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.
The locomotives 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 they worked as far as York (and occasionally throughout) in pairs.
Only the then new electric train heating was fitted, 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 returned to the Midland Region.
Most of these locomotives have now been withdrawn from active duty, though three 33025 33029 & 33207 (with one further member 33030 as a spares donor) members are on Passenger services with heritage spot hire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.
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 Two locomotives did not survive long enough to receive TOPS numbers as they were withdrawn due to damage sustained in accidents.
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. Video Rating: / 5
The EMD SW1500 was a 1,500 hp (1,119 kW) diesel locomotive intended for switching service and built by General Motors’ Electro-Motive Division between June 1966 and January 1974. 808 examples were constructed. It was closely related to the less powerful EMD SW1000 model, forming a line of switchers powered by the new EMD 645 engine. The SW1500 replaced the SW1200 in the EMD product line, and was in turn replaced by the MP15DC.
The SW1500 was a substantially bulkier locomotive than the SW1200, with a much bulkier frame, larger cab and bigger hood. In many respects it was approaching a road switcher in abilities. While the SW1500 came as standard with AAR switcher trucks, the majority of them were delivered with the optional Flexicoil trucks which permitted speeds up to 60 mph (100 km/h). The SW1500 was, in fact, often operated as a road-switcher for branchline service, and continues in this role today.
The very similar SW1504 was fundamentally a SW1500 mounted on Blomberg trucks, and was produced for the Mexican national railroad, Ferrocarriles Nacionales de México.
NIRC 4 an SW1500 performs switching duties on the BNSF line in the Chicago’s South Loop near Union Station.
Type and origin
Power type Diesel
Builder General Motors Electro-Motive Division (EMD)
Build date June 1966 to January 1974
Total produced 808
AAR wheel arr. B-B
Gauge 4 ft 8 1⁄2 in (1,435 mm)
Length 44 ft 8 in (13.61 m)
Locomotive weight 248,000 lb (112,491 kg)
Prime mover EMD 645
Engine type 2-stroke diesel
Aspiration Roots blower
Displacement 9,072 in3 (149 L)
Cylinder size 9.0625 in × 10 in (230.2 mm × 254.0 mm)
Transmission Main generator: D32, Traction motors: D77/78DC
Power output 1,500 hp (1,119 kW)
Locomotive brake Straight air
Train brakes Air
Locale North America South America