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 OO Gauge Diesel Locomotives

 
       
 

CLASS 37

English Electric built a total of 309 type 3 power ranged locomotives between 1960 and 1965 as part of the 1955 British Railways Modernisation Plan. Later to be known under TOPS as class 37s, the Co-Co locomotives became one of the most successful diesel electrics on British metals. With 1750 horse power, the class 37 was initially used out of London Liverpool Street on express passenger services to Cambridge and Norwich, however the 37s quickly spread their wings to most parts of the UK and proved to be more suited to heavy freight, and passenger services over routes with more strict weight restrictions. During their lengthy careers that have so far spanned five decades, the Type 3s, nicknamed 'Growlers' were often used in multiple in two's and occasionally even three's. whilst hauling heavy metals, or Merry-Go-Round trains. This practice became less common once Type 5 locomotives came on the scene, such as the class 56, 58, 59, and class 60s. Nowadays the class 37 still graces the network but not in as many numbers as before, having worked the privatised freight companies, including EWS, and more recently Direct Rail Services and Network Rail. To this date several 37s are either in store, working abroad, or unfortunately have been scrapped. A hand full have also made it into preservation, so hopefully will remain as permanent reminders of some of the successes of what was British Rail.    

   

 

 

ViTrains class 37 in Railfreight triple grey livery
 
ViTrains Class 37

Region; All Regions      Era; 1960 - Current    Use; Freight, express & secondary passenger     Coupling; Tension lock with no NEM provision    Flush glazing     Not DCC ready  

Vitrains (brought to us by some of the previous management of Lima) entered the UK ready to run market with the widely used class 37 locomotive, a good choice due to its lengthy time in mainline operation and array of liveries carried by the class. At first glance the ViTrains class 37 is a nice looking model.
 
All detail bar the roof fan grille is moulded, which shouts out Lima. However the model can be redeemed only slightly by the wealth of separate parts that the collector must fit. Unlike other manufacturer's ready to run locomotives, the ViTrains class 37 looks very 'naked' without its separate parts being fitted due to the sheer amount of them, which means around half an hour fitting them all before you can make it half presentable. Most liveries applied look OK but the yellow warning panels and separate parts look very plasticy, helping make the model look cheap and nasty. The ViTrains class 37 has directional lights but these are very poor as the tail lights are almost non existant, and both the head lights and high intensity lights are the same level of brightness. Head / marker lights are often dulled down by manufacturers to recreate the yellow like hue created, compared to the bright almost white hue of the high intensity light.
 
Running characteristics of ViTrains class 37 locomotives seem to vary from model to model. If you get a good one it will pull a good load of coaches or wagons without getting breathless, but get a bad one and you could be pushing it over point work and picking up its derailed load as it jurks it's way around your layout. In general ViTrains locomotives have a relatively low top speed but a high torque, meaning it will travel at similar speeds regardless of the weight of its load. Not a bad thing! The good weight of the model can help with the traction. 
 
Common complaints are that ViTrains class 37 locomotives are not easy to fit DCC chips to, and the lack of NEM pockets as ViTrains decided to use their own in house pocket method which are usually loose fitting, meaning that the coupling device often drops out of place during operation.
 
ViTrains class 37s can be found at several leading retailers at knock down prices, circa £50, so don't pay the RRP which is far more. Having spoken to some retailers it would appear that the reason for the widespread reduction of price is that ViTrains class 37s simply do not sell very well, which is not surprising when you can buy a Bachmann model which is far superior, for significantly less than ViTrains think that theirs will sell for. Simply put Mr and Mrs ViTrains; People will not pay more money for an inferior model which you have to fit most of the fine detail to, when you can pay less, get more, and don't have to fit most of the detail on the equivalent from a well known competitor. Most second hand models are over priced, aim to pay £30 - £40 for most versions in good boxed condition. Ensure all the detail is either in the bag or at least complete on the loco, and check it runs OK.
 
To sum up, if possible buy a Bachmann model, however the ViTrains class 37 when sensibly priced makes a good alternative to a Lima, Hornby, and Horny / Railroad models. In our opinion the ViTrains class 37 scores a sorry 5.5/10.       

 

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