury). This picture was taken at 14:20 on Monday 12th August 1988. In
the late 1980s revenue earning traffic was dealt with in the down-side yards at Bescot, as is the case now. But back then there was no
direct access to those yards for trains arriving from the north on the main line. Consequently trains like 7G19 had to run past the yards
to Newton Jct (Tame Bridge), and then reverse into the Down Reception Sidings. The same reversing move was done by 7G80 Crewe - Bescot,
which on this day reached Bescot at 15:05 behind 85012. Eventually the trailing crossover on the main line just north of Bescot Jct was
replaced by a facing crossover, allowing trains like these to run straight into the Down Yard.
37372 heads 6G55 Bloxwich - Bescot as it accelerates through Leamore at 13:55 on Wednesday 5th November 2003. Unfortunately 2003 proved
to be the last year of regular 37s on the Bloxwich trip. The EWS loco cull of early 2004, combined with a period of low traffic volume,
meant that the summer of 2004 saw very few 37-hauled trains to Bloxwich. Traffic picked up in the second half of the year, but 37s became
uncommon on this job, the normal motive power being a Shed. In autumn 2004 the trip was retimed to run earlier (08:30-09:00 off Bescot).
This was no doubt related to the fact that the Walsall steel trip was abolished, both trips previously being part of the same diagram.
By 2005 the number of EWS 37s had been reduced to single figures, with none of them based in England. Consequently appearances at
Bloxwich were rare, but not unknown. The Bloxwich trip finished in 2006.
37401 passes Bescot with 1G97, the 13:01 Crewe - New St. This shot was taken at 14:00 on Saturday 30th September 2000. The diagram for this train
was 1K57 07:49 Holyhead - Crewe, 1G97 13:01 Crewe - New St, then 1D75 14:23 New St - Holyhead. 1G97 ran via the Grand Jn and 1D75 via
the Stour Valley, avoiding the need for a run-round at New St.
37401 approaches Bescot with the 7G22 Washwood Heath - Bescot trip, conveying concrete sleepers from the RMC plant in Birmingham.
This photo was taken at 16:41 on Good Friday, 25th March 2005, and the exact location is the foot crossing half-way between Bescot
and Pleck Jct. I'd been waiting nearly two hours for this train, and with exquisite timing I'd given up as - unknown to me -
the train was passing Walsall PSB. Fortunately the driver applied a short burst of power, alerting me to the imminent arrival of the
train. I just had enough time to dash back and get the shot. Not quite the picture I'd hoped for, by 4:30 the shadows were
lengthening and the light was only just on the nose.
37401 again, this time approaching Ryecroft Jct with 6G78 Burton - Bescot on Tuesday 25th July 2006. A large gallery had gathered for this
shot - inevitable given the fact that the FM coal train was due back from Rugeley at roughly the same time. 6G78
came first, and this shot was taken at 17:52. This spot was once a regular after-work shot on summer evenings for the local photters, but
in the subsequent years a combination of track re-alignment, ugly fencing, ever increasing vegetation, and a lack of interesting traffic
mean that it's rarely used any more.
37401 was eventually re-painted back into EWS livery. It's seen here passing the site of Spring Vale steelworks with 6G63 Wolverhampton
Steel Terminal - Bescot at 17:37 on Monday 30th June 2008. There's little visual warning of southbound trains at this location, and the
busy dual carriageway from which the shot is taken masks any sound the trains make. But there was no mistaking the approach of G63, the
37 could be heard a good 20 seconds before it appeared from behind the trees.
Pathfinder's "Cwm and Gone" railtour on Saturday 28th March 2009 ran with a single 37 rather than the booked pair, because
only one loco was available. 37401 did the honours, and completed the itinerary OK although a banking loco was provided for the Lickey
incline on the return north. On Sunday 29th the ECS ran as 5Z75 Grantham - Wembley, with 401 working as far as Bescot. It
was an hour late, and is seen here crossing Wichnor Viaduct at 17:47.
