BR Class 37 37906

37906 standing at Kidderminster, 9 July 2011

British Rail Class 37 diesel locomotive 37906 was built in 1963 and rebuilt with an experimental engine and generator combination in 1987. It was resident on the SVR for several years in the 2000s, leaving the railway in 2014. A summary of the Class 37 can be found on the 37308 page.


37906 in service

37906 was built at EE's Vulcan Foundry in Newton-le-Willows, works number 3384, and entered service in November 1963 numbered D6906.[1] The loco spent most of its working life in South Wales, allocated to Landore Depot in Swansea,[2] with short spells at Cardiff Canton, Bristol Bath Road and Plymouth Laira.[3] It was renumbered to 37206 in 1973.

In the mid-1980s British Rail was evaluating diesel engines for new locomotive designs such as the proposed but never-built Class 38. In 1986-87, six Class 37 locos were used to trial two potential engines, the Mirrlees MB275T and the Ruston RK270T. 37206 was fitted with the latter engine and a GEC alternator, and like the other five locos received new bogies and additional ballasting to increase its weight to 120 tons. The experimental locomotives became the 37/9 subclass, and 37206 became 37906, the only Class 37/9 to retain the last two digits of its previous number. Along with the rest of subclass 37/9, 37906 returned to South Wales for use on heavy freight work[4].

37906 in preservation

In 2000, 37906 was moved into the EWS Heritage Fleet, based nominally at Old Oak Common. It visited the SVR for the October 2000 diesel gala, and again in 2002, as part of the EWS heritage fleet. Following the second visit the locomotive remained at the SVR and agreement was reached for it to work on permanent way trains. However it was immobilised by EWS in 2003 following an incident at another railway, and remained out of use at Kidderminster until finally being sold the Ruston 906 Group in August 2006, with agreement to remain at the SVR being reached shortly afterwards. It was restarted for the first time on private ownership in September 2006.[5]

In a few days in April 2007 GEC control cards were stolen from 37905 at both Meldon Quarry and 37906 at Kidderminster. These cards were of use on only a handful of locomotives, and the theft necessitated the production of a new control card at considerable expense.[6]

37906 visited the Bo'ness and Kinneil Railway for the first three months of 2011[7] for their Class 37 50th Birthday event at the start of the year.[8]

In November 2013, the Ruston 906 Group announced that they felt the group was no longer large enough to keep the loco in working order, and had therefore agreed to sell it to Europhoenix to be returned to main line use.[9][10] The sale completed in March 2014, and the loco left the SVR by rail dead in tow on 11 May that year.[11] By 2019 it was based on the Battlefield Railway.

See also


  1. English Electric Growl website, retrieved 1 March 2015.
  2. BRDatabase website, retrieved 1 March 2015.
  3. English Electric Growl website, retrieved 1 March 2015.
  4. Wikipedia, retrieved 1 March 2015.
  5. SVR News 156
  6. SVR-Online forum (Retrieved 1 February 2017]
  7. SVR-Online forum (retrieved 1 March 2015)
  8. Preserved Diesels website, retrieved 1 March 2015.
  9. SVR-Online forum, retrieved 1 March 2015.
  10. Bridgnorth Station Facebook, announcement by GM Nick Ralls (retrieved 20 March 2018)
  11. SVR-Online forum, retrieved 1 March 2015.