Monday 19 February 2018

37407 Returns To Service

Now I know I'm a bit bonkers about Class 37's  There is nothing about them I dislike. Their look, their presence, their awesome soundtrack, their history. In my view they are up there with Routemasters, Jumbo Jets and not much else. The difference is that apart from the heritage part of the 15 in London there are no RM's left in regular service. The end of the Boeing 747 is sadly all too soon approaching thanks to the 787 Dreamliner and the A380 Airbus. But the Class 37 loco? They just keep going, and far from numbers dropping more keep coming back to life.

The latest is 37407. Built in 1965 before England won the World Cup, and your faithful blogger was but a glint in the sailor's eye it was withdrawn from service in February 2000. After languishing for 7 years she was bought for preservation, but never saw service. In 2015 our heroine was bought by DRS, along with celebrity 37558 (424). A 2 year overhaul has taken place, undertaken by Loram UK, a shiny large logo BR paint job, and 18 years after last hauling a passenger train 37407 is back on the rails. On Saturday she arrived at Norwich from Derby, and Tim and I were at Harling Rd to see her rumble by. Instant new header pic, and this one passing the old signal box.

37407 at Harling Rd
Monday saw her put to work with the shy and retiring 37425 on the Greater Anglia Even Shorter Set, being only 2 coaches while the normal set is serviced at Crewe. However, the sun which bathed 407 on Saturday had taken its leave and steady rain and mist was the order of the day. Never mind that, the opportunity to witness a superb loco on her first day back after 18 years doesn't happen everyday, and so I was out first thing with the intention to see he in as many different locations as possible.

The set's first trip is light from Norwich to Lowestoft, and so I was at Somerleyton to see the set glide past.
407 pulling coaches for the first time in 18 years
It doesn't take the train long to get from Somerleyton to Reedham. However by road you have no choice but to go via Great Yarmouth, due to the Broads getting in the way. So while the set made its way to Lowestoft and back I had to race the rush hour traffic to get to Reedham. It was close, so close I didn't have time to get to my desired platform, and just caught her as she left. Well worth the 40 min race though!

The set at Reedham
I'm sure you will remember the photo of green 37057 with the Network Rail test train at the Acle Straight that was my header picture for months. It was an obvious place to return to, although the weather conditions were completely different.

Just Another Murky Monday
After doubling back to Acle to watch her go the other way the next port of call was Lingwood. I urge anyone interested in vintage railway operation to visit Lingwood before the old signals go. No signal box as such but a portakabin and a ground frame that really should be in the Science Museum. If this piece of railway history isn't preserved for future generations to learn from it will be criminal.

The vintage signalling at Lingwood
The level crossing is 50 yards or so from the station which means a decent soundtrack, and a seriously close up view!

What a machine
Finally it was off to Brundall, firstly to snap her going over a bridge in the woods, then to recreate the picture you can see bordering the blog, which I took on the first day of Class 37 operation. Both turned out well.

Passing through the woods in Brundall

Unique sight

I will have to try and do it all again when the sun shines! All the pics of 407 are stills from videos, which is just as well as that last one looks distinctly photo-shopped, which it isn't! So enjoy the video, it's not BBC quality, but the weather was truly awful. The Lingwood video is last, for reasons I can't work out! Enjoy.


  1. Hasn't Reedham got a regular ferry service?

    1. Yes it has, and I did think of that, but I didn't know how early it started running, and couldn't check due to the woeful phone signal quality wherever I was. Just checked and yes I could have used it. I'll do that when I repeat the trip on a sunny day (not this week) and compare the two for timing.

  2. Much as I like the 37s, it does seem a bit bonkers to have two of them on two coaches - most of the power is used to move the locomotives! I appreciate having two locos is good for both convenience and reliability (though you could do it with smaller class 20s). Presumably they aren't fitted for push-pull working from the DBSO?

    1. Hi Andrew - should have been back to 3 coaches as normal today. the reason there are 2 locos is pretty complex but to put it in a nutshell northern trains pay for one of the locos so they have first dibs on the dbso, and secondly Norwich drivers have signed for 37's but not dbso's. thirdly don't give them ideas as two 37's is double the clag, and that's good!

  3. Final call for feedback on proposals to change county’s home to school travel

    Currently the costs are over £21M a year and increasing fast so cuts are going to have to be made. Perhaps one way forward is the parents have to cover some of the costs

  4. Rail Passenger Numbers across the region increase

    The region is already hitting capacity problems which cannot really be solved without major investment. Cross rail will ease platform capacity at Liverpool Street but that's all. One possibility might be to incorporate the Enfield Town line into the Victoria line it would free up track capacity into Liverpool street

  5. Book Your Ride

    I have never come across this so I assume publicity if any was minimal

    The Website itself contains almost no information

    If they don't tell people about services they are not going to get used

    1. I have spoken to Suffolkonboard about this. It is a new pilot that will run alongside the current Connecting Communities in Suffolk, using the same vehicles and drives.

      I suggested this might be as SCC are looking to get rid of phone bookings thus saving money, by forcing people online, but this was denied. We'll see how things develop.