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European Railroad Discussion > Tractor Alert!


Date: 06/02/20 09:35
Tractor Alert!
Author: exhaustED

'Tractor' being the nickname amongst UK railfans for the class 37 - built in the early 1960s, a number of these locos still ply the rails, owing to their reliability and versatility.

English Electric 1750hp diesel engines power these locomotives, and the exhaust note is a thumping, resonating (and exhilerating!) experience, and results in these locomotives arguably being the diesel enthusiast's 'favourite locomotive'. 

The two class 37s in this photo, taken yesterday at Wistanstow, just north of Ludlow are painted in the old British Rail large logo livery - another favourite amongst enthusiasts.

 



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/02/20 09:36 by exhaustED.




Date: 06/02/20 11:06
Re: Tractor Alert!
Author: gaspeamtrak

I saw these engines when I was over there in 1992 and I didn't realize how classic they were !!!
I would some day love to see these in person again...
Thank you for sharing !!! :):):)



Date: 06/02/20 11:31
Re: Tractor Alert!
Author: krm152

What a nice catch and photo.
Those are my kind of units. 
ALLEN



Date: 06/02/20 11:39
Re: Tractor Alert!
Author: JimBaker

Please explain what the big square blocks on the front hood are for.
Thanks in advance.

James R.(Jim) Baker
Whittier, CA



Date: 06/02/20 11:43
Re: Tractor Alert!
Author: exhaustED

JimBaker Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Please explain what the big square blocks on the
> front hood are for.
> Thanks in advance.

Good question... they're called headcode boxes. All British trains operate with a unique (on any given day) 4 character headcode which identifies the train. They're no longer dispayed on the front of the train but in the early days of dieselisation they always were. When the requirement to display the headcode was abolished the letter/number indicators were replaced with marker lights, as you see in the photo.
Some class 37s have a single large rectangular box in the centre of the nose, some (like this example) had split headcodes.

A typical headcode might be 4M65. The 4 indicates speed (75mph limit), the M indicates the destination is the Midland region, the 65 is a unique identifier as on any given day there may be several similar trains. The headcode for the pair of 37s in the photo was 0Z38 (0 = light engine), while the headcode for the class 66 in my 'coming through' post was 6M07 (60mph speed limit, heading to the Midlands region).



Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 06/02/20 11:50 by exhaustED.



Date: 06/02/20 13:38
Re: Tractor Alert!
Author: 55002

Lovely capture you got there. 37s always sound great, and usually the crew are quite enthusiastic. Looking through my files, here's 37025 (in your photo) taken in 1991 at Achnasheen. The 37s sounded fabulous in Scotland! Then in 2018, it's on a test train passing near my house in Wakefield. It's good how they rebuilt the side headcode boxes to look original. Chris uk.






Date: 06/02/20 13:39
Re: Tractor Alert!
Author: exhaustED

Great shots there Chris, I love the Scottish one in 'Dutch' livery.



Date: 06/02/20 17:09
Re: Tractor Alert!
Author: tomcough

For those that have never heard a Class 37, there are some great sounding videos on YouTube.

Turn the volume up!

Tom Coughlin
Stow, MA

Posted from iPhone



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/02/20 17:10 by tomcough.



Date: 06/02/20 18:49
Re: Tractor Alert!
Author: exhaustED

Last year I saw/heard Alcos operating for the first time, on the Apache Railway, and thought the sound of those C420 and C424s working hard was a little bit reminiscent of a 37!



Date: 06/04/20 08:07
Re: Tractor Alert!
Author: 86235

exhaustED Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> 'Tractor' being the nickname amongst UK railfans
> for the class 37 - built in the early 1960s, a
> number of these locos still ply the rails, owing
> to their reliability and versatility.
>
> English Electric 1750hp diesel engines power these
> locomotives, and the exhaust note is a thumping,
> resonating (and exhilerating!) experience, and
> results in these locomotives arguably being the
> diesel enthusiast's 'favourite locomotive'. 
>
> The two class 37s in this photo, taken yesterday
> at Wistanstow, just north of Ludlow are painted in
> the old British Rail large logo livery - another
> favourite amongst enthusiasts.
>
>  
At Llanvihangel we had 47593 in large logo blue heading south, three minutes later these two heading north, quite remarkable. The 37s are seemingly indestructible, although I'm not a fan.