37402 drifts through Hatton with 6Z25 Bescot - Didcot at 12:05 on Friday 14th January 2005. This engineers special was booked off
Bescot at 09:00 but in the event it didn't leave until 10:30, which was fortuitous for me (and one or two others). Having not
got out of bed until 08:35, and not seen the gen until nearly 09:00, I thought I'd missed this one. But with the prospect of half
decent light I thought I'd call in at Bescot on the way to work just in case it was late. And late it was, the loco not appearing
from the Holding Sdgs until 09:20. It then had to wait in the Up Loop for about 40 mins before the pilot loco finally shunted the
wagon set onto the back of the loco. The train took 90 minutes to reach Hatton, where the watery winter sun was still shining at
Monday 3rd February 2014 saw the first appearance of Class 37s on 6Z96 Crewe - Toton, after it became a DRS job the previous month.
Unfortunately 37609 and 37259 only made it to Four Ashes loop before expiring. 37608 was despatched from Crewe to assist, and if I
remember correctly the train subsequently missed Bescot, running via the Darlaston - Pleck chord instead. On Friday 21st February
37608 worked solo, but this time the train ran via the Trent Valley and Alrewas. So it was good news when a 37 hauled 6Z96 finally
made it into Bescot on Tuesday 11th March 2014 - a day when the sun was nailed on. The assembled gallery was expecting 37609 on its
own, so it was a pleasant surprise when a loco with centre-headcode lights appeared under the A461 road bridge. 37402 was leading
37609 and its short train of HQAs, which were duly photographed at 13:21.
37405 found its way to Bescot on Friday 6th July 2007, but wasn't used over the following weekend. Happily it was turned out for the Birch
Coppice trip on Monday 9th July, especially as there was some sunshine during the morning. Here it is emerging from Walsall's Park St tunnel
at 09:34. I was hoping for a bit of clag but the train was checked by the signal at Ryecroft Jct, and was therefore crawling towards the
peg which is about 100 yards further on.
37405 departs from Bescot with three MPV sets at 13:42 on Saturday 1st March 2008. The 37 had run light engine from Arpley to
work this train, 6Z84 Bescot - York.
37406 and 37416 shoot past Kingsbury with a 1Z56 Worksop - Aberystwyth charter at 08:47 on Saturday 9th July 2005. This was the
Worksop Open Day Committee's annual outing, and they picked a fine day for it. There was some cloud and mist in the air when this
photo was taken but it soon burned off. EWS have so few Class 37s in traffic now that it wasn't entirely a surprise when 37406
was used again, despite disgracing itself a couple of weeks earlier. This time it did at least have company in the form of 416,
and this trip appears to have gone off without incident.
37406 trundles through Ryecroft with 6G45 Toton - Bescot. This photo was taken at 18:29 on Tuesday 1st May 2007. 37406 had taken
a Class 66 dead-in-train in the outbound 6D44 working, and the return trip conveyed 66246 en-route to France. Ryecroft wasn't an easy
shot at this time due to the amount of engineering equipment on site - some of it is just visible in the bottom left of this shot.
Despite this I was a bit surprised to find that I was the only photographer present on a gloriously lit evening. Note how the eastbound
Sutton Park line had recently been slewed to take a wider arc, the original alignment ran parallel with the westbound track. The westbound
track was subsequently slewed to match. The alignment was subsequently revised again to make the Cannock line the straight route.
37408 accelerates away from Water Orton with 6G36 Bescot - Birch Coppice on Thursday 21st October 2004. 6G36 has usually passed Water Orton
by 09:45, but it was untypically late on this occasion and the time was 10:39. After failing on the previous Monday I managed to
nail 37408 at this second attempt. On a day of squally showers and intermittent sunshine both 6G36 and the return 6G42 working passed
this spot in the light, running main-line both ways. Water-cannons aside the number of 37s working out of Bescot was very low during the
summer and autumn of 2004, but 37408 and 37411 took up residence in the West Midlands after coming off the Leeds - Carlisle passenger service
in early October. As a consequence the Birch Coppice trip started producing 37s again on a more regular basis. 408 and 411 hung around until
Saturday 11th December when they worked to South Wales and subsequently took up duties on the Rhymney line.
37408 slows on the approach to Water Orton with the 6G42 Birch Coppice - Bescot trip on Thursday 21st October 2004. Although the outbound
trip (previous pic) ran the best part of an hour late the return working was only 15 minutes or so down, passing Water Orton at 12:00.
