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January 28, 1998

I've just found out that as of this Friday (30/1/98), 33208 will be working the 1632 Cardiff - Rhymney and 1742 return. This is to allow the Crompton to run light engine to London for a railtour (Leatherhead - Poole) steamex on Saturday.

Apparently the Crompton will be working the train solo from Southampton to Poole >and back. (No timings to hand yet!).

The Crompton should also do the 1632 (C-R) and 1742 (R-C) the following Friday (6/2/98) and it will then be going to Portsmouth for another steamex from Pompey to Nottingham. 33208 will work Portsmouth to Guildford and then Nottingham to Portsmouth.

From Friday 13/2/98 the Crompton should also work the 1911 Cardiff -Rhymney. N.B. The Crompton will only do the 1632 turn on a FRIDAY and will be on the 1704 on Mon-Thurs. (Dave Fry)

January 7, 1998

Looks like 33208 is working Welsh valley lines for 6 weeks with 4 Mk 2s from sometime very soon - hellfire! Due to move on Thursday light engine, 0928 Alton-Cardiff, via Ascot, Reading, GWML. After the 6 weeks, the Hastings unit should take over.

December 17, 1997

The 'mystery' purchaser of Class 33 No. 33008 Eastleigh is named by Rail magazine as Harry Needle. This brings his 'Crompton' tally to eight. His admission comes with news that an engineer's survey on No. 33008, so long considered a write-off, suggests it is restorable to working order for main line or preserved use.
The privately-owned Class 33s total 27, more than a quarter of the original class. It could reach 38 if all the EWS survivors are bought and someone steps in for long withdrawn Nos. 33018 and 33038. (Rail)

The long delayed transfer of Push-Pull Class 33 No. 33108 to the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Steam Railway was due to take place on December 15 in time for a hoped-for service debut at the Christmas diesel event.
If possible, it take the place of Class 47 No. 47105 in the Monday December 29 line up. (Rail)

December 3, 1997

Main line tours - and a new livery - beckon for push-pull Class 33/1 No. D6514 early in the New Year. The 'Crompton/Bagpipe', formerly No. 33103, has returned to the Birmingham Railway Museum for the completion of repairs after a summer visit to the Llangollen Railway. The reinstatement of its electric train heat equipment should be complete by the end og the month, after which Resco Railways will make the inspection for a main line certificate. The owning West Mid-Wales Locomotive Groupis not looking to lease out the locomotive to any train operating company, and instead sees its future on the occasional railtour. They would ideally originate from the West Midlands.

November 17, 1997

John Joyce has heard that one of the directors of Llangollen Railway plc have bought a '33' and 4TC with the intention of running it mainline. No further details have come his way except that it isn't connected in any way with Llangollen Railway. It rumoured that the outline plan for the 33+4TC is to get it certified and then run it along the Cambrian lines during the summer.  Whether anything will come of this remains to be seen but it's a private venture rather than anything to do with the railway.

November 6, 1997

Mid Hants plans steam and diesel double-header main line railtour.

The first ever main line railtour to be hauled by preserved steam and diesel locomotives working in tandem is set to go ahead on Saturday November 22.

Class 33 'Crompton' D6593 owned by the 71A Group and based at Ropley on the Mid-Hants Railway was certificated for main line operation on October 13 by the Vehicle Acceptance Body Resco. It is earmarked to be piloted by the MHR's Maunsell 'U' Class 2-6-0 No 31625 between
Guildford and Tyseley in the Days Out Ltd 'Pines Express' excursion on November 22.

Provisionally it is planned to detach the 'U' for servicing at Birmingham Railway Museum, with the two-tone green-liveried D6593 taking the special on to Crewe, and returning again to Tyseley (via Stafford and Walsall) as 'banker' to Stanier 'Black 5' No 44767 George Stephenson.

The two steam locomotives are expected to double-head the train from Tyseley back to Guildford and on to MHR metals with D6593 attached at the rear.

The LMS 4-6-0 is to be based at the MHR throughout the winter, but may run two further mainline charters from Ropley before its seven year main line certificate expires in March 1998.

October 25, 1997

The West Somerset Railway held a diesel gala with the highlight being the use of Class 33 'Crompton' No. 33048 for the first time in preservation. It made successful trial runs over the weekend of October 18/19, with a 250-tonne test load comprising locomotives No.'s D1010 Western Campaigner, D7017 and D7523 John F. Kennedy. (Rail)

October 18/19, 1997

The Mid-Hants Railway's Class 33/2 completed 94 miles successful running as preparation for its main line railtour outing to Crewe. (Rail)

September 24, 1997

Red-liveried 'Crompton' No. 33021 is joining the Fragonset fleet at Birmingham Railway Museum as its owners aim for its return to main line operation.

