British Rail Class 33
|BRCW Type 3
British Rail Class 33
D6547 in original green livery without yellow warning panels near Sundridge Park in 1963
|Builder||Birmingham Railway Carriage and Wagon Company|
|Serial number||DEL92–DEL189 (not in order)|
|AAR wheel arr.||B-B|
|Gauge||4 ft 8 1⁄2 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge|
|Wheel diameter||3 ft 7 in (1.092 m)|
|Minimum curve||4 chains (80 m)|
|Wheelbase||39 ft 0 in (11.89 m)|
|Length||50 ft 9 in (15.47 m)|
|Width||D6500–D6585: 8 ft 10 in (2.69 m)
D6586–D6597: 8 ft 1 1⁄2 in (2.5 m)
|Height||12 ft 8 in (3.86 m)|
|Locomotive weight||73 long tons (74.2 t; 81.8 short tons) to 77 long tons (78.2 t; 86.2 short tons)|
|Fuel capacity||800 imp gal (3,600 l; 960 US gal)|
|Prime mover||Sulzer 8LDA28|
|Traction motors||DC traction motors|
|Multiple working||★ Blue Star|
|Top speed||85 mph (137 km/h)|
|Power output||Engine: 1,550 bhp (1,156 kW)
At rail: 1,215 hp (906 kW)
|Tractive effort||Maximum: 45,000 lbf (200 kN)
Continuous: 26,000 lbf (116 kN)
|Train heating||Electric Train Heat|
|35 long tons-force (349 kN)|
|Train brakes||Dual (Air & Vacuum)|
|Class||D15/1, D15/2; 15/6, 15/6A; Class 33|
|Number||D6500–D6597; later 33001–33065, 33101–33119, 33201–33212|
|Axle load class||Route availability 6|
The British Rail Class 33 also known as the BRCW Type 3 or Crompton is a class of Bo-Bo diesel-electric locomotives ordered in 1957 and built for the Southern Region of British Railways between 1960 and 1962.
A total of 98 Class 33s were built by the Birmingham Railway Carriage and Wagon Company (BRCW) and were known as "Cromptons" after the Crompton Parkinson electrical equipment installed in them. Like their lower-powered BRCW sisters (BR Classes 26 and 27), their bodywork and cab ends were of all steel construction.
The original (1957) number sequence was D6500–D6597.
They began service on the South-Eastern Division of the Southern Region but rapidly spread across the whole Region and many were used much further afield – an example being the weekly Cliffe (Kent) to Uddingston (South Lanarkshire) cement train which was worked as far as York (and occasionally throughout) by pairs of the locomotives.
They were built with the ability to supply only the then new electric train heating rather than the ubiquitous steam heating which passenger carriages largely used. Early delivery problems and a shortage of steam locomotives resulted in many Class 24 locomotives being borrowed from the Midland Region and pairs, of 33 + 24, became common on Winter passenger services. This resulted in unpopular, complex run-round manoeuvres at termini as Class 24 needed to be coupled inside to provide steam heat. Emergency provisioning of through-piping for steam heat on some examples of class 33 alleviated this somewhat. The Southern Region was unaccustomed to the operational overhead and maintenance associated with the use of class 24 and they rapidly became unpopular. With the advent of modern stock and warmer seasons, they were sent back home with the Midland as pleased to have them back as the Southern was to see them gone.
Class 33s today
Most of these locomotives have now been withdrawn from active duty, though some of preserved members are in railtour services with heritage spot hire rail company West Coast Railway Company, whilst others remain operational on preserved heritage railways.
There were three variants, later becoming Class 33/0, 33/1 and 33/2.
Class 33/0 – standard locomotives
All 86 of the first delivery were built as standard locomotives. Later with the advent of TOPS these would become class 33/0 and were numbered in the range 33001-33065. Two locomotives did not survive long enough to receive TOPS numbers:
- D6502. In 1964 while on a freight working, it ran through signals at Itchingfield near Horsham and rammed a freight train ahead of it – damage was so extensive the locomotive was cut up on site.
- D6576. In 1968 it was involved in a collision at Reading but following recovery to Eastleigh and examination, it was considered uneconomical to repair and was cut up for spares.
Class 33/1 – push-pull fitted locomotives
While third rail electrification was expanding on the Southern region, it was not then considered to be justified to extend beyond Bournemouth and so, in 1966, D6580 was fitted with experimental push-pull apparatus, high-level brake pipes and jumper cables to make it compatible with Multiple Unit stock. Tests were carried out on the Oxted Line using a 6-coach rake of unpowered multiple unit coaches (designated TC, the T standing for Trailer). The use of this equipment removed the necessity for the locomotive to run around to the front of its train at each terminus, as it could be controlled from the driving position of a TC unit and hence could propel its train from the rear.
