West Highland Sleeper

The Caledonian Sleeper services are the only locomotive hauled services run by Scotrail.  For many years 'heritage' traction in the shape of Class 47s and Class 37s (sometimes in pairs!) worked these services, until Class 67s took over the Aberdeen and Inverness portions.  Only the Fort William portion remained the preserve of first generation traction as Class 67s were not permitted over the West Highland line.  However, in 2006 Network Rail decided that the Spanish heavyweights could be allowed to Fort William and in June scheduled Class 37 workings transferred to Class 67 haulage.  On a number of occasions poor reliability of the replacement traction resulted in Class 37 substitutions and this page is a small tribute to the former motive power.

Click here for the full image (59kb) On a rather dull 6 September 2004 37418 is stabled at Fort William with the sleeper stock for the later departure of the 1950 to Euston.

Click here for the full image (77kb) Departure time approaches on 6 September 2004 with 37418 at the head of the 1950 Fort William to Euston sleeper service.  On the right a Class 156 DMU has arrived with a connecting service from Mallaig.

Click here for the full image (35kb) Fast forward to 22 May 2006 and there are only a few days of scheduled Class 37 haulage left and 37406 waits at Fort William with the stock for the 1955 sleeper to Euston.

Click here for the full image (55kb) The weather on this day was much better and 37406 basks in the evening sunshine before departure.  I had a digital camera with me on this trip and I've uploaded a couple of videos to YouTube with start up at Fort William and departure from Tulloch.  The quality is not fantastic as the camera is not a video one, but it gives a flavour of the atmosphere.

Click here for the full image (58kb) For the journey as far as Rannoch 37406 ran with a headboard and the train is seen here waiting for the northbound Scotrail Glasgow to Fort William service to cross it on the single line.

Click here for the full image (58kb) One advantage of a digital camera is that it is not necessary to have a tripod to capture some night shots.  Here it is a few minutes before 1am on 23 May 2006 and 37406 has reversed the Fort William sleeper portion on to the southbound service to Euston.  The locomotive will stable at Waverley, with the seated coaches, prior to returning to Fort William later in the morning.