Old news from the 71A Locomotive Group

September 2013

The 71A Locomotive group have finally heard that work has started on the new wheelsets. Originally the new wheelsets should have been delivered after 16 weeks (back in February) however delays with manufacture of the new axles has kept our locomotive is out of service for over 18 months. Once the new wheelsets are finally delivered it is hoped that we will soon get 33012 back into service. The group has kept busy during this period tackling many jobs which have been on the back burner including repairs to the windscreen frames - photos here here and here. Also fitting of GSM-R equipment has taken place - photo here - this still needs to be tested and testing can only take place once the locomotive is able to take power to ensure that the locomotive electrical equipment does not cause any inference.

With 33012 out of service the group has been forced to use all our savings as we have been unable to earn any funds. We hope that people can help us with this burden by donating by using the Pay Pal button above. Any donation will help us and allow 33012 to get back into service quicker.

May 2013

It is regretted that 33012 will not be appearing at the Swanage Railway diesel gala this year. The delay in production of the new axles has put the whole project several months behind schedule. This delay has been caused by the first batch of axles failing strident quality checks during machining and a second batch of axles cast. This second batch are currently being machined and the wheel pans fitted so hopefully the new wheelsets will soon arrive at Eastleigh Works. However The 71A Locomotive Group would sooner wait a bit longer now and make sure we fit the best available wheelsets than have another failure! It is still hoped that 33012 will return to service before the end of the summer with some running in at the Swanage Railway.

As a consequence of this delay the group have lost several months hire and running fees and the burden of the day to day running costs are starting to take their toll. If you can help financially, I would ask you to make a donation today via the link above - every pound helps.

April 2013

It has been a quiet period with little happening to 33012 whilst we wait for delivery of the new wheelsets. We understand the long wait could soon be over and delivery is expected within the next three weeks. The sixteen weeks we had to wait has not been wasted, work have been started to move our spares and tools from old base at Norden to a nearby industrial unit. This unit offers better storage facilities and more importantly more security. Like a lot of preserved railways and locomotive groups the 71A Locomotive group has suffered at the hands of metal thieves and has had various items stolen.

Also this period have allowed us to raise funds for the new wheelsets, however we still have a long way to go before we have raised the full amount. You can make a donation using the paypal link at the top of this page or email David Blandford if you are interested in buying shares. Each share costs £150 and payments can be spread by direct debit.

January 2013

Whilst the 71A Locomotive group are waiting for the new axles to be delivered the opportunity has been taken to get on with other projects which have been on the back burner for some time. A long time ago the decision was made to scrap 33034 as the bodyshell was too corroded to repair and coupled with the cost of getting all the missing parts the locomotive was beyond restoration. The best thing to do with 33034 was component recovery and then sell the rest for scrap. These two things would best benefit 33012 and other restored class 33's and keep them operating for as long as possible. Every one in the 71A locomotive group hates to scrap a class 33 but it is important to be realistic and also recover major components when the opportunity is presented. Hopefully this be the last class 33 the group is involved in scrapping after 33204 was scrapped at the Mid Hants Railway whilst be looking after by the group. Work has now started stripping 33034 and once everything that can be reused is removed the locomotive remains will be scrapped. Photos are here

November 2012

Since theaxleboxfailure which took 33012 out of service back in May the 71A Locomotive Group has been working quietly, but very hard to raise the funds as well as carry out the repairs to get 33012 back into service.

The Group has had to overcome many problems along the way which seem to have started from day one, with getting the locomotive moved back toEastleighWorks. Progress has been painfully slow with work being held up by the many problems the Group has had to overcome. However, during this time, the 71A Locomotive Grouphas purchased a complete set ofnew bearings, thewheelsetshave been removed from thebogiesand the defective bearing removed from the axle.

So it was with reliefduring September when thewheelsetsand the new bearings were sent toLHGroup, who were contracted to fit the new bearings.LHGroup are approved by the railway industry to carry out this type of work. At last we hoped all the problems would be over. We were soon proved wrong on that account!Once staff atLHGroup removed the remaining bearings from the axles, damage was discovered to the bearing journals of the axles. It would appear that this damage had been caused during previouswheelsetoverhauls in BR days. This damage would prevent these axles being used on the mainline as they do not comply with modern railway group standards. There is also a question mark on using them in preservation as well. The only way to keep 33012 on the mainline is to order new axles. Quotes have been obtained and the final amount is £40,000, this includes removing the wheel pans from the old axles and fitting them to the new axles, fitting the new bearings and machining costs.

A lot of soul searching has gone on within the Group and the decision has been made to try and keep 33012 on the mainline. We have pencilled-in the order for new axles but work cannot start until we have raised the money.

