33012 at Salisbury after arriving with ECS to later form an additional 18.00 service to London Waterloo on 4 April 1988. My interest in 33s was brought to life by seeing the Saturday morning Lawley Street - Southampton freightliner being hauled through Leamington Spa by members of this class in the early 1980s. The loco worked down the previous day on a Portsmouth Harbour to Leeds train and with no balancing passenger working was best utilised by working back to the Southern on this freight. From 1987 to 1991 I took literally hundreds of photographs of Cromptons and would travel miles to get a single image. As they still were largely to be found on the south-east and south-west divisions of the region it meant that I found myself in parts of the country I would probably not otherwise have visited. It was not only Cromptons that I photographed, of course, and plenty of other locos were pictured along with 3rd rail multiple units. I had my "slammer" pictures when they were all over the southern so I haven't felt the need to charge around in recent months to obtain my pictures. The highlights of my travels were the Channel Tunnel construction trains which were almost exclusively in the hands of pairs of 33s. I particularly enjoyed photographing on the Sidcup Loop because it was possible to obtain pictures showing the train in the suburban environment.

33012 at Moreton-in-Marsh The convoy of locomotives that visited Swanage for a gala returned north on 10 May 2020 on their way to make an appearance at The Severn Valley Railway. This time there were the added attractions of 33012 on the front and the fact that 0Z33 was routed via the North Cotswold Line with a short layover in the Down Refuge Siding at Moreton-in-Marsh. I have never seen anything in the siding and although it is used to park a class 166 Turbo on weekday evenings it must be fairly unusual to see locomotives in there. The second locomotive in the consist, also under power, was 31128 giving a rare chance to photograph a double-header with the 2 classes. I have only one other picture of this combination taken at Leamington Spa in May 1988 so was keen for a few of today's working. The light for northbound trains in the late morning isn't favourable but a bit of light cloud helped as 37067, D4 and D182 were moved slowly past the inner home signal prior to stopping in platform 1 at the station.
0Z33 at Moreton-in-Marsh The light cloud mentioned above began to clear away as the 5 locomotives went into the station at Moreton-in-Marsh on 10 May 2022 allowing a well-lit picture with class 46 D182 bringing up the rear.
0Z33 at Moreton-in-Marsh There were clearly any number of locations available on the North Cotswold Line to photograph 0Z33 on 10 May 2022 but the most unusual part was when it was recessed in the Down Refuge at Moreton-in-Marsh. The light was well past its best for a morning shot but the sheer rarity of locomotives on this bit of line made the unrepeatable view of 33012, 31128, 37067, D4 and D182 well worthwhile.
0Z33 at Moreton-in-Marsh My primary aim was to take an image of 0Z33 in the Down Refuge Siding at Moreton-in-Marsh especially as it is unlikely that a class 33 has been in there previously. Unfortunately, the sun came out altogether as a GWR IET working 1W01 came past and although the sight of very different generations of power on adjacent lines was an irresistible one for a photograph the light was truly horrible!
0Z33 at Moreton-in-Marsh I have a fondness for semaphore signals and particularly those of the lower-quadrant variety so was looking forward to having a shot of the one allowing egress from the siding at Moreton-in-Marsh lowered as 0Z33 led by 33012 pulled out onto the down main line. Sadly though, there was clearly some problem with the mechanism as despite much clattering from the point rodding controlling the catch points it seemed that the signal could not be pulled into the "off" position. Some sort of solution was found and the train exited the siding without a clear signal which was a bit disappointing, for me at least. This was the first time that I had seen 33012 in its green colour scheme; on previous occasions it had been in BR Blue as in this view from Salisbury taken on 4 April 1988.
Signal MM5 at Moreton-in-Marsh Before leaving Moreton-in-Marsh on 10 May 2020 I went onto the station and took this picture of signal MM5, the down starter.
This picture, taken on 28 September 1990, shows Construction Sector liveried 33033+33063 passing between Bexley and Crayford with empties from the tunnel site - the loaded train would have grossed around 2000 tonnes of concrete tunnel lining segments. This peaceful looking scene is deceptive. Immediately behind the camera is the 6 lane A2 trunk road. There is, fortunately, a public footpath with substantial protection from the traffic!
After a run in an 8 EPB "slammer" from Crayford I decided to get off the train at Lewisham in an attempt to photograph the train from Battersea to Angerstein Wharf (7O78). After a wait of about an hour 33042+33207 rolled down the bank towards the station. This platform-end shot always appealed to me although if an up train appeared there wasn't much of a shot to be had. One or two other pictures from this location will appear in the "Electrics" section.
This photograph was taken on 26 October 1990 at Gravesend station and I make no apology for including a station shot in this collection. I prefer to have something in the image to make the location recognisable rather than just taking a train in a bland piece of open countryside. This rule clearly will be broken in other sections of this site! The train was, I think, a load of aggregate from Grain to Sevington via Dartford and Lee Spur, although my notes, as usual, are bit vague. What I do know though, is that I had just been soaked by a very heavy shower, evidenced by the impressively black sky and the puddles on the platform. Luckily, the sun appeared just as the signal cleared for the up through road and the driver opened up as the locomotives, 33051 + 33058, cleared the points to give a nice smoke effect.
Most of my photographs of the Gillingham (Kent) to Preston van train were taken north of Leamington Spa but for a change here it is approaching Reading behind 33109 on 26 May 1988. This lcocmotive along with 33116 was kept for special duties, railtours, stock moves and the like such as this unusual move along the North Staffordshire Line on 13 April 1995 seen here at Tutbury when the pair took a 4TC to Scotland for a filming contract.645
Despite visiting Basingstoke 2 or 3 times each month for nearly 4 years I failed to get a decent photograph of a 33 heading north on the Reading line. This is my only such shot and shows 33113 with an MOD working from Ludgershall to Didcot on 7 August 1987. The backdrop here has dramatically changed in the intervening 20 years and the DEMU in the branch platform would now be a Thames Turbo.
The few days between Christmas and New Year 1990 were by marked a nadir in the availabilty of the class 50s diagrammed on Waterloo to Salisbury and Exeter trains. "The locos the Southern could never do without" as the Cromptons have been described once again came to the rescue and performed heroically on these trains. Overall, the weather was not too good over the holiday, but the number of 33 workings over the holiday helped to get some in the sun. I have many more back & white images and some of these will appear here as time allows. This shot shows 33101 arriving at Woking on 27 December 1990 with the 11.18 Salisbury to Waterloo.
This was my final shot at Woking on 27 December 1990 as 33116 was about to stop in the station with its Salisbury to London Waterloo train. There is quite a mix of architecture in this picture including Georgian terraces, the 1937 Grade II listed Art Deco signal box and an ugly modern office block. Not everything improves as time passes.
An everyday scene at Winchfield, between Woking and Basingstoke, on 17 May 1988. The train is an early afternoon London Waterloo to Salisbury with 33119 hauling the usual 4TC set along the fast lines. The stretch of line saw some of the highest speeds on the South Western line from both steam and class 50 diesel locomotives thanks to the excellent alignment and maintenance it received from the permanent way gangs. I don't know if the same is true in 2022...
Another picture from Winchfield taken on 17 May 1988 but this time of a more unusual working. The class 442 electric units were still being delivered to Eastleigh at this time and 33113 was employed in taking a set there. I knew this was running and moved onto the platform for a different shot hoping that a 4VEP unit wouldn't be stopped at the crucial moment. I was in luck as the train due about then had just left for Hook and Basingstoke.
Worting Junction is a few miles to the west of Basingstoke and is where the Southampton and Salisbury lines diverge. This picture dated 19 May 1988 shows 33012 with an up departmental train from the Southampton line and which was switched to the up fast just after leaving Battledown Viaduct. The train includes a couple of vintage-looking vehicles along with 2 flats loaded with old track panels.
Most of the Cardiff to Crewe trains seemed to be class 47 hauled by August 1986 but on the 27th 33056 turned up at Sutton Bridge Junction at Shrewsbury. There still locomotive-hauled hauled trains on both routes with class 37s on the Aberystwyth services.
In 1988 it was still possible to photograph and ride on class 33 hauled trains between Cardiff and Portsmouth Harbour. On 4 April of that year 33011 I photographed 33011 leaving Salisbury for the coast and passing 202027 waiting to follow it, at least as far as Tunnel Junction, with a service to Basingstoke and Reading. The locomotive's original number, 6512, is stencilled onto the front end.
There was a lot of class 33 activity at Salisbury on 4 April 1988. This picture shows 33112 arriving light engine from the east presumably to cover a job later in the day as it was stabled in a bay after reversing just outside the other end of the station. I don't often photograph locomotive nameplates but of the Templecombe plate on this occasion.