Alan and Tracy Lear's Class 33 is also to gain Eastleigh nameplates (as carried by former celebrity sister No. 33008) in recognition of the Hampshire depot's role in restoring it to working order.

The decision to paint No. 33021 in all-over plain red (with cast BR symbols and depot plaques on the cabsides) was inspired by the Lears' association with the Royal Mail. It was scheduled to leave Eastleigh by rail on September 19, arriving at Tyseley three days later.

The livery is similar to the parcels red colour scheme of the 1990's although it does not have the upper dark grey bodyside. The livery was applied to a number of Class 47's and 86's, but later modified to give the Res livery of today, as on many Class 47's and a handful of 86's and 90's. No Class 33's were allocated to the Res sector although they worked many parcels and newspaper trains up until the early 1990's. (Rail)

September 24, 1997

Privately-owned Class 33/2 'Crompton' No. D6593 is planned for a return to the main line on Saturday November 22 - only nine weeks after the final railtour ran behind examples of the ex-BR operational fleet.

The green liveried Mid-Hants 'Slimline' Type 3 is featured in a combination diesel/steam 'Pines Express' tour from Guildford to Crewe organised by charter operator Days Out, but will play second fiddle to steam for most of the way. The tour, which has a distinct mid-1960's Southern flavour, will be hauled by SR Class U 2-6-0 No. 31625, with No. D6593 behind it for train-heat. The 'U' will be detatched at Birmingham Railway Centre, with the 'Crompton' working alone to Crewe. On the return run, the '33' will again function as train-heat for a double header, No. 31625 and BR/LMS Class 5 No. 44767 George Stephenson.

It will be difficult to judge from this tour whether No. 6593 can become a crowd-puller on its own. Interest will inevitably be suppressed following the exhaustive farewell programme for the surviving EWS Class 33s, eight of which are still nominally on the books for freight work.

No. 6593 (ex-33208) is the first of three Class 33s which the Mid-Hants hopes to get main line certification for. The others, No. 33012 and push-pull No. 33109 Captain Bill Smith RNR, still await delivery from store at Eastleigh depot.

No. 6593 requires little work to bring it up to main line standard, having been withdrawn in full working order. Indeed, it was used on the Mid-Hants within a couple of days of its arrival on May 22. A traction motor change is planned purely as a precaution. (Rail)

September 13, 1997

The Midland Railway Centre took delivery of Class 33/2 No. 33201 from the Coventry Steam Railway. It was internally and externally complete, and only had a small generator defect. It is proposed to repaint the loco from grey and yellow civil engineers livery to 1960's green as No. D6586.

September 1, 1997

33109 has been renamed Captain Bill Smith RNR by Captain Bill himself. The locomotive has been repainted into BR general grey, the only livery it carried while named. The ceremony with the immaculate 'Bagpipe' took place at Eastleigh. (Rail)

August 27, 1997

The Mid-Hants Railway has put it's main line plans on ice after the sudden death of diesel stalwart Garry Gilfoy. Father-of-two Garry, who was only 31, took his won life on July 16, only a few hours after a regular volunteer turn on No. D6593. A month later the locomotive was still in the Ropley siding where he had parked it. "Garry's death has totally floored us. He was one of the most likeable people   you could have ever met, because his enthusiasm overflowed. It is a tragic loss to me personally and the railway's diesel movement" said Mid-Hants Chief Engineer John Bunch. He added " we now need time to re-organise ourselves, so main line running for our Class 33s is not the agenda at this precise moment."

A story had been doing the rounds that Nos. 33109 Captain Bill Smith RNR (in blue livery) and D6593 would substitute for steam on a five-coach Waterloo-Alton special on Thursday September 4, but it was known some time ago that this proposal was a non-starter. Indeed, No.33109 is not even in working order, still painted grey, and has not yet been delivered to the railway from Eastleigh.

Garry Gilfoy, who was a professional railwayman, had risen to the respected position of acting inspector at Eastleigh depot, was much of the inspiration behind the Mid-Hants' decision to buy four Class 33s earlier this year, helping to form the 71A Locomotive Group. The group met on August 11 to discuss their future without Garry, who was instrumental in accumulating stocks of Class 33 spares at the time of his death. His friends are considering placing a plaque inside one of the 'Crompton' cabs dedicated to his memory. (Rail)

August 14, 1997

Mike Biddell, a partner in Blue Triangle Buses at Rainham, Essex has now moved his two Class 33s, No. 33063/5 to the bus depot. The move of the locomotives from Stewarts Lane was made in early August by road haulier Engineering Services. Work has started to prepare No. 33065 for a repaint into Blue Triangle's red and cream house colours. (Rail)

July 31, 1997

33065 was observed on a low loader at 2300 heading anti-clockwise on the M25 at Junction 8, near Reigate. It was en route to its new home in Essex. (Rail)