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British Railways BRCW Type 3 "KA-2B" No. D6570
"Crompton", later Class 33/0 No. 33052

D6570 'Ashford' at Tenterden - Derek Hayward - 30 August 2000

D6570 'Ashford' at Tenterden - Derek Hayward, 30 August 2000

Always associated with the Southern Region, this is an appropriate class for the Bluebell, having been used for many years on commuter trains from East Grinstead. The class had their origins in the Kent Coast electrification scheme, planned as part of the 1955 Modernisation Plan, and were intended for those freight, van and newspaper trains for which electric locomotives could not be used, and for engineering work when the traction current was turned off.

33052 'Ashford' at Dormans during electrification work - Tom Bowes - June 1987
Left: Very much a local engine, Tom Bowes took this photo of 33052 'Ashford' at Dormans during electrification work on the East Grinstead line in June 1987.

A decision in October 1956 that the locomotives would be required to deliver train heating caused the requirement to be lifted from a Type 2 to Type 3, and tender documents for 45 locomotives went out in February 1957. Birmingham Railway Carriage & Wagon (with Sulzer engines and Crompton-Parkinson electrical equipment) was the chosen option, with deliveries expected to start in April 1959, with the first locomotives required in service by June. However, delays in placing the order (A354, for Nos. D6500-44) and agreeing all the technical details led to a delay to the initial delivery date, which had a potential knock-on to the delivery of Phase 1 of the Kent Coast electrification.

33052 'Ashford' at Waterloo - Jon Biglowe - 14 May 1988
The Southern Region were keen to press on with a follow-on order for a further 20 locomotives, which was authorised in November 1958 (order A556, for Nos. D6545-64), and a third batch of 33 (including 12 to Hastings gauge, made possible by the use of the Sulzer engine with its in-line cylinders). Whilst the 12 for the Hastings line were confirmed, plans for increased use of electro-diesel locomotives which could release 39 Type 3s for use on cross-London and Southampton freights, as well as passenger services West of Exeter and Salisbury, caused the order for the remaining 21 to be placed on hold. However, the total requirement for such locomotives on the Southern Region exceeded those being released from Kent, and in any case sufficient electro-diesels would not be available in time for phase 2 of the Kent electrification, so the remaining 21 locomotives (which included D6570) were also authorised.

Delivery of the third batch (order A823), started with D6565 on 18 August 1961, and the batch was expected to be completed before Christmas, but it was 12 January 1962 before delivery of the 21 (Nos. D6565-85) was complete, and the Hastings Gauge locos could follow on (Nos. D6586-97), accumulating further slight delays. These narrow-bodied locomotives, nicknamed "Slim Jims", became sub-class 33/2 under TOPS (Total Operations Processing System).

33052, stabled at Hither Green Depot - 11 March 1990 - Ian Cuthbertson collection
Above: 33052 'Ashford' at Waterloo (Jon Biglowe, 14 May 1988)
Left: 33052, stabled at Hither Green Depot on 11 March 1990 (Ian Cuthbertson collection)

The locomotives released from Kent started to move onto the Central and South Western divisions in the spring of 1962, with greater using being made from 1963. From 6 May 1963 the locomotives started to be used on Oxted line services (London to East Grinstead and Tunbridge Wells West), with 19 of the class employed on these services by that July. A total requirement for 41 locomotives was identified on the central division, and by January 1964 36 (plus an allocation under maintenance) were available, enabling steam to be eliminated from all the lines which were not slated for closure (although the locomotives were occasionally to be found also running on the Three Bridges-East Grinstead line).

The "Golden Arrow" Pullman train at this time was generally electrically hauled, but on occasions a Type 3 was to be found at its head, including on 14 January 1964 when D6524 was in charge of the Down service. Similarly, they occasionally stepped in on the "Night Ferry" sleeper train to Dover, and the Bournemouth Belle.

The Bournemouth Electrification scheme saw 19 of the standard locomotives equipped for Push-pull working to extend through services to Weymouth. These were classified KB and later 33/1, and because of the addition of high-level hose connections, nicknamed "Bagpipes".