This picture shows another arrival at Salisbury from Portsmouth Harbour on 4 April 1988 with 33029 in a bit of a state with what appears to be a depleted coolant level. It was fortunate that it had managed to reach the station rather than failing earlier and blocking the line. Some passengers from the train are seen making their way to the locomotive to see what was about to happen. Alongside this train in the adjacent platform was an ECS hauled by 33012. The locomotive survived a lot longer than most of its classmates and is part of the WCRC fleet. On 22 May 2014 it rescued an HST power car with wheel flats from Worcester and took it to Long Marston from where loading onto road transport was possible.
I stood at Salisbury on 4 April 1988 and watched while 33029's cooling system was topped up by means of a chain of men with watering cans presumably found in a shed somewhere on the station. The suits watching the driver getting back into his cab were passive helpers, almost certainly hindering operations.
Turning around from the picture of 33012 shown above, this was the scene at Salisbury with 33026 arriving with a train from Portsmouth Harbour on 4 April 1988. The light was poor for much of the time that I ws here but did pick up during the afternoon as can be seen in this image of 33012 just arriving in the city with an ECS train to later form a relief service to London Waterloo.
The sun had just begun to appear through the mist and cloud when 33009 was photographed arriving at the other end of Salisbury station from Cardiff on 4 April 1988 with a train for Portsmouth Harbour.
In May 1990 I decided to have a go at photographing some of the trains running from Angerstein Wharf, a branch off the line between Southwark Park Junction in south-east London, and the Crayford Spur, near Dartford in Kent. On 2 May, I was travelling in a 4EPB unit from Waterloo East with the intention of getting off at Charlton in order to photograph the Angerstein Wharf to Park Royal aggregate train. It was a hot day and I had the sliding windows of the unit open and shortly after leaving Westcombe Park station I heard the unmistakeable sound of a pair of Cromptons. Looking down the embankment I saw 33058 + 33004 on the branch and grabbed this shot; luckily, I had my cameras ready as the booked time for the freight was not long after my train should arrive and I wanted to be ready when I reached Charlton. Considering that I was on a moving train and that the shot was pretty much into the sun, I think that the outcome wasn't too bad.
Charlton station was the next stop where I alighted and made my way onto the footbridge. 33058 + 33004 appeared within a few minutes and I was able to get this shot - exactly what I wanted - a freight in recognisably urban surroundings. Trains still run from Angerstein Wharf to various locations and I should like to go back to the area at some to get some up-to-date pictures.
On 25 May 1990 I had another trip to photograph the Angerstein Whark to Park Royal train and had already decided to try a shot at Belvedere station, a few stops further east than Charlton. I had passed through on the train a couple of times and thought it had some potential for an interesting picture. As was usual on a line with a very intensive passenger service the aggregates train hauled by 33063 + 33027 was spot on time and is seen here accelerating from a signal check occasioned by the unit on which I was travelling. In the distance, another 4 EPB can just be made out standing in Abbey Wood station, showing what an excellent off-peak service these busy lines had.
Further west on the Sidcup Loop is Albany Park though which 33004+33058 are seen passing with 6C66, the 10.02 Sevington to Cliffe Brent Marine in May 1990. This train is the returning empties of a service taking sea-dredged aggregate from the Thames Estuary to the Channel Tunnel Construction site. This location was "touch and go" for a clear shot in 1990 and I suspect that the view from this high bridge may these days be totally obscured by foliage. Class 60s never really took off on these aggregate trains and 33s held on pretty much to the end of the work on the tunnel.
This is the view looking east from the station at Albany Park. It shows 33058 passing by in September 1990 with the morning Angerstein Wharf to Paddington New Yard, another train of sea-dredged material from the Thames Estuary. I do not often take platform-side shots but thought that the composition of this scene to be quite strong and worth a frame even if it didn't come off. In the event I was pleased with the result, showing as it does, the power of the locomotive.
Stratford-upon-Avon used to be a regular destination for the VSOE after the train started running in the early 1980s. It regularly utilised class 33 power and here is 33028 passing Wilmcote station on 22 May 1987. The weather was dreadful but the chance of a Crompton to this normally DMU-only outpost was too good to miss, especially the ECS was unusually booked via the North Warwickshire line to Tyseley for servicing. It is interesting to see how unkempt the station was in 1987 compared to the model of tidiness it presents today.
One of the highlights of the trip for photographers, both of us (!) was the run over The North Warwickshire line from Stratford-ujpon-Avon to Tyseley for servicing. Locomotives of any description were and still are quite rare on this line but a 33 hauling the VSOE stock was very special. It was the first Crompton I was aware of to use this line since the route was truncated at Stratford in the 1970s. The train hauled by 33028 is seen here in the early afternoon passing the signalbox at Henley-in Arden. The box was open for 2 shifts at this time but was latterly switched out during the afternoon and finally closed and demolished in October 2010.
Once the VSOE stock had been serviced at Tyseley on 22 May 1987 the train returned to Stratford-upon-Avon ready to pick up its passengers for the return to London Victoria. I walked along the towpath of the nearby canal to a foot crossing to take this shot of 33028 and the smart coaches passing the semaphore signals on the down side of Bearley Junction. The bracket signal protecting the junction still had lower quadrant signals at this time but were changed for those operating in the upper quadrant some time afterwards. They were replaced in 2010 when the area came under the control of the Snow Hill Panel at Saltley.
This view of Bearley Junction was not possible for long after this this shot was taken because of a proliferation of modern lineside equipment put there largely when the signalbox at Stratford-upon-Avon was demolshed and control of the terminus passed to a small panel in the box here. By the end of October 2010 this scene had changed again with the removal of the GWR box, a picture taken during an accompanied visit. The box had a Midland Railway frame and this was lost along with the other infrastructure when the resignalling of the lines to Stratford was completed. The VSOE hauled by 33028 is here seen on 22 May 1987 passing the junction and joining the single track to Hatton West Junction from where it will head up to London Victoria via Leamington Spa.
The VSOE used to visit Stratford-upon-Avon on a regular basis. The earlier trips were exclusively hauled by class 33 locomotives and quite often by a member of the class 33/2 sub-class. Here is 33212 arriving at the terminus at lunchtime on 22 June 1985. I had made the trip from work to photograph this arrival and although the sun had just about gone off the side of the train, the shot didn't come out too badly. The lower quadrant signal gantry, which incidentally made a good perch for a morning departure on occasions when the right signalman was on duty, has long gone.
The afternoon of 22 June 1985 remained fine so after a brief spell at work I headed for Wilmcote to photograph 33212 at the summit of the 1/75 climb from Stratford-upon-Avon. The locomotive sounded wonderful on this heavy train and the exhaust shows that some hard work was being done. The spot upon which I was standing is close to the southern end of the former up refuge siding, used to shunt freights out the way of express passenger trains in the days when this line was the GWR's primary route from Wolverhampton to South Wales and the West Country.
This picture was inspired by one taken by Brian Morrison I saw in a magazine. My shot shows 33052 + 33019 working the empty boxes used for moving the concrete linings to the Channel Tunnel construction site through Mottingham on 29 July 1989. Signal checks were commonplace on this line given the frequency of passenger traffic and this, for a fan of class 33s, gave a good opportunity to hear these pairs of locomotives being worked hard as the line ahead cleared.
There was just about a shot for an up train at Mottingham although the lineside trees made things a bit tricky. This image shows 33035 + 33020 with the loaded Grain to Sevington aggregates and working hard to keep to time on this busy line with the 1500 tonnes or so of stone. This was a Saturday and I had gone on the strength of my newly acquired Southern Region Freight WTT. I saw 5 of these class 33 workings and later found out that I was lucky; for this number to work at the weekend was very unusual.
This photograph was taken on 19 August 1989 and shows 33033 + 33046 approaching Sidcup station with 6C66, which was the 10.02 Sevington Sidings to Grain aggregates. The Sidcup loop was a happy hunting ground for pairs of class 33s on Channel Tunnel construction trains - on a good day it was possible to photograph 4 or 5 workings together with occasional class 47s and the odd 56 on other traffic. This was in addition to the half-hourly passenger service, almost exclusively formed of vintage EPB stock. To a Midlander, these were also well worth a few frames on a sunny day.
Two days after the picture shown above was taken I went back to Sidcup for a few more class 33 shots. This one is of 33057 + 33042 with the empty boxes operated by TML to carry aggregates to the Channel Tunnel site.
There was a reasonable shot for up trains from the footbridge at Sidcup and this image shows the daily ballast working from Hoo Junction to Meldon Quarry in Devon. On 20 August 1989 33211 was on this train which is seen passing some typical South London semis and a large muulti-storey office block partly hidden in the background.
Much more unusual track for a class 33 than the Sidcup Loop was the Coventry to Nuneaton line. It was visited by 33058 on 11 June 1989 when it hauled a railtour from Waterloo to the Coalville Open Day. The tour was diagrammed for a pair of 33s but one failed before departure. In those days mobile phones were the size of a suitcase and cost about as much as a small car so no information was available once away from home. This meant a long wait in the sun at 3 Spires Junction, Coventry where much road construction work was in evidence.