In 1968, following successful completion of trials, D6580 and eighteen other members of the class entered Eastleigh works to be fitted with a modified version of the push-pull apparatus – fully compatible with Class 73 and Class 74 Electro-Diesels and indeed any Electro-Pneumatically controlled (EP) Multiple Unit stock. They emerged painted in the new BR corporate blue with full yellow ends.
With the advent of TOPS, Class 34 had been reserved for these modified locomotives but it was not used and they were grouped, instead, into class 33/1 being numbered in the range 33101–33119.
They settled into sterling service, proving themselves highly useful and reliable. The prototype locomotive (D6580 later 33119) was the only member of Class 33 to run in green livery with the Multiple Unit control equipment – not to be confused with preserved members of Class 33/1 that have been repainted into green.
Class 33/2 – narrow-bodied locomotives
The second batch of 12 locomotives was built with narrow bodies to allow them to work specific lines in Kent. The "Hastings profile", required the bodies to be reduced in width by 7 inches (178 mm) to avoid clipping tunnel linings on that line, leading to their nickname of 'Slim Jims'.
The mainstay of push-pull operations was the operation over the then un-electrified track from Bournemouth to Weymouth and the service continued like this across three decades. Weymouth trains started at London Waterloo powered by third-rail electric traction via Winchester and Southampton to Bournemouth. The consist was normally twelve cars made up of a powerful 3,200 hp (2,400 kW) 4REP electric multiple unit on the rear with two leading units of un-powered 4TCs. At Bournemouth the train would be divided with the 4REP remaining at the London end of Bournemouth station and the 4TCs hauled onward to Poole and Weymouth by Class 33/1. On the return leg, the locomotive propelled the train back to Bournemouth where it would be attached to a waiting London-bound 4REP and the locomotive detached to await the next Weymouth-bound portion.
The usual configuration was 4TC+4TC+Loco with the locomotive at the country end. Light traffic would result in 4TC+Loco, and in rare operational circumstances 4TC+Loco+4TC was noted. This combination was not preferred, as it led to operational difficulties and inconvenience to waiting passengers who found themselves confronted with the side of the locomotive when their train has drawn to a halt.
The Class 33/1 with one or two 4TC sets (normally with the Class 33/1 at the country end of the train) were also the mainstay of the Waterloo – Salisbury service from their introduction. Platform congestion and the lack of facilities at the very busy Basingstoke station were two of the reasons for class 33/1 operation throughout the route rather than just over the non-electrified section west of Basingstoke..
In later years Weymouth boat trains, conveying passengers between London and the Channel Islands ferry service out of Weymouth, were handed over to push-pull operation. The section of route from Weymouth to the ship terminal at the quay is actually tramway, following (and largely in the middle of) the harbour road. The quay spur did not pass through the station proper, but diverged westwards at the throat thus it was not possible for boat trains to call at Weymouth station. Boat trains had been made up of conventional coaching stock and the locomotive would run-round its train on arrival at the sea-terminal. The move to push-pull sets on boat trains removed two headaches for the SR:
- The necessity for the run-round at the quay was removed.
- The locomotive swap at Bournemouth (for both up and down trains) was eliminated and services were greatly improved with the removal of the troublesome Class 74 locomotive from the equation.
Although class 73 & 74 electro-diesel locomotives had push-pull capability, they did not have the endurance for longer runs on diesel power – their 600/650HP was not even Type 1 – little more than a high-powered shunter equivalent. The Type 3 power of Class 33/1 with only a 4 or 8 car train was rarely into the recovery margin of a schedule due to load.
Class 33/1 and 4TC combinations were often used to supplement other services and were not just the purview of Bournemouth-Weymouth trains. Services could be rostered for a push-pull set due to stock shortages – the Reading to Basingstoke service (normally a stronghold of DEMU sets) could be relied upon to produce a push-pull set on Sundays. Often, electric rosters would be substituted by class 33/1 + 4TC if the line was de-energised during engineering work. Indeed, push-pull sets were a possibility over the entire range of Southern Region services including inter-regional trains; they were not in-frequent visitors to Bristol Temple Meads station and have been noted at Cardiff.
Although in private ownership at the time, 33103 and 4TC 417 were spot-hired for use on Barking-Gospel Oak services during a stock shortage in 1999 and worked the service for some weeks without issue.
A further member of the class; 33115, was used as a dead-load test before the introduction of Eurostar trains running on Southern tracks into Waterloo, with running number 83301. Having been fitted with Eurostar bogies (complete with electric 3rd rail collector shoes), it formed part of a test train where its through-wiring for push-pull work was necessary for the completion of tests.
Allocated to work the Weymouth Harbour Tramway, trains operating over public thoroughfare tramway without escort are required to be fitted with warning equipment for the general public. Two warning units were built and housed in a cabinet at the track side of the quay spur at the throat of Weymouth yard. This equipment comprised a yellow box which fitted on a bracket just above the rubbing plate on the cab front. It had an amber rotating beacon and bell which served to warn thoroughfare users and was controlled from the driving cab. Each member of Class 33/1 and all TC stock had a small socket where the bell/beacon units plugged in to draw power from the train systems. Later units (i.e. those in use after the tramway fell out of general use and the power sockets had been removed during overhaul) were smaller and mounted on a lamp bracket just below the cab window. These had an on/off switch on the bottom of the unit and no bell – warnings being given using the train horn.