Getting this shot in the sun required almost outrageous good fortune. Fifteen minutes earlier it was dark and raining, and the sun had
only just re-appeared when G42 showed up. Within half an hour the rain had returned, and set in for the remainder of the day.
37408 accelerates away from a signal check at Barrow-on-Trent with 6D44 Bescot - Toton. The time is 14:03 on Monday 29th November 2004
and 6D44 was running right behind 60061 on the Corby coil, hence the signals. Getting a shot of a 37 on this day should have been
straightforward because Bescot had several 37s on hand, and the weather was set fair for the whole day. The
plan was to do the Bloxwich trip if it dropped a Tractor, with the 6G36 Birch Coppice trip being a fallback. 37669 was on the
front of 6G36 by 08:45 - trying for this at Ryecroft and staying local to cover the Bloxwich was plan A. However Walsall was gridlocked
due to problems on the motorway, so I diverted to Water Orton for 6G36 - only to arrive about a minute too late. Bad start. I hung it out
for the 6G42 return trip, but it went via Whitacre. Bowled again. Next I headed back to Bloxwich in case the trip had run late, but at 12:00
there was no sign of life, so then it was back to Bescot, and maybe lunch. 37408 was in the Engineers Yard on 6D44, so after waiting to see
it depart at 12:40 I headed to Barrow to do this shot. A day when persistence eventually paid off.
37408 again, this time leaving Pontlottyn with 2R42, the 17:11 Cardiff - Rhymney on Wednesday 8th June 2005. Palisade fencing had recently
been erected, making this shot more unsightly and difficult than it had once been. This isn't quite the spot I originally had in mind (I
would have been in someone else's shot) - and it required a tricky balance, standing upright on the narrow handrail to the right of the frame.
37411 emerges from Park St tunnel, Walsall, with a 5Z15 Bescot - Tyseley special consisting of two Mark 2 carriages. This photo was taken
at 10:12 on Tuesday 6th June 2006, two days before the loco was supposed to be withdrawn from service. In the event it was reprieved for
a week, before eventually being withdrawn on the 15th.
This picture was taken at Pensnett circa 07:40 on Monday 18th July 1994. 37415 and 37068 have just finished positioning HEA wagons
containing fireclay from Butterwell, and are about to depart light engine. A couple of these trains ran in 1994, but the traffic never
became regular and the terminal at Pensnett fell into disuse afterwards. Note the Class 02 shunter hiding in the shadows. It was running,
and would no doubt have continued with the shunting once the 37s had departed.
37416 hammers through Cosford at 10.48 on Wednesday 9th November 2005. Although visibility extends only about a quarter of a mile to the west
I had no trouble at all identifying the approach of this train. The unmistakeable growl of a 37 under power could be heard a good 20 seconds
before the loco came into view. The train is 6W55, an 04.35 Barmouth - Bescot special which was running about 3½ hours late at this
Thanks to GWOT/RWJ for timing updates on this train.
The driver of 37417 applies a brief burst of power as the 6Z79 Northampton - Bescot scrap train approaches its destination. 66089 was
trailing on the rear of the SSA wagons. This picture was taken at 16:09 on Saturday 1st July 2006, which meant that I missed the first 20
minutes of the England vs Portugal World Cup quarter-final. Fortunately for me the football didn't start until 20:00 (France vs Brazil),
and as the 37 came past in sun this turned out to be one of my better decisions.
37419 stands at Ryecroft with the 7M53 Bridgwater - Sellafield flasks on Thursday 25th July 1996. The number of people in attendance
indicate that there was a bit of a flap on - one of the wagons was running hot. The men in yellow jackets are the fire brigade, those
in orange are railway personnel, and the bloke in the suit (bottom right) is a reporter from the local paper. The train had arrived
at Ryecroft at about 17:15, the fire brigade and railway staff turned up at about 18:20, and this picture was taken at 18:45. The
reporter was first on the scene (apart from us photographers), and we spent some time talking to him while he waited for the
emergency services to arrive. Eventually the train was authorised to move and diverted into Bescot where it arrived at 20:50. The
errant wagon was removed and spent a day or two on Bescot TMD being repaired. The story ran in the next evening's paper, although if
I recall correctly not as the shock-horror tale that we feared. Much has changed with the operation of these trains in the intervening
years. No more brakevans, no more runner wagons, and every train double-headed as a matter of policy.