By August 1989 all workings from Exeter, Yeovil and Salisbury were diagrammed for class 50 locomotives but it was always possible that a failure might result in a class 33 turning up. This was the case on 14 August when 33113 was called on to haul the 9.00 Yeovil Junction to Waterloo train which is pictured here leaving Basingstoke and unusually crossing onto the up relief line. This means that, in all probability, it had a slow journey behind a local unit at least as far as Woking as a class 442 Wessex unit wasn't far behind. A 3H diesel-electric unit on the Basingstoke to Reading shuttle can just be made out in the bay platform while a 4 VEP is platform 1 with a stopping train to Southampton.
At the time that the Channel Tunnel was under construction I made several trips to South-East London and Kent to photograph class 33s working the trains supplying the project. The best known were those taking taking the concrete tunnel lining sections to the site and were invariably hauled by pairs, or occasionally 3, locomotives. On 27 July 1989 33016 + 33023 were on the job and are seen here at Petts Wood Junction crossing onto the down main line at about 20mph and under absolutely full power. I can still remember the noise this pair was producing as they kept their immense load, around 2000 tonnes, moving on this busy line.
Running not far behind the pair of class 33s shown above at Petts Wood Junctiion on 27 July 1989 was another train heading for Sevington Channel Tunnel unloading point. This time it was hauled by 33064 + 33027 with a load of sea-dredged aggregates from Grain. Although not as heavy as the concrete segments the trailing load was still close to 1500 tonnes and the locomotives were certainly being worked hard along the down relief line.
At the other end of the weight scale is this Sunday afternoon van train, 3B01, from London Waterloo to Southampton with 33101 in charge on 13 August 1989. The location is Winklebury up loop, just to the west of Basingstoke, where it was possible to perch on the bank and stretch the camera up over the wire fence in the sports field. I took a few other shots in the short time I was there including some 47s and 50s but this, my real target, was the only train that missed the sun...
I had one of my increasingly rare outings for a couple of charters on Saturday 5 September 2009. The first was a Worksop to Claydon Junction railtour which ran to London Marylebone and then along the freight line to the Railway Centre at Quainton Road before covering some relatively rare track for passenger trains, this being the road through Calvert and into the loop at Claydon LN & E Junction before reversal. The morning started with crystal clear skies but cloud rapidly built up from the west and by the time 1Z37 was south of Birmingham the cover was quite heavy. I just went to Hatton and was lucky in that the sun just managed to clear some quite thick cloud as the train, headed by WCRC 33207, rounded the curve towards the station. The train was running on time at this point but had earlier been around 20 minutes late because the trailing locomotive, 37516, had suffered a brake problem involving a lack of air pressure in the system. There was fortunately a stack of recovery time built into the schedule in the Birmingham area which allowed the lost time to be, well, recovered...
Troop trains were, at one time, quite commonplace on the line between the South-West division of the Southern Region and Birmingham. As these ran via Reading West curve there was no real opportunity for a locomotive change as there would have been had they run into Reading station as the normal inter-regional services did, so there was a better than average chance of a class 33 being allocated. On 25 August 1985 there was a 1Z14 Weymouth to Edinburgh train, which ran as far as Birmingham New Street behind 33043. I suspected that this would run via Coventry rather than Hatton because of the weight of the 12 coaches being over the limit for Hatton Bank for a small engine, although in practice I'm sure that it would have managed the climb without any problem. With this in mind I decided that Leamington Spa station would be the safest bet for a shot and in the event I was proved correct. The Crompton is here seen just opening up as the route indicator was illuminated to show that the road for Coventry had been set.
This picture is dated 20 April 1996, by which time class 33s were getting a little rare away from the former Southern Region. The train was Pathfinder Tours' 1Z33 Bristol to Eastbourne, "The Southern Coasterman" which also featured E5001 and 09025 during the day. I first went to Defford in Worcestershire to photograph 33026+33057 at 06.55 and even TRI-X 400asa in a Mamiya 645 struggled a bit in the early morning mist and general murk. The resulting negative was a bit on the thin side and this accounts for the poor quality of the scan.
As I was driving home from Defford on 4 September 1996, the sky began to clear and the sun appeared so I decided to have another crack at 1Z33 and as I had taken only black & white with me, went home to pick up my 2nd Mamiya 645 loaded with colour transparency film. There was plenty of time to drive to Prospect Road just south of Leamington Spa stationa. This second picture was taken as the train climbed up the 1/110 at 08.52. The piles of damaged sleepers on the left of the down line are the result of the derailment of a freight, from memory the Sheerness to Wolverhampton steel train. Hundreds of yards of track had to be replaced which disrupted traffic for quite a while. 645
Moving north from Leamington Spa and in somewhat better lighting conditions we find 33202+33207 on "The Eden Serpent" railtour climbing Hatton Bank on 8 November 1986. The use of a pair of "slims" was unusual and made this a "must get" shot. It was booked to run in front of a special hauled by the NRM's Mallard and my master plan was to photograph the cromptons and then march off leaving the hoardes of kettle photters to do their thing clearly showing my disdain for all ferroequinological coal-burners. Sadly, things didn't work out and the kettle came first. It was nearly good though, as several trespassing chasers hurrying away for another shot of Mallard were within inches of being transformed into an interesting headboard by the 33s following only a section behind.
33117 at Worting Junction Class 33s had charge of Waterloo to Exeter and Salisbury trains for many years, the latter mostly being former of 4TC stock by 1989 thus removing the need for the locomotive to be run-round its stock at either end of the journey. Here is 33117 with an aferenoon service pictured passing the former railwaymens' cottages just to the up side of Worting Junction, Basingstoke. This was a good location to appreciate these small but powerful locomotives as they were still under full power after leaving Basingstoke station and so making a decent sound for those appreciating the noise of a Sulzer 6 cylinder engine.
33109 at SonA bridge Until 22 May 1993 I hadn't photographed a class 33/1 at Stratford-upon-Avon although I had taken shots of the other 2 sub-classes there. The occasion was a train organised by the Bournemouth Rail Travel Association which utilised 33109 and 4TC sets 410 + 417 which were also, I think, a first for the town. The day was exceptionally dull and my black & white pictures are way better than the colour versions which aren't really sharp enough to reproduce well. This view taken from the Alcester Road overbridge was taken shortly after arrival and just before the train shunted into platform 3 so as to be out of the way of service trains. A short while earlier I had taken this picture before the train pulled forward showing some of the passengers taking their shots from platform 1. The background here was changed almost beyond recognition following the construction of a Safeway (now Morrisons) supermarket on the site and the disappearance of much of the other infrastructure visible.
33109 at SonA There was time to walk from the road bridge to the platform to take a record shot of the stock as a Thames Turbo pulled out of platform 1. This view has also changed with the construction of a new foot and lift bridge as this 2020 shot from roughly the same spot on the platform shows all too clearly. The scene adjacent to platform 3 has also been altered and the picture I took as 33109 shunted into there shows some of the rubble left from the demolition of the Cold War food store before the construction of Safeway.
33109 Wilmcote(2_ Somewhat unusually the return of the Weymouth tour was booked to call at Wilmcote, the first station out of Stratford, and the train is here seen approaching the stop being propelled by 33109 to pick up several passengers, one or two of whom had clearly liberally availed themselves of the hospitality in the 2 village pubs. Even considering the dreadful weather, I was surprised to be alone to record this unique and unrepeatable sight.
I had often noticed that class 33/1s when propelling TC stock made more racket on moving away from a stop than when hauling it; maybe the electro-pneumatic control equipment was a little less sensitive when operated from the trailer cab. I can well remember the impressive exhaust sound of 33109 as it pulled away from the Wilmcote stop mentioned above with the return leg of a charter from Weymouth to Stratford-upon-Avon, evidenced by the smoke being laid over the atractively restored station on 22 May 1993.
33108 at Bordesley Junction During the evening of Friday 21 October 1988 I received a telephone call saying that there was a Wool to Birmingham New Street troop train running via Soilhull the following morning and that the word was that it would be formed of a class 33/1 with TC stock. This meant that my previous plans for the day were laid aside and a location decided upon to show the stock to its best advantage. The next morning found me near Bordesley Junction as the curve from the Snow Hill line would be just about the best bet at that time of day. The train was late and I had almost decided that a route change had occurred and that it had gone via Coventry when the unmistakeable sound of a 33 being opened up became audible. 33108 with a 5TCB + a 4TC rounded the curve giving an almost unprecedented sight for the area. I bet it gave the spotters at New Street a bit of turn! I had assumed, in the absence of any gen, that the ECS would return via Coventry after going to Soho, Bescot, Aston and Stechford and made my way to Berkswell. Sadly, the train simply reversed and went back the way it had come , being driven from the TC cab. That would have been a different shot at Hatton...
