Placed on 20th July 2001 (photos/captions 30/7/01)
It’s been some 5 years since 33065 was started, having suffered burnt out wiring after a fault during charging of the batteries. Stopped in September 1996 when at Stewarts Lane, we can now report the successful restarting of 33065 on Saturday 14th July when, at around 15.15, the engine was turned and life returned once again to the ‘Crompton’ that carried the name “Sealion”. An hour or so later after electrical checks, to the amazement of Group members and supporters gathered, she was also able to move under her own power with a few movements restricted to the sidings. After service trains finished, she was attached to 33063 to allow 065 to pull a load (76 tons) and have some security if all didn’t go according to plan. This was, infact, the case, because as 065 pulled over the road crossing to the North of Shepherdswell, the power unit tripped out with 063 + 065 being brought to a stand on the Eythorne side of the crossing.
Photos : B.Thomas
Left, 33065 is started at around 15.15 hrs on Saturday 14th July 2001, belching forth all those deposits, cob webs, birds nests etc. accumulated over time – it is believed 33065 was last started in 1996 before the wiring burnt out during charging problems. Right, 33065 nearest with 33063 on the spur, both idling. 063 pushed 065 back into the siding for further checks to take place before an attempt was made to move 065 under her own power.
Below, prior to 33065 starting, SELG members and public alike gather at the end of Shepherdswell platform to witness the event.
There was some disappointment when 065 failed to restart so it was back to Shepherdswell with 063 providing the effort. The initial buzz derived from actually have two working ‘Cromptons’, albeit for a few hours, was enough to make us realise how fortunate we were at being able to get 065 this far, and tomorrow was another day.
On Sunday 15th July, further adjustments, battery charging and circuitry checks were undertaken and more faults identified. Again 33065 started and more tests performed. There is still some way to go before 065 can be deemed to be anything near reliable what with a list of defects still to be corrected.
With a repaint in the offering (will it be blue or ‘Dutch’?) before the worst of the British Winter returns, a full story on the events of the weekend will be presented when photographs are returned from the developers, and the full magnitude of the achievements have sunk in.
East Kent Railway – Summer 2001
(Extracts from Newsletter to Members, w/c 20/8/01)
Described as our most important weekend of the year, the East Kent Gala Weekend on 14th/15th July certainly lived up to its expectations proving to be a fantastic operational success. Whilst passengers and corresponding revenue were down on the previous year (mixed weather and Silverstone!), the SELG and the railway operated the most diverse range of services and events to date using all operational locomotives and rolling stock.
Above, 33063 in the platform at Shepherdswell forming the 13.00 to Eythorne. The stock for this working was the 2EPB and the MLV. On the return leg of one such train (possibley this one), the train was brought to a stand at the signal on the approach to Shepherdswell station and the MLV was detached. It was then allowed to run into Shepherdswell platform under its own battery power. photo – D.Robinson.
Our objectives over the weekend were challenging to say the least. Over the two days, members and supporters would attempt to man the last ever SELG sales stand, prepare and operate both 427 and 33 063 on the timetabled services and prepare 33 065 for a public engine start on the Saturday afternoon! However, thanks to the efforts of all the members and supporters who volunteered their services, we achieved all three objectives! Thanks to all those who took part.
Saturday 14th July saw an early start for a number of members as 427 and 33 063 were prepared at Shepherdswell from 0730hrs, ready for the first trains of the day. 427 was adorned with its freshly polished Royal Engineers nameplates and flags for the weekend whilst 33 063 had also received a bogie repaint. Thanks to the efforts of two supporters during the previous weeks, 33 065 had also had its external appearance significantly improved through some carefully applied T-Cut on its cabs in readiness for its starring role later in the day. Whilst the locomotives were being prepared and shunted, others set up the sales stand adjacent to the ticket office hoping that its last outing would be a busy one!
Many thanks are due to the partner of one of our active members for providing the superb SELG blue and yellow polo shirts for the occasion. The team really did look the part over the two days as all present adorned themselves with the new attire and smart we looked!!
The operational plan for both days was to use 33 063 and the 2-EPB on the 10.00/13.00/15.00/16.00 departures each day with the remaining trains operated by steam locomotives, Spitfire and Albert (making its debut at the railway) and 427. 33063 is pictured, above, about to depart with 10.00 to Eythorne, 14/7/01.
In a further effort to raise much needed revenue for the Group, we had agreed to offer return cab rides in 33 063 for £10 return. At a slightly later than booked departure time, looking superb in BR Blue with blue EPB stock (a real Southern 70’s and 80’s scene!) and adorned with our new SELG headboard, 33 063 departed for Eythorne with the first train of the day. However, a heart stopping moment was in store around the first corner approaching the level crossing when the locomotive shutdown after the control circuit commonly referred to as ‘PA’, tripped out. The locomotive had suffered from this intermittent fault on previous occasions. Thankfully a few seconds later she burst back into life and performed without fault for the remainder of the weekend.
Pictured left, ‘Spitfire’ departs from Shepherdswell with one of the steam-hauled trains whilst above, 33063 is seen waiting in Shepherdswell station with the first train of the day, the 10am to Eythorne. 14th July 2001.
Back at Shepherdswell, our technical team from Hampshire was up for the weekend with the task of assisting us in starting 33 065 and establishing further work required in the event that the locomotive did start up! They were joined by several SELG members and supporters as the set of ‘make-do’ batteries were placed on full charge and final preparations and tests made.
