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Entering service as the English Electric Type 3, the British Rail Class 37 diesel locomotives were built at the Vulcan Foundry in Newton-le-Willows in a Co-Co configuration, based on locomotive designs for export markets. Built to undertake both freight and passenger work across all BR sectors, these engines proved highly reliable and, after overhaul, many survived in service across the network into the 1990s.
British Rail first placed an order for forty-two Class 37 locomotives in January 1959, the first of which was delivered in November 1960, entering service on 2 December with the last of this original batch complete by mid-1962, by which time subsequent orders had been placed. The last of the 309 locomotives built was delivered to the Western Region on 9 November 1965, originally numbered in the range D6700-D6999 and D6600-D6608.
Many Class 37 Locomotives were refurbished in the 1980s, extending their life. As a result, the Class 37 remains in service to this day as one of the longest serving classes on British railways. Second-hand locomotives have been exported to railways in France and Spain whilst in the UK many locomotives no longer required to work have been preserved.
Locomotive D6817 was built in March 1963 and renumbered to 37117 under the TOPS system in 1974. In 1988 the locomotive was refurbished and renumbered becoming Class 37/5 37521. After privatisation of British Rail the locomotive passed to EWS ownership and remined in service until 2007. After a few years in storage the locomotive was purchased by the Harry Needle Railroad Company before being sold again in 2013 to Direct Rail Services. The locomotive was later purchased by a private owner before being purchased by Colas Rail Freight in 2018.
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