33008 at Hatton Bank This photograph shows one of the first diesel locomotives to be repainted into an approximation of the original 1960s livery. It is, of course, 33008 climbing Hatton Bank with a Poole to York relief service 16 April 1987. The train was not booked to call at, and therefore reverse, at Reading travelling instead via Reading West Curve and then directly to Birmingham via Solihull from Leamington Spa thus avoiding the Coventry line. Because of the routing it was a fair bet that a class 33 would be diagrammed and certainly worth taking an afternoon off work. The light wasn't brilliant but the result was still pleasing as 33008 climbed up from Warwick. When I first saw the train in the distance it looked as if a large-logo class 47 was on the front as 33s were, as I thought, blue so it was a pleasant surprise when it became apparent that the green locomotive was coming.
33032 at Leamington Spa Another Southern visitor to Leamington Spa was 33032 which appeared on 3 August 1985 at the head of a Poole to York relief, and as I mentioned above, these trains were always keeping an eye on because they did not generally call at Reading station, which obviated the need to run-round and therefore change locomotives. I didn't know about this one sufficiently far in advance to get to Hatton Bank, which on a such a lovely day would have been my first choice of location but this end of Leamington station isn't too bad a shot with the well-tended piece of garden to the right of the platform adding a bit of colour.
Here is a picture taken at Culvert Road Junction near Clapham on Saturday 11 February 1989. The train is Pathfinder's "Maid of Kent", the 1Z45 05.29 Manchester Piccadilly to Ashford, via Dungeness, hauled by 33106 and brought as far as Kensington Olympia by class 47 97561 which, I seem to recall, was a late replacement for an unavailable 45106. This was quite an interesting place to stand for a while, with the lines to Waterloo and Victoria passing over the lines to Lewisham. There is quite a mix of housing visible here, ranging from mobile homes, through high rise flats to the Victorian terraces parallel to the lower level lines. A few minutes before the railtour an unidentified class 47/4 went in the same direction with what I think was a Manchester to Brighton service.
After being the staple form of rail transport for years between London Waterloo and Salisbury the use of class 33/1 in push-pull mode with 4TC stock came to end on 14 May 1989. On the previous day, Saturday 13 May, I took several shots of these trains around Basingstoke but the best of the bunch were from a footbridge at Old Basing, a few miles to the East. This one shows 33116 with 09.18 from Salisbury propelling its stock towards Woking and Waterloo with the route code 62 prominent in the front panel.
After lunch the sun was further round to the West and allowed conventionally lit shots of down trains. This one is of 33111, complete with appropriate headboard, forming the 14.10 Waterloo to Salisbury passing through Old Basing. It was noticeable that the trains were, naturally enough, loaded a lot more heavily than usual given that many enthusiasts were keen to get their final miles with this style of stock and motive power. I didn't take any photographs on the final day, 14 May, and assume that the weather took a turn for the worse.
This image of 33108 is also of the 14.10 Waterloo to Salisbury but taken at Basingstoke station during its booked stop on 20 May 1988. Although generally an everyday scene it was notable because the 4TC stock was the first set to be painted into Network South East livery. I always quite liked this view as the station had kept of lot of its character and in this view, a Honda C50 Scooterette on the furthest platform very similar to my first motorised vehicle and in the same red colour scheme.
In 1991 I was interested in taking as many pictures of class 33s I was able so when the class started work on a short-term contract to remove heavily contaminated soil from Chatham Docks in Kent, prior to much work into turning the site into a public visitor centre, I pencilled in a trip or two. The first was on 28 March of that year and as soon as I arrived at Gillingham, where the junction of the dockyard branch was situated I saw 33029 leave the yard and go down the branch with its set of empty low sided wagons complete with tarpaulin covers. The waste being removed was hazardous being contaminated with heavy metals and therefore had to treated with care to avoind pollution of the surrounding area. The same locomotive was acquired by WCRC in 2006 and painted in their house colours in which it seen here at Honeybourne with an HST power car on wheel skates in May 2014.
The material being removed from Chatham Docks in 1991 was not only hazardous but very dense and the loaded wagons proved a real test of the class 33s power and traction. The branch also had a steep gradient as it climbed away from the River Medway and a loaded train really made the small lcomotives produce some exceptional sound effects; I wish that I had had the facilities at the time to have made some video recordings. Here is 33029 with the first of the loaded trains I saw on 28 March and there is little evidence other than a mist of exhaust smoke of the hard work being done as it comes towards the end of the branch at Gillingham Yard.
The loaded trains from Chatham Docks were taken into Gillingham Yard where, I think, 3 sets were joined together ready for a clas 56 to take to Forders Sidings on the Bedford to Bletchley line. Here, 33029 is about to be uncoupled from the set shown above on the docks line. There was a convenient staff access gate in the fence protecting the yard and as the entrance was on public land it was easy to lean on the gate and take images such as this. Just as few moments later 60002 went by on the main line with a load of ballast wagons in tow.
Another trip to Gillingham was made on 3 May 1991 and the first shot was this of 33207 standing alongside 33048. Neither of these locomotives worked the trains along the branch to Chatham Docks during the day as 33051 was the one used on the the trips all day. Just for a change 56028 also worked at least one of the trains.
Just after 56007 had passed Gillingam signal box on 3 May 1991 I could hear 33051 with its heavy load of contaminated spoil from Chatham Docks working hard as it came up the gradient towards Gillingham Yard. The procedure here was for the trip freights to join the down main line when a path was available, pull forward until clear of the crossing and then propel into one of the roads within the yard. The loaded trains, 3 of them from memory, were coupled together and then taken to Forders Sidings by a class 56.
After the customary lunch break on 3 May 1991 the Chatham Docks trips started off again and here is the first of the afternoon runs with 33051 bringing the loaded wagons up the bank towards Gillingham Yard. The exhaust haze produced by the loocmotive can been seen which emphasised the work involved but the sound effects really were much more spectacular and I do wish that I had some evidence of this.
Here is another shot of 33051 climbing away from Chatham Docks on 3 May 1991 and the only one taken in proper sun. I used a 210mm lens on my Mamiya 645 for this picture and although completely head-on I thought it quite striking. The blast from the exhaust was shaking the lineside trees and parting what looked like a green tunnel.
These trains were not moving very fast because of the gradient of the branch and heavy load being conveyed so there was plenty of time to put down one camera and pick up another loaded with colour film. I took this one in vertical format to remove some of the lineside vegetation and whilst this looked fine after being projected onto a screen it makes producing it for the web a bit unsatisfactory. I think it worth including here as it was the only shot in full sun that I managed of one these trips over both of my trips here.
In the days when postal trains ran across the whole network there was a short period for Crompton fans to obtain photographs at Hatton of the Gillingham to Preston vans. It ran during the late evening so was only photographable for a few weeks, and I didn't really take full advantage of the opportunities. Here, though, is 33044 climbing Hatton Bank on 4 August 1987. For some reason, I took the shot far too early and the resulting transparency has had to be heavily cropped which accounts in part for the less than ideal composition. The class 33 worked only as far as Birmingham New Street where its train would have been combined with one from the WCML and taken forward by an AC electric locomotive. By the following year, this train had been diverted from the Hatton line to run via Coventry.
In the days when postal trains ran across the whole network there was a short period for Crompton fans to obtain photographs at Hatton of the Gillingham to Preston vans. It ran during the late evening so was only photographable for a few weeks, and I didn't really take full advantage of the opportunities. Here, though, is 33044 climbing Hatton Bank on 4 August 1987. For some reason, I took the shot far too early and the resulting transparency has had to be heavily cropped which accounts in part for the less than ideal composition. The class 33 worked only as far as Birmingham New Street where its train would have been combined with one from the WCML and taken forward by an AC electric locomotive. By the following year, this train had been diverted from the Hatton line to run via Coventry.
I had another pop at 1M85 the following evening and as the train was late and the sun off the tracks by the bridge, took my shot from a little further up the cutting, which, in retrospect, was a very good move. Here is 33049 narrowly avoiding being obscured by an up MGR hauled by 58036. The light had pretty gone by this time and my notes tell me that I took the shot on Kodachrome 64 at camera settings of 1/125 @ f2.8.
At 21.32 precisely on 21 May 1988, 33029 leads 31469 past Leamington Spa with a Liverpool to Dover postal train. The 33 had previously worked up solo from Tonbridge in Kent with a train to Preston which an AC electric loco would have taken over at Coventry and then been attached to the front of the 31 as a convenient means to return it to the southern. The light was much worse than it looks on this picture which was taken at 1/125 at f2.8 on 400asa film but fortunately, the train having come off the Coventry branch was moving only slowly at this point so a slow shutter speed didn't matter too much.
