BR Class 33 33108
Birmingham Railway Carriage and Wagon Company, Smethwick
Currently under overhaul
The Southern Region of British Railways ordered 98 locomotives from Birmingham Railway Carriage and Wagon Company (BRCW) of Smethwick, Birmingham. These were based on their Type 2 (later Class 26) but with a larger engine. They are powered by a Sulzer 8LDA engine of 1,550 bhp. Their ‘Crompton’ nickname derives from the main generator and traction motors which were supplied by Crompton Parkinson.
The class worked all kinds of duties on the Southern Region including passenger trains, for which they were the first BR diesel locomotives to have electric train heating. As D6521, the loco entered service at Hither Green. During 1966 it was one of 19 fitted with push-pull equipment to haul or propel unpowered 4-TC units on the unelectrified section from Bournemouth to Weymouth, and to carry warning lights and klaxons for boat trains on the (only recently lifted) road section of the Quay.
When electrification was extended to Weymouth in 1988, the renumbered 33108 and the rest of the sub-class were displaced to wider duties. These by now extended to Waterloo to Salisbury push-pull services, some services on the LSWR main line from Waterloo to Exeter, and beyond the Southern on such routes as between Cardiff and Crewe.
Although withdrawn from traffic in 1993, the locomotive was later leased to mainline operator Fragonset Railways until 2005, who named it ‘Vampire’ and took it to far-flung parts of the network!
33108 is owned by the Class 33/1 Preservation Company Ltd, who purchased the loco in 1997. After its Fragonset days, it spent several years at Swanage and attended numerous diesel galas across the country. It attended the SVR’s 2012 and 2017 galas and was invited for a longer stay. In addition to passenger duties, the hard-working locomotive is regularly used on Permanent Way trains and other duties for which it is ideally suited.
On 11th September 2020, it operated passenger trains with a ’60’ headcode on the window blinds, marking the 60th anniversary of its first introduction to traffic on 11 September 1960.
It is currently undergoing bodywork repairs in the TMD at Kidderminster.