Project Update - Class 37 January 2023
With our Class 92s now delivered along with our Mark 5 sleeper coaches, our TPE Mark 5 coaches due to arrive imminently, attention now turns to the delivery of our Class 37 locomotives, our most widely anticipated locomotives to date.
We reported back in late October that our Class 37 production was halted due to a lack of required semi conductors to operate the locomotives. We also confirmed that these had been obtained through alternate means, tested and green lighted for production, with a big push to get production of batch one, the Scottish car headlight 37/0s and the modern 37/4s complete and shipped before Chinese New Year.
So, that was the plan. How have we done? Well, we firstly need to celebrate and thank our factory staff for their dedication. They took on a night shift, they pulled out all the stops to get them made ahead of a January delivery, working to a tight deadline of Chinese New Year having completed Deltics, Class 92s, Mark 5 coaches, wagons and more this year. They have earned their Chinese New Year break which commenced yesterday.
However, as you will have seen in the news, and reported by other manufacturers, COVID has ripped through China in recent weeks as they rescind their "zero COVID" policy. The BBC reports that 900 million people in China currently have COVID. (Read Here)
Our factory is not exempt from this wave of COVID, with over 80% of the workers contracting the virus in recent weeks, seeing a near shut-down of production lines. Our factory workers welfare is a number one priority for us and we wish all those impacted a speedy and full, healthy recovery. For those who have avoided illness and continued working, we are indebted for their perseverance.
Chinese New Year is now in full swing, with all businesses closed for a number of weeks. Unfortunately, this means our deadline fell back just as we entered the final straight.
Our factories and the Class 37 production lines will be back in full swing in early/mid February and the revised delivery of our Class 37s will commence from late March as follows:
Batch One - 37/4s and Scottish Car Headlight Class 37/0 - Delivery Late March/Early April 2023
Batch Two - Class 37/6 and 97301 - Delivery May 2023
Batch Three - Original EE Type 3 Green and BR Blue - Delivery June 2023
The assembly of the chassis is the last phase in the production process and this is the stage our first batch is at along with assembly of the bodies. By the time we finish production of these models, we will have made over one million passes with our tampo printing machines so reaching this stage is no small feat. We will share progress of this when the factory resumes after Chinese New Year.
We apologise for this delay, and we hope that this is the last time COVID scuppers our plans. Our total Class 37 production run is larger than our Deltic and Class 92 combined, it has certainly been a colossal undertaking for the factory!
Having seen what can be achieved with our recent Class 92 release, then you just know that these Tractors are going to be very special indeed. We are very confident you will decide they were worth the wait.
We have more exciting variants of our Class 37s coming into stock after these batches later this year that we will have news on very soon. In the meantime, many thanks for your patience and understanding. We're so very close to the finish line, finally!