Towards the end of their working life, class 33 became popular for railtour work and the next pictures show some of the workings around the Midlands. First, here are 33008+33026 on a 1Z33 Bristol to Carlisle charter crawling through Droitwich station before heading to Birmingham, Wolverhampton, Shrewsbury, Crewe and Carlisle on Sunday 30 July 1995 at 10.00 exactly. I seem to recall that 33035 was originally diagrammed for this tour but the loco suffered a fire a few days earlier. My original plan was to chase the train to somewhere on the Wellington line but it was a blisteringly hot day and the car I then drove had no climate control, so I didn't bother.
Next, we come to "The Honey Monster" a tour run on 29 July 1995 and which included runs both over the Fenny Compton to Kineton MOD line and the branch from Honeybourne to Long Marston. These locations were used for the storage of spare and withdrawn stock so were an attractive proposition for the enthusiast. The first shot shows 33019+33057 heading north through Radley station shortly after 8am. My non-climate controlled Ford Sapphire, long since sold, is visible in the car park!
After leaving the main line at Fenny Compton the tour joined the MOD line to Kineton and is seen here on the relatively new alignment made necessary by the building of the M40 extension. This line was, of course, part of the Stratford-upon-Avon & Midland Junction Railway. 47348 had been added to the rear of the train at Didcot and remained as assisting loco for the rest of the day. The height of the sun made for some rather harsh lighting so typical at this time of the year.
The next shot of this train to appear here shows the rear of the train departing from Long Marston on the rarely - used branch to Honeybourne from where it headed south along the Cotswold line. The 47 was leading at this point and its exhaust can clearly be seen at the front of the train. This picture had to be heavily cropped to remove the elbow of a fellow enthusiast from the left-hand side of the frame, such was the crush of bodies on this bridge.
After the train had left the Long Marston branch it reversed at Honeybourne and went South along the North Cotswold Line. I went to a road bridge near the site of Chipping Campden and stood in beautiful sunshine for several minutes until the barriers protecting a road in the background dropped and the Cromptons' exhaust note on Campden Bank became audible. Then a small cloud intervened and dropped the light levels by several stops. It wouldn't have been much of an issue in 2020 with good digital equipment in use but this was 1995 with less flexible 100asa slide film!
Class 33 locomotives were still working on the Woking trips in 1990 as shown here by 33008, now in plain grey, leaving Woking Yard on the morning of 4 May. I was a train from Basingstoke to London and saw this train ready to move so jumped off and moved to the end of the platform to get a shot while the locomotive was still clean and shiny. This engineering train was heading for Willesden and returned in the middle of the afternoon.645
Turning around from the shot above, this is the view looking towards Crayford. It was a great feeling to see a round yellow locomotive end coming into view in the far distance, usually about 4 minutes after a local unit. This pair, pictured on a slightly misty 3 May 1990, is 33006+33053 on 6Y77, the 10.50 Grain to Sevington loaded aggregate hoppers. These heavy trains really made the 33s work hard, and a good show of exhaust could be relied upon. 645
Although most class 33 hauled freights on the line through Crayford and Bexley had a pair of locomotives the Angerstein Wharf to Paddington New Yard generally had a single example. On 3 May 1990 palindromically-numbered 33033 was allocated and is seen here with its load of stone hoppers heading for the Western Region. 645
Wokingham in Berkshire did not see many freight trains in 1990, but one eminently photographable one, in the late Spring and Summer at least, was 6O60, the 17.48 Theale to Northfleet cement empties. This was a solid class 33 turn at this time although it did go over to class 60 haulage for a while before it's complete withdrawal. This image shows 33009+33029 joining the Clapham Junction line at 18.22 on 25 May 1990.
This picture was taken from the Reading Road bridge at Basingstoke on 8 August 1988 and shows 33110 leading a pair of 4TC units with 33118 also under power at the rear of the formation. I can't recall the details but think that there were 2 earlier workings from Waterloo to either Salisbury or Exeter and they were joined together for the return journey. I must have known about it advance and went there with this shot in mind even though it was a bit of a misty morning. Just a few minutes later 50004 leading 50009 passed by on the way to the carriage sidings. The speedometer on 50009 had failed and the train had had to be terminated at Basingstoke with passengers going forward on a class 442 EMU.
A railtour from Clapham Junction to Salisbury with diesel power ran on 23 July 1988 taken over from there by a steam locomotive. I was in Basingstoke for the weekend and walked over the playing field at Winklebury, just on the western outskirts on the town, for a shot of the diesel leg of the trip. I knew that class 33s were diagrammed but was pleased when the train turned up with 33008 + 33050 in charge of the maroon stock. The light was dreadful and Kodachrome wasn't up to the job but the unusual colour combination made it worth a try.
I took many photographs in the Basingstoke area in the late 1980s and often went to the footbridge just to the East of Worting Junction. On 26 September 1987 I was there in the afternoon when 33053 came along on the down manin line with a short set of ancient looking 4 wheel wagons. Although I was sometimes given a Special Traffic Notice during my visits I didn't have one of this occasion so have no idea from where this workingm originated although it would be a reasonable guess to assume that it was its way to Eastleigh for stabling or loading. 645
Another picture from the Worting Junction area, this time at Battledown, is this taken on 21 March 1988 showing 33057 + 33060 taking a new dual-voltage EMU to Eastleigh Works. Prominent in the scene is the chalk underlying the thin soil in this part of Hampshire; at least it was never muddy underfoot for walking along the public footpaths around here! 645
In 1990 there was little widely available information on train movements as there is some 30 years later so my visits to this part of the world were based on previous sightings and a large dose of hope and hopefully good luck! I had hoped to see this train, the morning Angerstein Wharf to Park Royal loaded stone hoppers, as it invariably had class 33 traction and I was trying to photograph as many of these movements as I could given the travelling I had to do to accomplish that aim. On 11 April 1990 33204 + 33056 were allocated to the train and they are seen here on the final part of their journey, having reversed direction the via the West Ealing to Greenford East junctions. I have very few pictures of 33204 but was lucky to have had a shot of it in the Down Goods Loop at Stratford-upon-Avon on 27 September 1984 when it brought the VSOE to the terminus.
One of the pictures I hoped to take at Park Royal on 11 April 1990 was a LUL train in the same frame as a main line freight service. Mission was accomplished when a train from Loughton was in just the right place as 33056 + 33204 came forward from the Park Royal Stone Terminal sidings with half its train which had had to be split to facilate unloading. The "half-train" was then propelled back to the terminal.
The final part of the story involving class 33s 33056 + 33204 at Park Royal in 11 April 1990 was when the unloaded train was joined up from the 2 parts necessary for unloading and moved forward past the Guinness siding to the crossover onto the down main line. Now running as 7O78 the formation had just received clearance from ground signal behind me to make this manoeuvre and was about to accelerate gently over the crossover.
Park Royal wasn't the location of the only stone terminal in this part of London. Another was to be found at Paddington New Yard and this was the destination of 33026 on 11 April 1990 with another train of sea-dredged aggregates loaded at Angerstein Wharf. I hadn't seen a class 33 in the all-over grey livery carried by 33026 before this and couldn't pretend to be too impressed as it ran past the footbridge near the Guinness brewery. The large white building is Amoco House, the headquarters of an international oil company. The LUL train would have been more welcome had it run a few seconds earlier and been alongside the stone hoppers!
I had a couple of hours on the afternoon of 30 March 1990 in the area around Kersington Olmpia and took this picture of 33056+33042 passing on a Park Royal to Angerstein Wharf train which earlier had conveyed sea-dredged aggregate to the terminal. At this time the platform alongside the train was not in use and Inter-City passenger trains had to cross over and use the platform upon which I am standing. The semaphore signals have long since disappeared and 3rd rail electrification is now in place and I doubt that the background is as clearly visible given the number of trees around.
Just down the road from Kensington Olympia is the Lillie Bridge depot of LUL. Various battery locomotives can be seen in the deopt as 33058 passes on the BR line with the daily Angerstein Wharf to Padington New Yard aggregate train on 30 July 1990. The extension to the building can be seen in progress at the back of the train and this is now Earls Court Exhibition Hall No.2. This uncredited picture from Wikipedia shows a more recent view from broadly the same spot on which I was standing some 29 years ago.
One of my favourite locations for photographing Cromptons in 1990 was Lee station, just around the corner from Hither Green. Empty aggregate and tunnel segment wagon trains had to traverse the very tight curve on Lee Spur Junction onto the Sidcup line and were therefore on full power once the end wagon had cleared the points. This gave some good audio entertainment and plenty of black smoke. This picture shows 33023+33006 heading east with the 6C66 10.02 Sevington to Cliffe Brent Marine empties on 25 May 1990. At this time, many of the stations on this line had received the full NSE treatment including red lamp posts, but Lee still had the old concrete standards which added to the atmosphere.
