Wednesday, 27 January 2016

Split-box return!

37057 provides power from the rear of 3M05 from Dollands Moor to Derby Railway Technical Centre as it passes South Kenton on 23rd January 2016 
Back in June 2012 I reported on the sad end of 'split-box' class 37's on the mainline with the final withdrawal of DRS' 37087. Little did I imagine then that some 3 1/2 years later I would be writing about the return of not just one, but two real 'split-box' class 37's!
In the second part of 2015 Colas Rail won the contract to provide motive power for Network Rail's fleet of test trains. Their chosen solution was the tried, tested and dependable class 37, and with many of their fleet having come from preservation there has been a sudden influx of variety in the fleet. The need to get locos out and into traffic as quickly as possible has even seen some heritage liveries in use on the network. The star of the new Colas fleet, returning to the mainline towards the end of 2015 has to be 37057 which has been restored to BR Green at Barrow Hill complete with headcode blinds and original style buffer beam cowling.
In an attempt perhaps to source an even more interesting loco Colas have also now taken on hire 37025 from the Scottish Railway Preservation Society- it has had an extensive re-build at Bo'ness and is now resplendent in BR Large-Logo blue, complete with a working steam-heat boiler (though this will be saved for landcruises around Scotland rather than it's work for Colas). Welcome back split-box 37's- who'd have though it in 2016!

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