EE's first five - The next 37s about to arrive
When casting around for Class 37 subjects for the first production run the guiding philosophy to was to provide variants that were all new, which turned out to be surprisingly easy. For 1960s and early 1970s modellers, the cantrail grilles on D6700-D6704 (later 37119, 37001-37004) really stood out and had never been tooled in their as-built configuration. But what is distinctive about them that sets them apart from the rest?
While most enthusiasts are aware that you can tell which of the two builders manufactured a particular Class 37 based on these grilles, the story is somewhat complicated by the non-standard arrangement exhibited by the first six locomotives to be completed. For the rest of the class, longer single-piece grilles were a signature of English Electric at Newton-le-Willows, while those with dividing bars were products of Robert Stephenson & Hawthorns workshops in Darlington. EE-built D6705/37004 confusingly also sported the latter grille style, but it was the unique cantrail configuration that was similar to the RSH version but with riveted straps framing the apertures that really made the first five locomotives stand out.
The Accurascale model perfectly represents the characteristic riveted multi-part cantrail grilles as well as a range of other as-built features. These include four-character headcode display (with pre-fitted examples and a large selection of alternatives for customers to install), frost grille, double-riveted roof, bufferbeam cowling with large round Oleo buffers, bodyside water filler access door and steps, accurate early bufferbeam configuration with vacuum/steam/control piping only. There are also optional nose corner grabs, boiler exhaust panel (open or plated – with alternative provided in a parts bag) and boiler water tank sight glass depending on locomotive number.
Delivered from the famed Vulcan Foundry between 2 December 1960 and 6 January 1961, all five were delivered to Stratford in East London. Their duties included Great Eastern main line passenger diagrams, inter-regional turns, particularly the Harwich ‘boat’ train, and parcels and freight services. In April 1963, D6703 and D6704 became two of three members of the class to be fitted with nameplates, albeit covered up. These were dedicated First East Anglian Regiment and Second East Anglian Regiment respectively, with D6707 being honoured after the Third East Anglian Regiment. They were never unofficially unveiled, although D6703 did run around for several weeks with them uncovered, giving us the opportunity to provide etched nameplates for the customer to install if desired.
By the end of 1967, D6701-D6704 had been transferred away from the Great Eastern, moving to Tinsley/Darnell via a short spell at Wath. Their new life revolved around freight work and all four would surrender their boilers within the next 14 months. The doyen of the fleet, D6700, had a more colourful life, which included spells at Derby RTC, Stratford and Haymarket before returning to March in East Anglia in October 1969, by this time wearing Rail blue. Nos. 6702 and 6703 were repainted during a similar time period, with the other pair still in green, albeit with full yellow ends.
All five locomotives were together again at Thornaby after the move of No. 6700 to the North East in October 1971, although the other four had transferred there in May 1970. The reunion would only last a year as No. 6700 was back at March exactly a year later, and would be the last time the five would be allocated to the same location at the same time. In February and March 1974, the quintet gained five-digit TOPS identification, and within the next couple of years all five would lose their bodyside water fillers and steps, that would take them out of the range of this variant of the Accurascale model.
All Class 37/6 and 97301 locomotives arrive on Monday (28th August). Our final part of run one, featuring 37001, D6700, D6702, D6703 ad D6704 are also in transit and we will have a full delivery update mid next week (W/C Sept 4th).
If you missed out of pre-ordering, make sure you hit the 'Notify me if item becomes available' button to be the first to know if any spares become available.