In 1989 there were at least two departmental workings from Woking Yard to various locations around London. It was not always possible to identify individual workings but the attraction at the time was that they were absolutely solid class 33 turns. Here is 33030 passing Chertsey with the afternoon return to Woking, but from where I don't know, in June 1989. In retrospect the framing of the original transparency was not quite right but I recall that the footbridge on which I was standing was a bit awkward and so some post-processing cropping and re-shaping was necessary.
The Fragonset black colour scheme suited class 33 well as is seen in this scanned transparency of 33202 leading 33108 + 3148 along with a couple of coaches as they descend Hatton Bank. I can't recall the working and the usual shambolic state of my notes means that I can't even find the date of the train. I found the 645 slide from which the scan is taken in a cupboard in my study and as it wasn't damaged thought it worth putting online. This wasn't my first shot of 33202 on Hatton Bank as this view of the Eden Serpent railtour, albeit heading North rather than South, from 8 November 1986 shows. 645
Although this picture and the one following show a class 73 leading a 33 I've put the images here because the point of the workings were to test the experimental bogies fitted to 33115 (83301). The shot shows the train standing in Basingstoke station on 1 May 1990 before it ran towards London, possibly Clapham Junction. The bogies under the Crompton were being tested for use on some Channel Tunnel vehicle although my notes (of course) don't give any more detail.
This picture shows the same train later in the same day, 1 May 1990, but this time at Winchfield. 2 stops further up the line from Basingstoke. I chose this location because it was a nice clear shot and was recognisable with the road bridge and wood in the background.
One of the most unusual moves to Long Marston took place on 19 November 2007. 33103 took long-withdrawn 56021 and 56011 with some barrier wagons, 5 coaches to provide brake force and 2 Megafret flats from Chaddesden to Long Marston as 6V33. The 56s, flats and coaches, apart from the intercity example and 4 ex-Wessex trains, had been taken from storage at Mantle Lane, Coalville the previous week. The locomotives were in a deplorable state after vandalism at Coalville, including graffiti and missing windows, looking barely fit to travel by rail. Here is the odd-looking consist passing Evesham signalbox about 30 minutes late.
Sod's Law operated as 6V33 arrived at Long Marston on 19 November 2007; the sun came out at exactly the wrong time and given the time of day shone straight down the line and into my lens. The only saving grace was that it was just high enough in the sky not to in the picture so avoiding a lot more lens flare than would otherwise have been the case. I thought it worthwhile to include this image in view of the exceptionally rare nature of the event.
On arriving at Long Marston to get another shot of 33103 with 6V33, I hoped that the sun would be behind clouds as at that time of day it shines directly down the line and into the camera lens for a train arriving from Honeybourne. Needless to say the sun came out just at the wrong time, hence the dodgy nature of my shot from the roadbridge shown above. Here is a closer-up view of the two 56s as they wait to gain entrance into Long Marston headed by 33101. To the best of my knowledge these are the first 56s to have used the branch from Honeybourne as the other example in the site came in by road. Class 33s aren't exactly commonplace either but have worked here on a railtour and on a few occasions in the 1960s on excursion traffic to Stratford-upon-Avon.
33103 was detached from the train and ran round the stock along No.2 road. In the meantime, 12082 took the 2 Megafret flats out of the way while the 56s and blue and grey stock were detached from the Intercity and Wessex-liveried stock. These 5 coaches were included in the train to provide brake force as the 56s and barriers were almost certainly incapable of providing any themselves. 33103 was then attached to the 5 coaches ready for the return trip.
While all the shunting was going on this rainbow appeared over the woods at the north side of the Long Marston site. So, there is no pot of gold at the end of a rainbow after all; just a Virgin Trains MkIII coach...
In the hope that the sun would stay out long enough to illuminate 33103 and its stock on the East Loop at Honeybourne, I made the 5 minute journey across country to the station. Unfortunately, dark clouds rolled in before the train arrived and the light dipped to almost impossibly poor levels. Just as I took this shot in the last vestiges of daylight, the heavens opened and I scurried away to the shelter of my car in the adjacent station car park. Just a couple of minutes passed before 33103 drew into the platform, picked up the men who had operated the ground frame, before heading off towards Evesham and Worcester. The dots visible over the hill in the background are not caused by dirt on my camera's sensor but are actually a flock of fieldfares, a member of the thrush family which comes to Great Britain from Scandinavia for the Autumn and Winter.
The continuing saga of WCRC's 57313 at Stratford-upon-Avon finished on Saturday 6 October 2018 when 33207 was sent from Southall to collect and take it to Carnforth. The schedule for 0Z51 appeared during the previous evening and whilst I sort of hoped that a 33 would be diagrammed for the novelty value of a class 33 at Stratford it didn't seem all that likely. An early morning posting confirmed the allocation and despite the pouring rain and cold wind I walked to the station for a shot or two. There was early running between Oxford and Hatton and I thought that with some smart working it could arrive before the 09.03 Stourbridge Junction via Dorridge service needed the single track between Bearley and Hatton West junctions. It wasn't to be so I had a chilly wait in the basic shelter on platform 2 until a horn announced 33207's presence just around the corner. The light was dire but considering the minimal effort needed to be here it was worth the walk.
The failed 57313 was stabled just beyond the end of platform 1 and had necessitated the closure of the platform to all traffic. It wasn't long before 33207 had coupled up to the class 57 but there were 2 local trains to arrive and depart before it was due to leave. Once the 10.03 to Stourbridge Junction had gone 0Z51 was moved along platform 1 under a yellow signal where the driver kindly paused for a few seconds to allow me to take some shots with bracketed exposures before pulling away. This final image shows the pair of locomotives heading for the crossover onto the up main line.
I am not certain about the identity of this train, pictured on the GWR main line at Acton on 19 July 1989. My best guess is that it is a rare working of the Halling to Greenford cement as the locos, 33023+33020 returned east light engines within a couple of hours. This shot nearly caused me serious injury at the very least. Behind me is a 6 lane inner ring road with a secure central barrier which, at the time had been rammed by a lorry leaving a small gap. I had been on the other side having just photographed 37888 climbing the bank with an oil train when I caught a glimpse of the 33s. There was no time to waste so I bolted across 6 lanes of traffic without incident only to come within a whisker of being collected by a motorcycle courier avoiding the traffic by riding on the pavement. This location is now completely changed with catenary for the Heathrow Express and various building developments.
In the late 1980s I had a few visits to the footbridge at West Ealing where a large variety of traffic, both passenger and freight, was to be seen. Class 33s were a daily sight but one of the more interesting train was this, the Angerstein Wharf to Paddington New Yard loaded aggregates. On 30 November 1989 33021 + 33047 were in charge which I pictured taking the junction round towards Castle Bar Park and Park Royal. 645
The failure of a steam locomotive provided the opportunity to get this shot. The train was an Alton to Stratford-upon-Avon charter on 31 July 2004 and is pictured here with the very welcome substitute motive power in the form of Fragonset cromptons, 33103+33202 shortly before arriving at their destination. The Fragonset livery is now extinct and the location for both this shot and the following one have changed almost beyond recognition due to the work involved in building a new Park & Ride station between the two bridges at Bishopton. 645
The return of the train shown above is seen here about to tackle the 1/75 gradient of Wilmcote bank. The sun was in and out but did just about manage to illuminate the locomotives. This leg of the journey attracted quite a lot of interest amongst local enthusiasts and there were in the region of a dozen photographers in this spot; fewer than there would have been if the diagrammed steam loco had been working, but still quite impressive. In 2016 this view is no longer possible as Stratford-upon-Parkway fills the gap between this bridge on which I am standing and the one in the background. 645
Another few scans of transparencies, this time from my Mamiya 645 and Fujichrome 100 film. In the late 1980s there were occasional movements of army personnel from Wool in Hampshire to Birmingham New Street. On at least 2 occasions the train was formed of a class 33/1 and TC stock. This was the case on 17 June 1989 when 33113 hauled two 4TC sets which I pictured about to enter Whitnash cutting on the approach to Leamington Spa. This view of the line is no longer available thanks to new fencing and unchecked undergrowth and even the shot of down trains from the occupation bridge is poor. The picture of up trains simply isn't worth the trip being no more than a short piece of line almost obscured by tall trees on either side with absolutely no clue to its location. 645
The return of the working shown above is seen here in Harbury Cutting with 33113 putting up a good show of exhaust as it nears the summit of the climb from Leamington Spa. On a previous occasion, the train caught me out as instead of running from New Street to Leamington Spa via Coventry as expected, it went back the way it had come, via Hatton, with the locomotive propelling the stock. I was not impressed waiting, as I was at Berkswell! This time, as the loco was leading, it has obviously come under the wires as far as Coventry before turning for Leamington. As with the Whitnash shot the view has changed almost beyond belief thanks to undergrowth and because of remedial works made necessary following a landslip which closed the line for several weeks in 2015.645
It has long been a tradition that locomotives coming to the end of their lives on the main line are used on railtours to parts of the network not normally visted by the class. 33116 + 33051 kept up this tradition in style when they were used on a tour to Scarborough, which ran via the then freight-only line through the site of Whitwell station. Here they are on Saturday 15 February 1997 having just exited Whitwell tunnel. The line going off to the left leads to Whitwell quarry, which used to be the source of stone to Witton, near Aston in Birmingham. Writing nearly 20 years later I can't imagine many (any?) circumstances under which I would bother to drive this far for a railway photograph. 645
It's not very often that I can be bothered to scan any from my collection of thousands of slides taken in the 1980s and 1990s but on occasions I do have a go at one or two. This is from a 35mm transparency taken at Basingstoke station on 10 September 1987 and shows 33010 leaving with an early afternoon Waterloo to Salisbury train. It's hard to believe that it's nearly 30 years since I was standing here with an Olympus OM1n photographing regular locomotive-hauled trains both from the main LSWR line and inter-regional expresses and freight from the line to Reading.