37421 heads 1D75, the 14:23 New St - Holyhead, through Holywell Jct at 16:06 on Wednesday 5th April 2000.
37422 heads north through Wednesbury at 18:04 on Friday 22nd June 1990. It's heading 6T50 Round Oak - Lawley St,
not that you can see much of it here. This shot was taken from the footbridge that spanned the Exchange Sidings.
The row of fir trees would make a useful backscene for a model railway.
On the afternoon of Sunday 15th April 2007 three of the (then) four active EWS 37s were parked within a few yards of each other in
Bescot Down Yard. 37406 was positioned on a ballast train for Machynlleth, and 37410+37422 were still parked at the head of a rake of
ECS off a railtour which ran on Saturday 14th. Of the other two notionally active locos 37405 was working in Yorkshire and 37417
was out of traffic at Allerton. With 37406 due back at Bescot in the early hours of Monday, and 67011 on the business end of the
ECS, it looked like all three of the 37s might be available for local workings on Monday 16th. And so it proved, 37406 worked light
engine to Didcot for 7M28 Hinksey - Bescot, 37410 appears to have worked a road learning turn before heading back north to Mossend
in 6S73, and 37422 worked the Birch Coppice trip. This shot shows 422 as it departed from Bescot at 09:20 on Monday 16th.
On Tuesday 1st May 2007 37422 worked the Bescot - Birch Coppice trip. My day started badly, after wrestling with Walsall's rush-hour
traffic to make 37422 I was comprehensively bowled by a Sprinter coming the other way. I therefore had to make do with a shot of the
return working, seen here passing Whitacre Jct at 11:49. 37406 was also in residence at Bescot and the Birch Coppice trip had become
a regular 37 job again in late April and early May of 2007.
A gallery of 15 or so had assembled at Craven Arms for the 1Z38 Llandrindod Wells - Eastleigh railtour on Saturday 25th August 2007. It
ran near enough to time, and this photo of 37422 and 37417 was taken at 17:55.
The North Wales RHTT train was unusually rostered for a single loco in autumn 2008. This is 37423 heading west through Penmaenmawr at
10:47 on Friday 24th October, in lovely crisp sunshine.
37425 stands in the smelter sidings at Bloxwich on the morning of Wednesday 15th February 2006. There were ten VGA/VKA
wagons on 6G33 that day. In the photo 425 is berthing the first five wagons, the other five would go on the vacant
road to the left. By this stage loads were only being delivered about once a week, typically going in on Wednesdays with the empties coming
out on Thursdays. More significantly this was, I think, the last time a 37 worked the Bloxwich trip. It carried on for a while with
Class 66s providing the staple traction, before eventually ceasing completely.
37425 waits to depart from Bloxwich smelter sidings at 10:30 on Wednesday 15th February 2006. There was no outbound traffic on this
day, so 425 returned to Bescot light engine.
37425 and 37606 arrive at Bescot with 6G94 from Crewe. This shot was taken at 13:37 on Wednesday 25th October 2017, and
the train was formed of ten autoballaster wagons (five JJAs and five HQAs). The appearance of 37s turned out to be a one-day
offering only, the previous day had produced 68029 and the following day it would be 68004. In the background work on the
underside of the motorway continues, it had been underway for a very long time.
37426 speeds through Hamstead with 1G96, the 08:37 Holyhead - New St. This shot was taken at 11:42 on Saturday 28th February 1998.
37427 accelerates through Cosford with 7W36, the 12:36 Bescot - Sutton Bridge ballast. This picture was taken at 13:22 on Sunday 6th
March 2005. The same train ran most Sundays in early 2005, firstly from Crewe and latterly from Bescot. From Sutton Bridge it
proceeded into an engineers possession between Shrewsbury and Welshpool, the worksite usually being near the latter town. The usual
formation of the train was Class 37, Shark brakevan, rake of loaded Seacows, Shark brakevan, and another 37 on the back (37669 here).
EWS had so few 37s in traffic that the same pair were pretty much bound to appear on this train each week. The only variation
was which one would be on the front. It was nice to see this train run on March 6th, as it had been cancelled the previous Sunday.
The weather was good too, although a small cloud which appeared at the last second took the edge off the light at Cosford.
The brakevans used on this train were DB993727 and DB993795.