Class 33 in ‘Thunderbird’ action

REACTING to an urgent telephone call for assistance, Swanage Railway-based 71A Locomotive Group’s Class 33 D6515 ran light engine from Wareham to Weymouth to replace a failed West Coast Class 47 on passenger duty on Thursday, August 23.

The incident arose when West Coast Class 47 diesel No. 47580 was declared a failure prior to working the return leg of Railway Touring Company’s ‘Dorset Coast Express’ back to London. Earlier that day the Class 47 had tailed the Down train, which was in the capable hands of A4 No. 60009 Union of South Africa.

A4 Pacific No. 60009 Union of South Africa powers away from Southampton on July 28. JAMES CORBEN

According to the Swanage Railway’s locomotive, carriage and wagon superintendent James Cox, it was thought the 47’s problem, an electrical fault, could be resolved on the spot, but this proved not to be the case hence the call for the main line-ticketed 33.

Booked to depart Weymouth at 4.05pm, the ‘Express’ was seriously delayed to the point many passengers opted to take advantage of South Western Railway’s offer of seats in its third rail service trains heading for the capital.

D6515 arrived, was coupled on, and departing at 7.36pm, towed the ‘Express’,
plus the A4, acting as banker, out of Weymouth on the 1-in 52/50 climb up through Bincombe Tunnel and later, the 1-in 60 Parkestone bank.

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