When I began to visit Basingstoke in 1987, class 33s were still very much in charge of the 2-hourly Waterloo to Salisbury services. Some trains were formed of 4TC stock hauled and propelled by push-pull fitted 33/1s and others utilised conventional hauled Mk 2 carriages. The latter is clearly in evidence here as 33017 sits in the station with the 14.10 from Waterloo as 47558 draws alongside with a down Poole service on 7 August 1987. Writing this in 2016 it seems hard to believe that there were so many locomotive-hauled trains on the network, most of which were comprehensively ignored by many enthusiasts because they were too commonplace to use a frame of film. If a blue class 47 were to hit the main line these days there would be "galleries" on any available bridge.
This photograph is dated 26 September 1987 and shows 33116 heading the down Bournemouth Belle near Worting Junction, Basingstoke. The train was timetabled and, from memory, ran every other Saturday, this run being the last of the 1987 season. This was, and presumably still is a busy location, and on an average day in the 1980s one could photograph representatives of classes 33, 37, 47, 50, 56 and 73 along with DEMUs and a variety of third-rail electric units.
A First Great Western power car, 43180, has been dumped in Worcester Shrub Hill's Long Siding for some weeks after, I think, a traction motor problem caused a seizure. A wheel skate was used to remove the car from its train awaiting a move to Old Oak Common for repair. The first part of the move finally took place on Thureday 22 May 2014 when WCRC's 33029 and a barrier wagon were sent from Southall to Worcester, via the North Cotswold Line, to collect the errant power car and take it to Long Marston where, presumably, it will be much easier for it to be transferred to a road vehicle for the final leg of its journey. The train from Worcester, 8Z21, was limited to 10mph on plain track and 5mph over points and crossings and therefore took quite a while to reach Honeybourne where it came into view about 15 minutes late at 17.42. There was a nasty-looking thunderstorm approaching the station when I arrived but it moved around to the south-west and some brightness was apparent when 33029 brought its short train onto the Long Marston branch. The wheel skate can just be made out in this linked image.
The time allowed for 33029 with 8Z21 to travel from Honeybourne to Long Marston wasn't much more than for any other train given the overall speed limit on the branch. I had time to drive round, park and walk over the public crossing to the field-side footpath before I heard the train coming round the curve from Broad Marston. The light wasn't nearly as bad as I had thought it would have been and a little patch of hazy sun appeared as the train ran into the only patch of track clear of vegetation. The locomotive and barrier coach left Long Marston for Southall a couple of hours later again running along the North Cotswold Line via Moreton in Marsh.
My final shot at Hatton North on 29 May 2013 was of 33029 hauling 57315 and a single coach from Southall to Tyseley. I rarely bother with shots of these very short formations but thought that the colour combination of the two locomotives was odd enough to make a picture worthwhile, even in the foul conditions that were prevailing at the time. The train, 5Z57, ran early as far as Oxford and I had hoped that it would get a good run and avoid being held in the several loops that were shown in the schedule. This wasn't to be and it ran exactly as booked. This sort of situation is exactly where the admirable Realtime Trains website proves invaluable. It also provided the incentive that I needed to acquire a new smartphone, my old BlackBerry not being able to cope with the amount of data I was requesting! The class 33 was dropped off at Tyseley with the 57 and coach continuing to Carnforth.
The first visit to Stratford-upon-Avon of the VSOE luxury train took place on 27 September 1984. The rostered locomotive was 33204 and this was, I think, the first visit of a slimline class 33 to the town. The inward working is here seen about to pass under the roadbridge at Bishopton long before the fixed upper quadrant distant signal was replaced with a colour light further up the line and the bypas bridge, now so prominent in the background, was built. The quality of this and following two images is not good, being scanned from colour prints but I had run out of transparency film and didn't have time to go into town to buy a replacement so had to make do with what I had at home. The rarity of the working and elapsed time just about makes the images good enough to appear here.
Once the VSOE had passed me at Bishopton I legged it down to the station at Stratford, arriving just in time to obtain this picture of it in the down goods loop. The train had been propelled from the arrival platform and the locomotive was about to be detached, run down the main line to the points to the north of the signalbox and back into the loop before propelling the coaches back into platform one before the whole departed as empty stock.
As soon as the shunting moves had been completed, 33204 took the empty stock of the VSOE out of platform 1 at Stratford-upon-Avon and off to Tyseley for servicing. The train came back later in the day but the final departure for London Victoria was too late in the very poor light on 27 September 1984 to obtain a decent photograph.
On Wednesday 15 October 2008 the steam locomotive 30777 Sir Lamiel was due to visit Stratford-upon-Avon from London Victoria. To assist with shunting the stock and to bank the returning train out of the station, WCRC 33025 was sent light engine down the North Warwickshire Line, being due to arrive about 30 minutes before the main train. It won't be too long before the mechanical signalling and associated signal boxes along this route are removed so I thought a walk to one of the several footpaths crossing the line between Bearley Junction and Wilmcote might be a good idea so that I could update my photographic collection, not having been along there for years. 33025 appeared on time, following a class 150 DMU from Stourbridge Junction and is here seen seen accelerating away from a long-standing temporary speed restriction across the junction at Bearley. The loose-looking support wire for the bracket signal, appearing above the locomotive, doesn't seem to be performing any useful function!
During 1988 it was becoming rarer to find a 33/0 on passenger duties unless a class 50 failed on the Waterloo to Exeter circuit and nothing else was available. However, on 4 April of that year there was an additional train scheduled to run from Salisbury to London and 33012 was provided. I was, quite by chance, at Salisbury when the ECS arrived and was pleased to get this shot of it standing in platform 3. 645
I very rarely bother to go out and photograph charters these days as they hold little interest for me and I dislike the frenetic activity of some other photographers who arrive at the last moment, barge their way into the gallery and then disappear in order to charge off to the next vantage point near the motorway; usually obtaining poor quality rushed shots. However, I have always had a soft spot for class 33 and the combination of a pair of WCRC liveried examples and a sunny morning on Saturday 23 August 2008 saw me heading towards Ashchurch for this shot of 33207 + 33025 on a 1Z33 Crewe to Weymouth railtour. The narrower body of 33207 is easily seen in this view, as is the crew member in the cab of 33025. I don't know the reason for this unless he was operating the ETH controls if those in 33207 were not working correctly. The footbridge at Northway wasn't my first choice of location but my favoured spot was still heavily shadowed at 08.30 so there wasn't a lot of choice without driving further and I wasn't that interested.
New   I very much liked the now mothballed line from Bicester (London Road) to Bletchley and had quite a few trips over there for the regular stone and fertiliser traffic. A more unusual working in the area on Saturday 12 November 1988 was a tour by the Southern Electric Group to the Thame and Chinnor branches using 33114 and an 8TC set, which is here seen just north of the site of Swanbourne station. It was not easy to find a good location on this sunny day, but this spot does a flavour of the rurality of the area. The line is a candidate for re-opening, and while this is of course welcome, I fear that it won't feel the same as it did in 1988...
New   This shot should have been the best colour image of the day as 33114 approached Quainton Road station on the Calvert to Aylesbury line with an SEG tour to Thame and Chinnor on 12 November 1988. However, things don't go to plan and thanks to a malfunctioning cable release attached to my Olympus OM1, this black and white photograph was all I obtained, and I took that too soon meaning that the picture has had to heavily cropped with a resulting loss of quality.
New   The branch from Princes Risborough to Thame, formerly a through line to Oxford, had been retained to serve the oil terminal. Passenger trains were exceptionally rare and the sight of an 8TC propelled by 33114 was unique and predictably attracted a lot of enthusiast attention. I did take some shots on the Chinnor branch but the light had deteriorated to such an extent by the time the train reached there, that they are not of high enough quality to show here.
