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British Railways BRCW Type 3 (later Class 33/1)
Diesel-Electric Main-Line Locomotive No.33103


33013 at East Grinstead - 19 March 2013 - Martin Lawrence
33103 "Swordfish" is on hire to the Bluebell Railway from Nemesis Rail for engineering work associated with the extension. It is not normally planned to be used on passenger trains on the Bluebell. The loco is seen here (No.2 cab leading) with an engineer's train at East Grinstead on 19th. March 2013. It is fitted with the outer sections of a mini-snowplough. (Martin Lawrence)

33103 started life as D6514, which was one of 45 similar locomotives ordered from the Birmingham Railway Carriage and Wagon Company in December 1957 and was taken into BR(SR) stock on 2nd. July 1960. Three further orders were placed with BRCW including one for a batch of a narrow-bodied variant for working between Tonbridge and Battle. These locomotives were built to the Southern Region's requirements, with the Kent Coast Electrification and the ultimate elimination of steam traction in mind.

The specifications included having a wide route availability, the ability to work vacuum & air-braked rolling stock, to haul 700 ton freight trains on ruling gradients of 1 in 70, to haul 375 ton passenger & van trains over electrified and non-electrified routes, to provide electric train heating, to haul electric multiple unit stock at normal speeds over all routes in times of emergency and with a maximum service speed of 85mph.

The locos were fitted with a Sulzer-designed 8-cylinder diesel engine with cylinders of 28 cm diameter and an output of 1550 bhp. These were built by Vickers-Armstrong of Barrow-in-Furness. Traction motors and other heavy electrical equipment were supplied by Crompton-Parkinson with some of the control equipment coming from Brighton company, Allen-West. Braking equipment was supplied by Davies and Metcalfe.

Each cab has two driving positions with mechanically-linked power, reversing and train brake handles on the desk. Each driving position is also equipped with a loco straight air brake handles.

D6514 was initially allocated to Hither Green shed, half of which had been specially converted to maintain diesel locomotives. It was later transferred to Eastleigh, where a new diesel maintenance shed had been built.

33013 at Horsted Keynes - 26 June 2013 - Martin Lawrence

BR blue 33103 with authentic BR blue (Bluebell Railway) driver at Horsted Keynes while working spoil trains on 26th. June 2013. (Martin Lawrence)

At the time of the Bournemouth Line Electrification in 1967, the cost of extending the third rail supply to Weymouth could not be justified. The main service was therefore worked by TC trailer multiple units, which were hauled or propelled by 4Rep tractor units with catering facilities between Waterloo and Bournemouth, with push-pull fitted BRCW Type 3s taking over for the journey on to Weymouth. D6514 was one of 19 locos converted at Eastleigh Works for this purpose during 1967. The modifications included fitting buckeye couplers, centre buffers, high level air pipes and EMU electrical jumpers/sockets and remote control of the engine functions.

After steam ended, the locos started losing the "D" prefix to their numbers. 6514 was renumbered 33103 in early 1974.

The line to Weymouth was finally electrified in 1988 and the service was worked by new class 442 units utilising equipment recovered from the withdrawn 4Rep tractor units. 33103 was then mainly used to haul BR engineers' trains and was repainted in "Dutch" grey and yellow livery.

After privatisation, its ownership passed to EWSR (English, Welsh and Scottish Railways), a subsidiary of US-based Wisconsin Rail. After a period of storage, 33103 was offered for sale by EWSR in February 1997. It passed into the hands of Fragonset Rail who returned it to main-line use in 2002 and named the loco "Swordfish" (after the WW2 Fleet Air Arm biplane torpedo-bomber). Following the demise of Fragonset, the loco passed into the hands of Nemesis Rail, who repainted it into BR blue and recently hired it to the Bluebell Railway, 33103 arriving by road at Sheffield Park on 11th February 2013.

Although hired principally for hauling engineer's trains in connection with Bluebell's Northern Extension to East Grinstead, 33103 has worked a number of passenger trains.


Class: BRCW Type 3, later Class 33/1
Wheels: Bo-Bo
Purpose: Mixed traffic main-line working
Class introduced: December 1959
Number Built: 98 (including 12 of the narrow-bodied variant)
Built: July 1960 by Birmingham Railway Carriage and Wagon Company, Smethwick, Staffs.
Numbers: D6514, 6514, 33103
Works Number: DEL106
Arrived on Bluebell Railway: 11th. February 2013
Current status: Seviceable
Length: 50 ft 9 in (15.5 m)
Weight: 76 tons
Driving Wheels: 3ft 7in diameter
Maximum speed: 85 mph (137 km/h)
Engine: Sulzer 8LDA28A
Power output: engine 1,550 bhp (1,156 kW)
 at rail: 1,215 hp (906 kW)
Tractive effort: maximum 45,000 lbf (200 kN)
 continuous: 26,000 lbf (116 kN)

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