‘Heavyweight’ champion?

ViTrains debuts a new body type on the Class 37.

ViTrains Class 37 37710 in Loadhaul

IRONICALLY, STRAIGHT AFTER we posted today’s earlier news from Italian manufacturer ViTrains about the forthcoming new Class 37 and Class 47 models, the first example of the previously announced new Class 37/7 sub class arrived in the post!

Just one of this refurbished and ballasted Class 37 version, nicknamed ‘heavyweights’, has been revealed so far, No. 37710 in the attractive and enduringly popular Loadhaul livery.

ViTrains Class 37 37710 in Loadhaul

This particular ‘Tractor’ was the one of just three Class 37/7s to be painted in the black and orange of the shadow privatised freight operator, along with Nos. 37713 & 37884 Gartcosh. Notably, ViTrains’ model wears the slightly modified later version of the livery with the cabside orange panel extending onto the front in a ‘V’ shape rather than the parallelogram sported by the very first repaints (such as 37713).

The Italians have done a superb job of capturing the colour scheme, and this is probably the best factory painted Loadhaul locomotive that we have seen. Note: the 1980-90s version of the OHLE warning flashes.

ViTrains Class 37 37710 in Loadhaul

But enough about the paint, what about the significant number of bodyshell alterations that have taken place to represent this locomotive? No. 37710 is not only a ‘heavyweight’ and thus saw the centre bodyside windows plated over, but an ex-split headcode machine, the first of this type so far produced by ViTrains.

As well as the windows, the roof has been altered to produce the strapped former boiler roof panel, while the horn cut-outs have also obviously been removed. However, there is none of the rivet detail that should have been added to the rest of the roof. Meanwhile, the all-new nose has been well rendered, although we think that in this case, Bachmann has done a slightly better job with the tooling for our forthcoming Class 37/5 locomotives.

Unfortunately, the Italian company has made quite an error in leaving the nose side grilles unchanged from those fitted to the Class 37/4. As the picture below shows, No. 37710 had the later style single piece grilles at all four corners. Taking the unchanged cantrail grilles and the strapped roof into account, this makes the bodyshell correct only for Nos. 37798 & 37799. This is perhaps odd considering the Lima parentage of ViTrains. Lima, of course, did a number of tooling variations on its own Class 37, including the nose grilles.

Other than the areas mentioned above, the new Class 37 is unchanged from previous releases and includes the same customer-applied detail pack and snowploughs. The recommended retail price is £69.99.

37710GB_020699

No. 37710 rests at Didcot Parkway station, Oxfordshire, on June 2nd, 1999, in company with Class 37/0 No. 37057 Viking. The Class 37/7 was converted from No. 37044 at Crewe Works, being released to Cardiff Canton in March 1988.

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