60 years of 37403 celebrated with a new special edition

18 February 2024
The Scottish Railway Preservation Society has commissioned its own OO scale model of 37403 from Accurascale. It will be produced as it has run since 2016, in British Rail large logo livery with centre headcode, original tail lights, cast bogies and western-style lamp brackets.

The new model will be delivered in special Scottish Railway Preservation Society packaging and will be available in DCC-ready format with a 21pin DCC socket, or with Accurascale’s Accurathrash sound fitted. 

Key features include: 

• BR large logo livery as operating 2016-present 

• Centre headcode nose with headlight and original tail lights 

• Refurbished ‘split’ nose grilles 

• Cutaway bufferbeam cowling with oval buffers 

• ETH bufferbeam configuration with ETH/air/vac/control pipes and multiple working equipment 

• Toughened windscreens with as built cab interior 

• Welded roof with plated boiler exhaust and small cab roof vent 

• Original Western Region lamp brackets 

• Cast bogies 

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• Boiler water tank converted to long range fuel tank 

• Late EE cantrail grille 

• Optional miniature snowploughs 

Priced at £169.99 for DCC ready and £259.99 for DCC sound, with postage and packaging extra. It can be pre-ordered for a £30 deposit (DCC ready) or £45 deposit (DCC sound), or by paying in full, from The Scottish Railway Preservation Society and is due for delivery by the end of 2025. 

About the prototype

In October 1965, English Electric Type 3 locomotive D6607 rolled out of the Vulcan Foundry to start a career of front-line service on the British mainline that, in the guise of 37403 “Isle of Mull”, continues today. In 2025, The Scottish Railway Preservation Society will celebrate 60 years of 37403 with a specially commissioned and exclusive model as it currently operates. This is an exciting initiative for the Society, having last been involved in a model locomotive commission in 1998. 

309 examples of this mixed-traffic 1,750hp Co-Co class were built by English Electric and Robert Stephenson & Hawthorn between 1960 and 1965 to two basic designs, split and centre headcode. They could be found systemwide leading all kinds of freight and passenger services. 135 were rebuilt in the mid-1980s giving them a further lease of life, while further major rebuilds have taken place since privatisation. Like 37403, many are still in service. 

D6607 was released from the factory on 22nd October 1965 and was immediately allocated to Landore depot in South Wales. After an initial career in Wales and being numbered 37307 in 1974 under British Rail’s TOPS numbering scheme, the loco entered works in 1984 for rebuilding as one of the 31 class 37/4s which included the fitment of Electric Train Heating and gaining its new identity of 37403. Named “Isle of Mull” in 1986 and operating primarily the West Highland and Oban lines from Eastfield depot, the loco was renamed “Glendarroch” in 1988 after the fictional village in TV series Take the High Road. In 1994, the locomotive achieved celebrity status, receiving British Railways green and being named “Ben Cruachan” in connection with the centenary celebrations of the West Highland Line. 

In 1997, having passed to English, Welsh & Scottish Railways (EWS) at privatisation, the locomotive then worked in South Wales, England and the ScotRail Fort William sleeper trains. After withdrawal in 2000, 37403 remained in store until purchased by The Scottish Railway Preservation Society and brought to the Bo’ness and Kinneil Railway in 2008. Following extensive restoration work, including a zero-hours engine rebuild, 37403, reunited with its “Isle of Mull” nameplates, resumed service on the mainline in 2016. 

Based at Bo’ness, 37403 can be seen the length and breadth of Britain, being used on railtours and hired to other mainline operators. The locomotive can also often be seen visiting other heritage railways. 37403 is one of only two museum-accessioned locomotives to work on the mainline – the other being the world-famous Flying Scotsman – and the only diesel locomotive.  

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