It's strange, it's yellow, it's in my back garden!


Teignmouth, United Kingdom

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Artist's Description

Yep, for residents of North Wales, the sight of these strangely painted Class 37’s (or Class 97’s as they’re designated under Network Rail) is a common event. Based on the fantastic and atmospheric photo by Jack Bowley:

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We see Network Rail owned Class 97, 97302, seen rounding the corner at Deganwy as it arrives at Llandudno Junction with a driver training run.

The Class 37’s were once the backbone of the British Rail diesel fleet, and very much the savior. Built by English Electric between 1960 and 1965, 309 members of the class were constructed to work primarily freight services on lines that could not be easily accessed by the much larger and much heavier Class 40’s. Designed as a compact version of the Class 40, the Class 37’s proved an instant success, and soon found their way into all walks of life, with many different subclasses emerging as listed:

Class 37/0: Original delivery number
Class 37/3: Small batch of locomotives with modified Traction Motor gearing
Class 37/4: Fitted with Electric Train Heating (ETH) during the 1980’s to allow for passenger haulage
Class 37/5: Renumbered Class 37/0’s from 37001 to 37119 (no major modifications)
Class 37/6: Used by Eurostar as rescue locomotives and for failed Nightstar project
Class 37/7: Refurbished Class 37/0’s, extra ballast weight added to allow for pulling power
Class 37/9: Testbed locomotives for Mirrlees MB275T engine.

Since the end of the 1990’s however, the Class 37’s have largely disappeared from much mainline traffic as the Class 66’s saw off many of their duties on freight workings. Many redundant locomotives found themselves being exported to France and Spain for the construction of their extensive High Speed Railway network. In the UK, the class is operated by only two mainline Train Operating Companies, Direct Rail Services and West Coast Railways, whilst Network Rail operates a small fleet of locomotives designated Class 97, for use on departmental workings.

97302 was originally released from Vulcan Foundry in August 1963 as D6870, later designated 37170, it finally entered service with Network Rail after being stored by EWS in 2000, and officially withdrawn in 2005. The loco was thankfully saved from the cutter’s torch in 2008 and entered service with Network Rail as 97302 later that year, where it has been working ever since.

Artwork Comments

  • Steve Mezardjian
  • Rorymacve
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