Sunday 24 April 2016

37901 on the Watercress Line, 23rd April 2016

37901 is understood to be sold for future main line use with Colas, and should be expected to leave the Mid-Hants Railway in the near future, once the Network Rail landslip problem at Wrecclesham is resolved. This performance at the Diesel Weekend may have been a final opportunity for pictures and haulage. On the haulage front, I felt that its performance on "the Alps" out of Alton was very confident - not spectacular, but delivering the goods. The locomotive's finish is best described as "weather worn"and the Mirrlees Pioneer nameplates were not being carried.

Originally delivered as D6850 in July 1963 from English Electric Vulcan Foundry to Cardiff Canton, later in September 1966 to Haymarket, and May 1970 to Eastfield. Renumbered 37150 in April 1974, further reallocations took place to Motherwell in November 1979, with a brief allocation to Eastfield in January 1984. In March 1985, the locomotive was reallocated to Stratford, and to Cardiff in February 1986 when the locomotive was sent to Crewe to be re-engineered, emerging as 37901 in October 1986.

Naming Mirrlees Pioneer took place in December 1986. The locomotive worked until 1998, when it was stored, and entered the world of preservation in 2003.

When re-engineered, the new power unit was a Mirlees MB275T of 1800 bhp, which was a 6 cylinder version of the 8 cylinder unit deployed in Class 60. This was mated with the same Brush BA1005A alternator type as on Class 37/5 and 37/7. Of its 35 year working life, 12 years were sent in refurbished condition, but now at 53 years old, 30 years have been spent refurbished.

This one evaded my attentions until the Merehead open day on 21st June 2008, where it appeared with 37906.

Running around at Alton.

Arriving at Medstead.

Ten minute break at Medstead.

Leaving Ropley.

Returning into Ropley from Alton.

Arriving at Ropley from Alresford.

My full set of 37901.