The Indian Summer of loco hauled trains on the coast began in 1993 when a reallocation of class 158 units resulted in class 37 and loco hauled coaches being drafted in to fill the gap. The stock came mostly from Network South East where it had been used between Waterloo and Exeter. The red NSE stripe was quickly painted blue and in due course all the vehicles received Regional Railways livery. This happy state of affairs continued until the year 2000 when the operators of the, by then, privatised line, First North Western, confidently anticipated the 37's replacement by brand new Class 175 units. Horrendous problems with these "state of the art" trains saw the old order continue until the end of the year, the last official working was on 30th December 2000. That was not quite the end as a very few loco hauled trains ran in the early part of the new millennium.
There are many more photos of Class 37's in North Wales on my Flickr site.
DRS 37610 was hired for the day on May 5th 1998 to cover for a loco failure. It is seen here at Chester.
37421 is seen at Chester on a bitterly cold 28th December 2000 just a few days before regular Class 37 working ended. The final scheduled working on the 30th was hauled by 37429 "Eisteddfod Genedlaethol" in Regional Railways livery hauling 6 chocolate and cream liveried vehicles owned by Riviera Trains.
37415 passes the now demolished Mold Junction signal box on April 23rd 1996.
37402 passes under the down line
gantry at Sandycroft on January 13th 1994. Mold Junction and Sandycroft
boxes were both taken out of use in 2005 and this fine structure was then
redundant. Happily it was acquired by the East Lancashire Railway
and is presently in a dismantled state at Bury, awaiting modification and
rebuilding for use on the curve onto the Heywood line.
37422 passes Bagillt , 25th
37408 "Loch Rannoch", last of the sub class in the BR large logo blue livery, is seen near Mostyn on the 09.15 Holyhead - Euston after a fall of snow on the 3rd of March 1995.
37116 "Sister Dora" is seen passing Ffynnongroew on the 8th of June 1996. The loco is in a variation of BR blue livery with Transrail logos.
Ayr colliery was the last pit in North Wales and closed in 1995.
Seen passing the entrance to the sidings is 37407 "Loch Long" on April
21st of that year. The colliery was a major source of traffic for
the line and sent out a train most days to Fiddlers Ferry power station
near Warrington. The site has now been cleared and only the disused
rail sidings remain. The building in the background was an experimental
plant to manufacture oil from coal which has since been demolished.
By 1998 the passenger service on the line had been franchised to private operators, Virgin Trains took over operation of Holyhead - Euston trains and began repainting the rolling stock into its own distinctive livery. Due to the failure of the rostered Class 47 in Holyhead, 37420 "The Scottish Hosteller" was hired from Freight operator EWS to haul the 09.17 Holyhead - Euston, as far as Crewe. Photographed at Nant Hall just east of Prestatyn on June 10th 1998.
37402 "Bont y Bermo" failed at Prestatyn on July 16th 1996 on a Crewe to Bangor working. The miscreant was pushed to Rhyl - where the service was terminated - by the following service hauled by 37422. 37422 is seen here coupling up to the rear of the failed train.
A well known
local enthusiast made a very professional looking headboard for "The Irish
Mancunian" service which was attached to locos working the train from time
to time. 37425 "Concrete Bob" is seen here carrying the headboard
and about to leave Prestatyn on August 30th 1993.
Two happy faces as 37069 leaves Prestatyn on a down train. 1st of June 1998.
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