Trains for the quay would halt at the station throat, and the warning equipment was attached and tested by the train guard. In addition, trains on the tramway were "walked" by railway staff with flags, clearing the route of people and badly parked cars all the way between the points at which the tramway reverted to conventional track at the quay station and road crossing into Weymouth yard. On arrival at the quay terminus the guard would move the warning equipment to the other end of the train in readiness for the return journey. In later years, (e.g. for Railtours) the local Police fulfill the role of traffic control and the process of moving a train along the tramway has become a lot less routine.
26 examples have survived into preservation:
(Current in bold)
|D6501||33002||Sea King||South Devon Railway||Operational||DCE Grey and Yellow|
|D6508||33008||Eastleigh||Battlefield Line Railway||Undergoing Restoration||BR Green (Yellow Warning Panels)|
|D6513||33021||Captain Charles||Churnet Valley Railway||Operational||BR Blue|
|D6515||33012||-||Swanage Railway||Under going repairs, and Mainline Certified||BR Green (Yellow Warning Panels)|
|D6530||33018||–||Midland Railway - Butterley||Undergoing Restoration||BR Blue|
|D6534||33019||Griffon||Battlefield Line Railway||Operational||DCE Grey and Yellow|
|D6552||33034||–||Swanage Railway||Scrapped in January 2013||BR Blue|
|D6553||33035||–||Ecclesbourne Valley Railway||Operational||BR Blue|
|D6564||33046||East Lancashire Railway||Stored (Spares Loco)||SWT Blue|
|D6566||33048||–||West Somerset Railway||Operational||BR Green (Yellow Front)|
|D6570||33052||Ashford||Kent and East Sussex Railway||Operational||BR Green|
|D6571||33053||–||Mid Hants Railway||Operational||BR Blue|
|D6575||33057||Seagull||West Somerset Railway||Operational||BR Green (Yellow Front)|
|D6583||33063||R.J. Mitchell||Spa Valley Railway||Operational||Railfreight General|
|D6585||33065||Sealion||Spa Valley Railway||Undergoing overhaul||BR Blue|
|D6513||33102||Sophie||Churnet Valley Railway||Operational||BR Blue|
|D6514||33103||Swordfish||Bluebell Railway||Operational||BR Blue|
|D6521||33108||–||Barrow Hill Engine Shed||Operational||BR Blue|
|D6525||33109||Captain Bill Smith RNR||East Lancashire Railway||Operational||BR Blue|
|D6527||33110||–||Bodmin and Wenford Railway||Operational||Departmental grey|
|D6528||33111||Hot Dog||Swanage Railway||Operational||BR Blue|
|D6535||33116||Hertfordshire Rail Tours||Great Central Railway||Operational||BR Blue|
|D6536||33117||–||East Lancashire Railway||Undergoing Repairs||BR Blue|
|D6586||33201||–||Midland Railway Butterley||Operational||BR Green (Yellow Front)|
|D6587||33202||The Burma Star||Mangapps Railway Museum||Operational||BR Blue|
|D6593||33208||–||Battlefield Line Railway||Undergoing Repairs||BR Green (Yellow Warning Panels)|
- Marsden, Colin J. (1981). Motive power recognition:1 Locomotives. Shepperton: Ian Allan Ltd. ISBN 0-7110-1109-5.
- Stevens-Stratten, S.W.; Carter, R.S. (1978). British Rail Main-Line Diesels. Shepperton: Ian Allan Ltd. ISBN 0-7110-0617-2.
- Williams, Alan; Percival, David (1977). British Railways Locomotives and Multiple Units including Preserved Locomotives 1977 Combined Volume. Shepperton: Ian Allan Ltd. ISBN 0-7110-0751-9.
- McManus, Michael. Ultimate Allocations, British Railways Locomotives 1948 – 1968. Wirral. Michael McManus.
- "Class 33 – Overview". Southern E-Group (SEMG). Retrieved 16 February 2007.
- "Class 33 – Technical Details". Southern E-Group (SEMG). Retrieved 16 February 2007.
- Tiller, Robert (1982). BR Class 33 Diesels. Truro: D Bradford Barton. ISBN 0-85153-431-7.
- Marsden, Colin J (November 1985 – January 1986). "The Southern Type 3's". Modern Railways Pictorial Profile (Weybridge: Ian Allan Ltd) (11): pp. 4–6. ISSN 0264-3642.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to British Rail Class 33.|
- 71A Group
- Southern E-Group (SEMG) – Class 33 details and photographs
- South East Locomotive Group – owners of 33063 & 33065
- Cromptons – BR Class 33 Locomotives
- Pioneer Diesel Group Owners of 33035