This image is the cover for the book English Electric Class 37/4 Diesel Locomotives

English Electric Class 37/4 Diesel Locomotives

A stunning pictorial survey of the Class 37/4s, covering their operations in Scotland, England, and Wales.

In the prelude to the privatisation of British Railways, the Provincial Sector (later Regional Railways) became responsible for local / secondary train services. It initiated the refurbishment of thirty-one Class 37 locomotives, fitted with train heating equipment—hence designated Class 37/4—to support the shortfall of DMU trainsets. Their initial task was to work services on Scottish lines radiating from Inverness to points north and Glasgow to service the West Highland Line with a small batch based in South Wales to service Cambrian Line services and services from Cardiff traversing the Marches Line to serve Liverpool.

These services were soon replaced by Sprinter trainsets thus releasing the fleet to other duties including freight operators hence, at privatisation in April 1994, the fleet became owned by freight companies who subsequently hired locomotives to both other freight companies and passenger operators.

Throughout their working life, the fleet members have proved invaluable and capable of powering a variety of services whose history confirms both the locomotives’ adaptability and prowess in handling the duties allocated to them.

Fred Kerr’s book seeks to show this adaptability by detailing the reason for their initial creation and the tasks successfully undertaken once released from their initial roles as support for the shortage of DMU trainsets. The advent of privatisation saw an increased demand for their ‘go-anywhere do anything’ ability which is also displayed by the range of photographs that illustrate the wide range of duties performed by class members.

Once withdrawn from service some class members were purchased for preservation and—such was their adaptability—that preserved examples were hired by train operators to cover duties that no other class of diesel locomotive was capable of achieving.

Fred Kerr

Fred Kerr was born in Edinburgh in 1948 where he gained an interest in railway locomotives from both the LMSR and LNER companies whose services permeated the local network. When his parents moved to Corby in 1956 the local steelworks provided further interest from its mix of freight services, including seeing the last of the Beyer Garrets and the replacement Standard Class 9Fs whilst the industrial locomotives of the internal steelworks network offered further insight into the variety of steam locomotives. This was a time of change and during the 1960s the interest in locomotives included the new order of diesel and electric traction without reducing the interest in steam traction. While his interest in Diesel Traction led to his early involvement with the Diesel & Electric Group and its preservation activities during the 1970s, his move to Southport in 1982 restored his opportunities to return to his first love of viewing steam locomotives at work and this album records some of the locations that he chose to visit and the locomotives that he was able to photograph. Today his interest continues as a life member of the A4 Locomotive Society, Keighley & Worth Valley Railway and Ribble Steam Railway whilst he also support bodies concerned with preserving steam locomotives, diesel locomotives and infrastructure extensions.

Pen and Sword Transport