Some may question why the friction overheating between axle andaxleboxrear cover was not found during the overhaul we finished in 2011. At that time we tried to have ourwheelsetsoverhauled by a contractor - none of thewheelsetcontractors were prepared to do work to just 4wheelsets. So we sought advice from many people experienced in class 33 wheelset Works Overhaul. The consensus was that class 33s axle bearings have a good history of low failure rate and that a visual examination to check for corrosion and excessive wear would be adequate. The friction overheating that occurred is a new phenomenon for class 33s, although other vehicles with a similaraxleboxarrangement have had the same failure. Leading to modification of other types of axleboxcover. These modifications are being incorporated into 33012s newaxleboxcovers. The damage found upon removal of bearings is a result of poor workmanship at bearing change over 30 years ago, the axles do not meet the standards of the 1970s, let alone this century!

We do have sparewheelsets, but they have all been in store for many years and have a high chance of failing inspection. Hence the decision to have new axles made.

We are therefore after new shareholders and donations to help fund this work. Donations can be made using donate button above, by emailing fundraising@71a.co.uk, or by post to David Blandford, 1 Wayleaves, School Road, Nomansland SP5 2BY.

Shares in 33012 cost £150 each with no limit on the number held. Anybody interested in becoming a share holder or who requires more information should contact David Blandfordat the above address.

Please consider setting up a standing order of £25/ month, a steady income is as good as lump sums for keeping a locomotive working. Thank you .

GSMR Installation

GSM-R cab telephones is replacing the NRN cab telephones which have been in use for many years. All mainline rolling stock needs these new telephones fitted and Network Rail is in charge of the installation regardless of who owns or operates the locomotive or units.The Network Rail contractors are well underway with fitting GSM-R Phones to 33012. The work should be finished next weekend. The 71A locomotive group is very impressed with the team fitting the GSM-R equipment their work is first rate and they are taking the time fitting the equipment so that it blends in all the existing cab and engine room fittings. Photos are here and here

33012 news

Since the group has sent the defective axle from 33012 away to LH group to fit the new bearings we have been experiencing all sorts of problems. These stem from the existing axles not complying with modern railway group standards. The 71A locomotive Group expects the problems we are facing now could affect all first generation diesel locomotives still on the mainline in the future. The group has been trying to find a way (grandfather rights) that these axles can be passed for mainline use, so far without success. This delay has mean that 33012 has been on the stands in Eastleigh Works for a lot longer than planned. Therefore the decision has been made to scrap 33034 over the coming months so that the bogies can be used at Eastleigh Works as accommodation bogies for 33012. This will allow it to be moved around the works until the problems are resolved. The group hopes to be in a position to make an announcement shortly regarding future mainline running.

September 2012

The 16 new bearings have now arrived from SKF ready for fitting and the damaged axle has been returned from the South Devon Railway. Where we send it for the defective bearing to be removed and the stub axle to be repaired. The 4 axles and the new bearings have all been send to the LH group at Barton under Needwood, whowill fit the new bearings for us. The LH group is an approved supplier to the railway industry and thereforeregularly carry out this type of work tothe required railwaygroup standards. However the remains a few issues to be resolved, these concern getting axles over 50 years old to met modern railway group standards. Whilst the 71A locomotive group understood theproblems operating a heritage locomotive on the mainline would bring, the largest problems seem to be getting parts certified as required by the railway group standards. Something BR never had to worry about!

August 2012

Investigations and preparatory work involved with repairing 33012 after its axle box failure have been continuing at Eastleigh with the the damaged axlebox having been dismantled and grease samples taken which are to be sent away for investigation. A spare wheelset is being stripped of components at Herston (Swanage) which will then be overhauled and the relevant parts taken to Eastleigh for fitting onto the loco in due course. More donations are required to complete this work and if you are able to please donate via the link above.

Detailed photos of the failure can be seen here and a recent photo of the loco is here

July 2012

71A are pleased and relieved that 33012 is in Eastleigh Works after 6 weeks of arrangements. The locomotive arrived on July 6 having left Burton by road on the 4th. 33012 was unloaded at Southampton Docks on the 5th and tripped over to the Works by GBRf. Group members prepared our loco for lifting in one Sunday morning. It was lifted the following day and the wheelset with the problem axlebox removed from the bogie. Investigations are ongoing to find the cause of the failure. A photo is here

An archive photo of 33012 is here

June 2012

33012 will be moved be road to Southampton West Docks next week before being moved by GBRF to Eastleigh Works, where repair work will take place. The 71A Locomotive groupwishes to thank Knights Rail and ABP for all the assistance they have provided. Funds are still needed to ensure the repair work can be done and 33012 returned to Mainline operation. Therefore all donations will be gratefully received - please click on the paypal link above.