With its battery tray extended, left, 33065’s batteries on charge whilst some attention is administered in the engine room, A.M. 14th July.
Following the first outing of 427, 33 063 made its second return trip of the day at 13.00hrs (this time with the battery-powered MLV, and EPB) and took our first cab ride passengers bringing in some useful additional revenue. Meanwhile, the sales stand was selling raffle tickets for the opportunity to start 33 065 following the departure of the 15.00 passenger train.
Following arrival back at Shepherdswell and shunting complete, 33 063 was despatched to the sidings to collect 33 065 and draw the locomotive down on the spur adjacent to the platform to enable public viewing of the attempted engine start. As raffle tickets continued to sell and interest accumulated at the end of the platform, SELG members began to feel nervous at the prospect of such a public first attempt and suddenly the idea of finding a quiet siding somewhere seemed more appealing. The raffle was drawn and the winning ticket number 296 was held by none other than ‘BA’ Barry Evans. Despite Barry’s offering of an SELG member to press the button we insisted that he do it and at 15.00hrs the headcode of 33 065 was suitably altered to ‘BE’ in the hope that this would somehow assist in the persuasion of 33 065 to start for the first time in five years. All other locomotives at Shepherdswell were shutdown and in silence we stood and waited….. We need not have worried, at 15.15hrs 33 065 erupted into life with an accompanying thick black smoke and cheers from the platform! As per adjacent picture (D.Robinson). After 5 years silent, 33 065 was back firmly with us and for the next few minutes members and supporters marveled at the sight of both our Class 33’s sitting on the spur with engines running. Another major milestone had been achieved!!
33 063 then shunted 33 065 back into the sidings (as per photo below) whilst further technical checks were made on 33 065 to ensure all was well following the start up, and whether she would take power. 33 063 then uncoupled and left to prepare its train for the 16.00 departure. As this was taking place, a blast from the horn of 33 065 heralded a further milestone as she began to ease slowly down the siding under her own power. Indeed, as 33 063 departed the station with the 16.00 to Eythorne, the locomotive passed 33 065 moving under its own power in the sidings therefore presenting the first time that our two Class 33’s had passed each other, both under power! The 16.00 departure saw a further cab ride take place and on return to Shepherdswell it was decided to take 33 065 for a light engine test run to Eythorne and back. For insurance purposes 33 063 would be added for the test. At 17.25 in the pouring rain, 33 065 eased out of the platform for the first time. An impromptu photo stop was taken at Shepherdswell crossing whilst the gates were closed. As 33 065 accelerated across the crossing the locomotive shutdown and failed to restart with each attempted restart greeted by the fire alarms going off. It was finally decided to abandon the test run and 33 063 duly returned the locomotive the short distance back to Shepherdswell and into the siding where its batteries were placed on charge for the night. By no means downhearted by these final events, the Group reflected on a successful day that had witnessed the start up and first moves of 33 065….tomorrow was another day and those living nearby departed for home whilst those from further afield met up at the local Travel Inn/Pub for a celebratory meal!!
Sunday brought with it more changed weather with showers and sunshine but the greater crowds expected failed to materialise which was a real shame as 33 063 successfully completed the 10.00/13.00hrs return trips with the EPB looking the perfect Southern picture and some storming runs were enjoyed especially through Golgotha tunnel!
427 also continued to work faultlessly with the two steam locomotives with the Mk2 rake.
The good news was that after a night with batteries on charge, 33 065 once again started first time! The technical team spent Sunday supervising several members/supporters as we attempted to rectify the problems of the night before.
This task involved cleaning the contactors under the cab control panel, checking circuits and attention to the generator brushes which appeared to be oversized and had produced arching whilst the locomotive took power. The opportunity was also taken to remove the crankcase doors to have a closer look at the engine and an oil sample was taken for detailed analysis. With work completed the decision was taken to give 33 065 a further test run but this time on the 16.00 Shepherdswell – Eythorne and return with 33 063. Following some complex shunting manoeuvres the scene was set for 33 065 to depart Shepherdswell with the 16.00 service, its first passenger working for over six years! Disaster nearly struck when 33 065 shutdown prior to departure and needed a jump start from 33 063! Once successfully restarted, the locomotive completed its first passenger working in preservation and return without fault and the achievement of another amazing milestone in the Group’s history drew the Gala to an official close. However, we weren’t quite finished yet..we had another milestone to achieve yet, the first multiple operation of two Class 33/0’s in preservation! 33 063 and 33 065 we connected in multiple for a successful light engine return test run to Eythorne and the sight and sound was truly superb! Below, 33065 is pictured at Eythorne before returning to Shepherdswell with the last train of the Gala, 33063 at the rear.
The final sales stand event raised a useful amount through cab rides, 33 065 start up raffle and sales, 33 063 and 427 performed faultlessly and most importantly, 33 065 started successfully, has taken power and with some further restoration work, will hopefully be a fully fledged runner shortly. Many thanks again to all members and supporters who supported this event and the weekends of preparation. We now have further restoration and repaint work to do on 33 065, detailed elsewhere. Any assistance from all members and supporters, financial or physical effort is essential if we are to continue to make progress and succeed! Indeed, if you are reading these few notes as a visitor, we are always happy to receive any donations you may wish to make to the South East Locomotive Group (contact shown on Index page), all in an effort to restore 33065 to fully operational condition and maintain 33063 as such. It’s an expensive business, this mainline loco preservation!