Cotswold Rail's newly painted 33202 was booked to work from Bristol Temple Meads to Brush at Loughborough to collect a refurbished HST power car on Friday 7 September. I am not keen on photographing light engine movements but when I looked at the schedule for 0Z45 there was a 20 minute break at Gloucester and hoped that this would mean that a couple of barriers would be picked up despite the fact that the headcode was not being changed to a class 5. There was a problem with the locomotive just outside Bristol and it took nearly an hour to reach Parkway station. The stop at Gloucester was either missed out or curtailed and some time was made up before my photograph was taken at Stoke Prior. There was more trouble in store for 33202 and it apparently caught fire at Loughborough so the southbound move obviously did not take place.
I had another pop at 1M85 the following evening and as the train was late and the sun off the tracks by the bridge, took my shot from a little further up the cutting, which, in retrospect, was a very good move. Here is 33049 narrowly avoiding being obscured by an up MGR hauled by 58036. The light had pretty gone by this time and my notes tell me that I took the shot on Kodachrome 64 at camera settings of 1/125 @ f2.8.
This picture is dated 17 May 1988 and was only a few days after the introduction of the class 442 EMUs to the Waterloo to Weymouth route. Here is an unidentified 33/1 hauling an equally unidentified casss 442 to Bournemouth. The unit had not failed but was being delivered to the depot for final acceptance trials. The train is pictured charging along the down fast line through Winchfield station.
In the days before short multiple-unit trains were considered sufficient for such services as Cardiff to Crewe, a class 33 with 5 or 6 coaches was the regular and comfortable formation. I had a trip to Newport with a friend, courtesy of the famous Persil ticket promotion under which two passengers travelled for the price of one and photographed 33005 leaving the station en-route to Crewe on 11 April 1985.
Class 33s have never been commonplace on the Cotswold line (Worcester to Oxford), although they did sometimes work oil trains along there in the 1960s. For a fan both of the line and Cromptons, the chance to bag a baggy was too good to miss. 33116 was booked to work an 8TC set from Waterloo to Worcester and Kidderminster on 14 August 1993. I photographed the outward run near Pershore and chose this spot near Chipping Campden for the return, which the train passed at 19.43. I hope the balloonists were as impressed with the sight of a 33 along this line as I was!
Here is a picture at Lower Moor of the outward working of 33116, the return of which is shown above. It's a shame that the locomotive was in the rather drab grey infrastructure livery, especially on an equally grey day. Having said that, I suppose it's good to record as many colour varieties as possible. Some 14 years later there is the prospect of regular working of of a Crompton along this stretch of line as Cotswold Rail have bought a former FMR example which will almost certainly appear on a Long Marston run before too long.
This picture, taken on 28 September 1990, shows Construction Sector liveried 33033+33063 passing between Bexley and Crayford with empties from the tunnel site - the loaded train would have grossed around 2000 tonnes of concrete tunnel lining segments. This peaceful looking scene is deceptive. Immediately behind the camera is the 6 lane A2 trunk road. There is, fortunately, a public footpath with substantial protection from the traffic!
The next shot was taken a few minutes on the other side of the A2, which is well-hidden from sight, if not sound by the row of trees. This train is a Purley - Cliffe Brett Marine empty hopper working - the loaded train being used to take excavated material from the tunnel construction site to be used for road building. The pair of blue locos is 33006+33023.
Turning around from the shot above, this is the view looking towards Crayford. It was a great feeling to see a round yellow locomotive end coming into view in the far distance, usually about 4 minutes after a local unit. This pair, pictured on a slightly misty 3 May 1990, is 33006+33053 on 6Y77, the 10.50 Grain to Sevington loaded aggregate hoppers. These heavy trains really made the 33s work hard, and a good show of exhaust could be relied upon. 645
On 13 April 1995 an unusual stock move was planned, taking a 4TC set from Derby to Ayr for a filming contract. As it was going to be necessary for the stock to be propelled, class 33/1s were diagrammed for the job - 33109+33116 being the locos selected, not that there was a lot of choice! The train originally was scheduled to leave Derby at around 12.30 but delay after delay ocurred and it finally departed at 16.30. Luckily it was a beautiful day and steel traffic was still running to Etruria at this time so it wasn't too much of a chore to hang around in the pleasant spring sunshine on the footbridge just beyond Tutbury and Hatton station. By the time the train appeared, the sun was well round onto the front and made for a much better picture than would have been likely if the original departure time had been used. 645
June 1985 saw the main line through Crewe completely closed while the entire station area's layout was remodelled. There obviously was major disruption and Stafford become the terminus for North Wales trains. Here, 33013 is seen waiting at platform 6 with a Stafford to Bangor service. 33s have never been exactly commonplace in Staffordshire hence the inclusion of this image.
Towards the end of their working life, class 33 became popular for railtour work and the next pictures show some of the workings around the Midlands. First, here are 33008+33026 on a 1Z33 Bristol to Carlisle charter crawling through Droitwich station before heading to Birmingham, Wolverhampton, Shrewsbury, Crewe and Carlisle on Sunday 30 July 1995 at 10.00 exactly. I seem to recall that 33035 was originally diagrammed for this tour but the loco suffered a fire a few days earlier. My original plan was to chase the train to somewhere on the Wellington line but it was a blisteringly hot day and the car I then drove had no climate control, so I didn't bother.
Next, we come to "The Honey Monster" a tour run on 29 July 1995 and which included runs both over the Fenny Compton to Kineton MOD line and the branch from Honeybourne to Long Marston. These locations were used for the storage of spare and withdrawn stock so were an attractive proposition for the enthusiast. The first shot shows 33019+33057 heading north through Radley station shortly after 8am. My non-climate controlled Ford Sapphire, long since sold, is visible in the car park!
After leaving the main line at Fenny Compton the tour joined the MOD's line to Kineton and is seen here on the relatively new alignment made necessary by the building of the M40 extension. This line was, of course, part of the Stratford-upon-Avon & Midland Junction Railway. 47348 had been added to the rear of the train at Didcot and remained as assisting loco for the rest of the day. The height of the sun made for some rather harsh lighting so typical at this time of the year.
The last shot of this train to appear here shows the rear of the train departing from Long Marston on the rarely - used branch to Honeybourne from where it headed south along the Cotswold line. The 47 was leading at this point and its exhaust can clearly be seen at the front of the train. This picture had to be heavily cropped to remove the elbow of a fellow enthusiast from the left-hand side of the frame, such was the crush of bodies on this bridge.
A pair of Class 33s covered some rare track for the class on 28 January 1995 when 33025+33116 ran over the Lichfield to Wychnor Junction freight line. It was not easy to get a shot at this location as few trains used the up line, other than on occasions when Cross Country services were diverted due to engineering work between Wychnor and Birmingham. Loaded coal trains to Rugeley Power Station went along the down line but the returning empties almost always ran via Bloxwich and Walsall. This train was 1Z27 Swindon to Liverpool Lime Street organised by Pathfinder Tours and given the name "The Gladstone Bag". 47777 took the train from Swindon to Bristol Temple Meads from where this pair of locomotives took over.
Sunday 21 August 1994 was the date of a major open day at Crewe. Hertfordshire Railtours ran a special train to the event, 1Z27 "The Cheshire Cat" which utilised 33203+33116. I decided to photograph at Tamworth Low-Level expecting it to be routed on the down fast line. In the event, Pathfinder's train to the open day overtook 1Z27 at Tamworth which had to be looped into the platform line. The full story is in my Class 37 section. The Cromptons are seen leaving the station - not the shot I really wanted but this was all that was available.
The outward working of the train seen above from Woking to London is seen here passing Staines on 27 September 1990 behind 33009. There were sometimes 2 similar trains in the morning along here, together with a Southampton to Ripple Lane freightliner.
The Chessington Branch by this time had only 1 freight working, the Newhaven to Tolworth gravel train. The coal trains to Chessington CCD had ceased by this time. The return empties of the Newhaven train were booked to leave the yard at 13.04 and 33020 is seen here precisely on time on 30 March 1990 crossing onto the up line towards London.
33114 was a bit of a rare bird at this time but did manage to put in at least one appearance as a 50 replacement on 27 December 1990. It is seen here leaving Woking with the 12.15 Waterloo to Salisbury train.
One of the most colourful trains over the Christmas holiday 1990 was this - 33118 + NSE 4TC stock forming the 12.15 Waterloo to Salisbury. It is pictured at Battledown, a few miles west of Basingstoke.
A few hundred yards to the east of the previous picture is the footbridge over the line at Worting. This has been a popular location for railway enthusiasts for decades and I was a very regular visitor between 1987 and 1991. This picture shows 33043 heading west on 14 September 1989 with a trains of large ballast hoppers heading for Eastleigh.