The close association of Class 33s with the East Grinstead line continued for two decades, as they were still working peak-hours East Grinstead - London Bridge trains in the 1980s.


BRBR 1962BR(S) originalWith reliability modsWith slow speed controlPush-pull fittedBR(S) laterTOPS
"Slim Jims"D15/215/6AKA-1AKA-3CKA-4CKC33/2

33052 'Ashford' at Stewarts Lane Depot - David Burrell - 9 April 1989 33052 'Ashford' with 33008 'Eastleigh' on display at the 1994 Exeter Rail Fair - Steven Clements - 1 May 1994

Left: Class 33/0 33052 'Ashford' at Stewarts Lane Depot (David Burrell, 9 April 1989)
Right: 33052 'Ashford' with 33008 'Eastleigh' on display at Exeter Rail Fair (Steven Clements, 1 May 1994)


History of D6570

DateEventLocation / Notes
Sept 1961AllocatedHither Green
Oct 1961To traffic
Feb 1974Re-numbered6570 to 33052
15 May 1980named 'Ashford'by the Mayor of Ashford, H. E. Apps
Jan 1984OverhaulEastleigh Works
Nov 1985Re-allocatedStewarts Lane
Feb 1997WithdrawnStewarts Lane
Mar 1997SoldKent & East Sussex Railway (D6570 Ashford Group)
Jun 2021SoldB350 Ltd
2 Jul 2021MovedBluebell Railway

This short history of D6570 is based on, and with thanks to, Jon Boglowe and his Class 33 Crompton web site.

D6570 'Ashford' at Rolvenden - Jon Biglowe - 9 August 1998 D6570 'Ashford' at Tenterden - Derek Hayward - 19 September 2006

Left: D6570 'Ashford' at Rolvenden (Jon Biglowe, 9 August 1998)
Right: After receiving yellow ends, at Tenterden (Derek Hayward, 19 September 2006)

The locomotive's move to the Bluebell Railway was announced on 29 June 2021 - see pdf document with full information/news release here. It is owned by the same group of Bluebell Locomotive Department members who own and maintain shunter D4106 (09018), and will be hired for use on the Bluebell on an as-required basis.

On arrival at the Bluebell Railway, it did not enter service immediately, however the new owners are implementing a re-commissioning programme to ensure the locomotive is reliable before being available for service and at the same time undertake a number of bodywork and roofing repairs to make the loco weathertight.

D6570 'Ashford' at Tenterden - Jonathan Horrocks - April 2000

D6570 'Ashford' at Tenterden (Jonathan Horrocks, April 2000)

33052 at Ashford Open Day - Jonathan Horrocks - 6 June 1992
Class introduced: 30 January 1960
Built: 1961 - BRCW, Smethwick - Works No. DEL174
Wheel Arrangement: Bo-Bo
Driving Wheel: 3 ft. 7 in.
Length: 50 ft. 9 in.
Weight: 37.8 tons
Fuel Capacity: 800 gals.
Engine: 8 cylinders, Sulzer 8LDA28
Power: 1,550 hp at 750 rpm
Electrical equipment: Crompton-Parkinson
Traction motors: Four: CP 171A1, 305 hp continuous rating
Tractive effort: 45,000 lb.
Continuous tractive effort: 26,000 lb. at 17.5 mph
Maximum speed: 85 mph
Locomotive brake: Air
Train brakes: Dual (air and vacuum)
Route Availability: 6 (9 ft. 3 in. wide)

Token exchange at Tenterden - Jonathan Horrocks - April 2000
Current Number: D6570
Other Number carried: 33052
In stock: 30 September 1961
Withdrawn: 13 February 1997
Perserved: Kent & East Sussex Railway, March 1997
Arrived on Bluebell Railway: 2 July 2021
Current status: undergoing overhaul
Owner: B350 Ltd.

Further Reading: The Class 33s - A Sixty-year History, Simon Lilley, Crécy Publishing, 2020.

Above: 33052 at Ashford Open Day on 6 June 1992, and a token exchange at Tenterden, April 2000 (both photos: Jonathan Horrocks)
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