May 2012


By now most people will have heard that the 71A Locomotive Group's Class 33 locomotive No 33012 suffered problems with the bearings axlebox on one of the inner axles, during a light engine movement northbound on Wednesday 9th May, to collect the visiting locomotives for the Swanage Railway Diesel Gala, which resulted in 33012 having to be stored at the Nemesis Rail depot in Burton-On-Trent. While detailed investigation work is still to be carried out at this time, it appears that the problem lies with either the axlebox rear seal and cover, or the axle bearings. Until the locomotive is lifted and dismantled, the exact cause will not be known.

Either way, the bearings, rear seal and cover will all have to be changed, resulting in 33012 being out of service for a couple of months. As well as losing thousands of pounds in earnings from 33012's mainline duties hauling locomotives to and from diesel galas, the 71A Locomotive Group now has to pay out the transportation costs of returning 33012 to the south of England, as well as the cost of consumables and replacement spare parts.

To help the 71A Locomotive Group raise the additional funds to allow this repair work to be carried out, the Group are looking for people to help by providing sponsorship for the two items listed below. All the blood, sweat and tears will be provided by the 71A Locomotive Group's working members. If you can help out with this urgent appeal in anyway, however large or small the donation, the Group would be most grateful.

Anyone donating £50 or more to this urgent appeal for funds will automatically receive one year's free membership of the 71A Locomotive Group's support group, which means you will receive the Group's newsletter “Spitfire” free of charge for a year.

You can donate by clicking the paypal link at the top of this page or download a donation form here - which includes details of the items to sponsor. The return of this form is also needed if free membership of the 71A Locomotive Group's support group is required.

April 2012

Over the weekend of 24 and 25 March 'Railway at Work' Wekend members of the public took the opportunity to board 33012 which was specially stabled in the platform at Swanage for the purpose. Members of the group were hand to try and answer questions and to show people around the locomotive. People were amazed at the size of the power unit and the generator. The requirements of mainline running was explained along with the OTMR equipment. However, the kids and their dad's still enjoyed sitting in the drivers seat! A photo is here

March 2012

33012 has recently completed a 'B' exam at Swanage and other work has included repairs to the cab door trim and the engine room interior gutters. A replacement "Over Speed Device" is due back from overhaul and re-calibration to 85mph. Once back at Swanage it is a simple job to swap it was the one currently fitted to 33012. A photo of the loco is here

It is planned for 33012 to be stabled in the bay platform at Swanage during 24/25 March as part of the "Railway at Work" weekend and members of the public will be able to walk through the locomotive and see what was achieved at Eastleigh Works. Members of the 71A loco Group will be on hand to answer questions.

33012 is to appear at the Keighley & Worth Valley Diesel Event during May. The loco will be going from Swanage to Cardiff Canton Depot to collect 26038, then to the Dean Forest Railway to collect 31466 and onto KWVR for the Diesel Weekend. 33012 will appear on all 3 days of the event, then return the 31 to DFR. Before going back to Swanage.

The 71A Locomotive Group has entered into a formal argeement with Steve White, the owner of 27007, to provide management support of the locomotives restoration. Volunteers from the 71ALG have been working on the locomotive for some time but have encountered many problems not least collision damage to one cab sustained four years ago and the need for the MHR to move the locomotive to Alresford whilst the new shed at Ropley was built. The next stage is to get the locomotive moved back to Ropley so a full inspection can take place before the bodywork and accident damage can be repaired. Updates will appear on this website.

April 2006

20188 made its first public runs on the Swanage Railway during the members weekend in March and then took part in the Branchline Weekend along with 33012 on April 1/2.

December 2005

33012 operated successfully along with 33108 over the weekend of 24 & 25 November which on the Sunday saw both locomotives work in multiple for the first time in preservation. 20188 has been started after engine repairs at Norden - thanks to Shackerstone Diesels for their assistance in the completion of the engine rebuild. D8188 is now having attention to an electrical fault and will enter service early in 2006.

June 2005

Work continues on 27007 at Ropley.

March 2005

33012 has successfully operated at the Swanage Railway members weekend working without problems. The loco will see extensive use in the coming months with various events and charters in the pipeline. More dates have now been added to the events page. Work to rebuild 27007's power unit at Ropley is continuing and the engine has been filled with water and found to be watertight. Coolant pipework and rocker gear has been re-assembled along with the big end shells. The newly manufactured gaskets and seals have now arrived to enable completion of the engine work.

February 2005

The 13th saw the final cylinder installed into 27007 at Ropley. Attention has also been given to the support coach at Ropley which has been repainted BR blue as the all over yellow was starting to look a bit shabby. Pipework has started to be reassembled onto the power unit with cleaning and painting of the engine room continuing. The radiator grille area has also been attended to on one side and measurements have been taken to repair the exhaust area of the main roof section.

January 2005

There are working parties for planned maintenance of 33012 at Swanage over the weekends of 22/23 & 29/30 of this month. Please contact James Cox if you wish to attend.

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