Date: 06/04/20 08:13
Re: Tractor Alert!
Author: exhaustED

Here's 47593 the same day passing Bromfield just north of Ludlow.

Why don't you like the 37s Nick?




Date: 06/04/20 08:28
Re: Tractor Alert!
Author: 86235

exhaustED Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Here's 47593 the same day passing Bromfield just
> north of Ludlow.
>
> Why don't you like the 37s Nick?

They're ugly, I don't like that nose. They sound purposeful enough but the looks don't do it for me.

I forgot to mention, the following day we had 37612 from Coleham ISU (Shrewsbury) to Canton Depot Cardiff.



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 06/04/20 08:33 by 86235.



Date: 06/04/20 12:38
Re: Tractor Alert!
Author: ironmtn

It's in the sound, Nick, the sound. If I were there, I would be an immediate Class 37 fan. Just as I (and many others over here across the waters are) of Alco diesels in the U.S., and their MLW counterparts in Canada. I have video (with great sound) of Class 37's at work playing in background as I write this. Very Alco-like. Music, I say, music....

MC
Muskegon, Michigan USA



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/04/20 12:40 by ironmtn.



Date: 06/04/20 13:47
Re: Tractor Alert!
Author: 86235

So others say, but for me they don't really register. They weren't a type of locomotive that I grew up with. I suppose I've always loved electric power, growing up alongside the London Underground's Northern Line and later the London to Brighton mainline, which was electrified in 1933. The only diesel power I encountered in Sussex was the Sulzer powered class 33, which I like, and the class 73 electro diesels with their English Electric 4SRKT engines, which are even better. So I guess the 37s never made it in to my conciousness.



Date: 06/04/20 17:43
Re: Tractor Alert!
Author: ironmtn

To each their own, fair enough. Agreeing to disagree is fine...and besides I appreciate your work here on TO too much.

Regrettably, Alco and MLW units are in very short supply over here these days, so such entertainment is not often enjoyed, and then only with considerable effort and travel. In the interim, I will enjoy the Class 37 and Alco videos on the internet. And the sound of my little Atlas N-scale Alco S2 switcher / shunter on my model railroad. The installed ESU DCC decoder captured the Alco 539 engine sound profile perfectly, right down to the sound of the hood shaking and vibrating when it's sharply throttled down. It's a gas to run around doing yard and switching (excuse me, shunting) chores. I'd make a bet that British modelers enjoy their DCC sound-equipped Class 37's just about as much. And with good reason....

Respectfully.

MC
Muskegon, Michigan USA

 



Date: 06/04/20 18:44
Re: Tractor Alert!
Author: Peak45068

ironmtn Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> It's in the sound, Nick, the sound. If I were
> there, I would be an immediate Class 37 fan. Just
> as I (and many others over here across the waters
> are) of Alco diesels in the U.S., and their MLW
> counterparts in Canada. I have video (with great
> sound) of Class 37's at work playing in background
> as I write this. Very Alco-like. Music, I say,
> music....
>
> MC
> Muskegon, Michigan USA

Similar to how I feel now living here after many years in the UK. I love the sound of the 12 cylinder P32’s in the US and to be honest the 16 cyl too.
If you could put a 33, worn out chugging 46 and class 52 Maybach engines in a blender, then that’s what you have as the man goes for the power handle coming off Spuyten Duyvil curve and blasting up to Beacon non stop on the 1729 ex Grand Central.

Posted from iPhone



Date: 06/05/20 04:12
Re: Tractor Alert!
Author: 86235

ironmtn Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Regrettably, Alco and MLW units are in very short
> supply over here these days, so such entertainment
> is not often enjoyed, and then only with
> considerable effort and travel
>
> MC
> Muskegon, Michigan USA
>
Indeed, I count myself very lucky to have been to the Cartier Railway twice, the Wabush Lake, the Arkansas & Missouri and more recently the WNY&P and Delaware Lackawanna. And I've travelled around India, often to the throaty rasp of an Alco 251 series engine.



Date: 06/06/20 06:49
Re: Tractor Alert!
Author: 55002

Had a couple passing me the other day, at Healey Mills. An enthusistic driver played well to crowd on the bridge. Well done, Sir.  chris uk.




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