33021 is one of the first batch of Birmingham Railway Carriage
& Wagon (BRCW) built Type 3s ordered in late 1957 and built in the Smethwick
area of Birmingham. There were 98 class 33s delivered from Jan 1960 through to
The class 33 fleet was built as 86 standard locomotives and 12 narrow
bodied locomotives. 20 of the standard locomotives were later modified for push
– pull operation.
As TOPS numbering was introduced, original locomotives were
classified as 33/0, push-pull as 33/1 and narrow bodied as
The class 33 has been an exceptionally versatile locomotive; it
was the first locomotive type to have electric train heat equipment from new. It
is dual braked and can be driven from either drivers or second man’s position
and has blue star multiple working capability with other compatible
It remains versatile and popular on preserved railways across
the UK and a few remain in use on the main line with West Coast
The locomotive has a maximum speed of 85mph, is fitted with a
Sulzer 8LDA28A engine with an output of 1,550hp (1,215hp at rail) with a
tractive effort of 45,000lb, it weighs 77 tonnes and has a Bo-Bo wheel
30 of the 98 class 33 locomotives still exist in various
conditions (18 are 33/0, 8 are 33/1 and 4 are 33/2).
D6359’s early years appear to be as part of a common pool of
mixed traffic engines based across the Southern region allocated to either
Hither Green or Eastleigh. Whilst based on the Southern region they found
regular work into the Western Region and also frequently into the West Midlands
bringing oil from the Fawley refinery. By the 1980s Class 33s were found on much
more widespread services including the Crewe – Cardiff services and were often
hauling the VSOE Pullman train.
33021 found work in the Trainload Freight Sector of British Rail
as many of the class were being stored and withdrawn and worked on channel
tunnel building works, including hauling with classmate 33051 the 1000th train
of tunnel lining segments. It became a Mainline Freight locomotive at
33021 was withdrawn and purchased privately by owners who
overhauled it and returned it once again to the mainline in a Post Office Red
livery based out of Tyseley and named ‘Eastleigh’. It was managed by Fragonset
Railways and subsequently it gained their Black livery. During this period of
mainline operation it gained an enthusiast following as it worked national
charters, special services and moving new Desiro EMUs to the Southern Region
test areas. It was withdrawn from the Fragonset active fleet and stored pending
33021 was then owned privately and arrived at Tyseley Central
Trains Depot awaiting its turn for renovation, during this time it suffered from
water ingress and lack of use.
33021 was sold again in December 2009 and moved ‘across the fence’
to Tyseley Locomotive Works where restoration and renovation work has been
taking place cumulating in its first operation for over six years in September
2010 at a Gala to celebrate 50 years of the class at the Battlefield Line were
33021 was re-united with four of its classmates.
33021 then moved to support Moorland and City Railway with crew training and
the opening specials on the new extension to the Churnet Valley Railway in late 2010.
The locomotive has then been hard at work at the Churnet Valley Railway in Staffordshire
since then proving a useful if not critical member of the fleet.
During most of 2011 33021 has been the sole mainline diesel operating the railway whilst
sister locomotive 33102 receives a major overhaul (due completion mid-2012).
A combination of circumstances left the CVR without steam in early 2012 and 33021
has kept loco-hauled passenger services running on both the Churnet Valley Railway and
Cauldon Low branch.
Work is now continuing on the locomotive to improve it further,
in both operation and appearance.
Liveries:- D6539 / 33021 was delivered in a standard all over green livery,
Repainted green with yellow warning panels in 1964,
Repainted BR Blue in 1968,
Repainted into Trainload Freight – Construction 1988,
then by 1994 plain triple grey livery, 1995 Mainline Freight Grey livery,
It then had a unique Post Office Red applied in 1997,
Fragonset’s Black livery in 2002,
Then re-painted into BR Blue in October 2010
33021 has recently had body repair work and is now currently in
BR blue as an interim to protect it from the elements.
The locomotive 33021 is representative of one of the last
mainline locomotives designed and built in Birmingham (as the BRCW announced its
closure in late 1962 after its ‘Lion’ prototype locomotive was
33021 was repainted into its modified blue 'bandit' livery whilst at Cheddleton a livery carried by classmate 33012
33021 returned to post office red and regained Eastleigh nameplates at Cheddleton in late 2019