BR Class 50 50033 Glorious

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BRBritish Rail or British Railways Class 50 50033 Glorious
50033 20200906.jpg
50033 Glorious
Built By English Electric Vulcan Foundry Works, Newton-le-Willows
Configuration Co-Co
Power type Diesel Electric
Loco Number 50033
Other Numbers D4336
Built 1968
Designed By English Electric
Type Class 50
1994 Withdrawn
2004 Last working at NYMR
2018 Returned to traffic at SVRSevern Valley Railway
Length 68ft 6"
Weight 115t

Diesel Locomotives

BRBritish Rail or British Railways Class 50 50033 Glorious is on loan to The Class 50 Alliance.

BRBritish Rail or British Railways Class 50

Fifty English Electric Type 4The British Railways classification for diesel locomotives of 2000 bhp to 2999 bhp (later BRBritish Rail or British Railways Class 50) diesel locomotives were built by English Electric at their Vulcan Foundry Works plant in Newton-le-Willows between 1967 and 1968. When built they were numbered in the D4xx series. They later became BRBritish Rail or British Railways’s Class 50, being allocated TOPSTotal Operations Processing System, an American computer system adopted by BR from the late 1960s to number and manage rolling stock. numbers in the 50xxx series. The class was nicknamed “Hoovers” because of the distinctive sound of the inertial air-filters with which the locomotives were originally fitted.

Initially the locomotives were used to haul express passenger trains on the West Coast Main Line (WCML) between Crewe and Scotland; that section not then being electrified. This often entailed ‘Multiple Working’, with two locomotives under control of a single driver.

By 1974 the northern WCML had been electrified, and the Class 50 fleet was being transferred to BRBritish Rail or British Railways’s Western Region to work main line passenger services out of London Paddington.

The Class 50s did not originally carry names, but in the late 1970s BRBritish Rail or British Railways agreed to their being named after Royal Navy vessels with notable records in the First and Second World Wars.

Withdrawal of the class began in the early 1990s.

50033 Glorious in service

D449 entered service at Stoke in July 1968. Renumbered to 50049 in January 1973, the locomotive moved to Bristol in May 1974 and Plymouth Laira in October 1976. It receive the name 'Glorious' in June 1978. It was withdrawn from service in March 1994.[1]

HMS Glorious, after which the locomotive was named, was a First World War Courageous-class battlecruiser later converted to an aircraft carrier and sunk by the German battleships Scharnhorst and Gneisenau while evacuating British aircraft from Norway in June 1940.

50033 Glorious in preservation

After its last working, 50033 entered the national collection at the National Railway Museum in York. The NRM decided to dispose of the locomotive in 2003. While still owned by the NRMThe Railway Museum, formerly the National Railway Museum, 50033 spent a period on loan to the North Yorkshire Moors Railway during 2004 after which a home was found at the STEAM museum in Swindon as a static exhibit.

A plan for 50033 to relocate to 'RailSchool' at the Royal Docks Heritage Railway in East London was unsuccessful and for many years the locomotive was stored in an unserviceable condition at the Birmingham Railway Museum at Tyseley.

In February 2018 an agreement was reached for The Class 50 Alliance to take 50033 on a 3 year loan with a view to restoring the loco and getting it operational.[2] Work on the locomotive continued at Tyseley under the guidance of Fifty Fund volunteers[3] before the locomotive moved to the Diesel Depot on 31 May 2018.[4] The locomotive returned to traffic at the Class 50 Golden Jubilee on 4-6 October in mostly green undercoat, with the public invited to 'tag' the locomotive with graffiti in marker pen in exchange for a contribution towards its repaint. The Alliance took the runner up prize at the HRA Awards 2020 in the Coiley Locomotive Engineering Award category for this restoration.[5]

Repainting in BRBritish Rail or British Railways 'Large Logo' livery took place at Arlington in Eastleigh, after which 50033 Glorious was towed back to the SVRSevern Valley Railway by sister 50007 Hercules on 29 August 2019.[6]

After the initial loan period expired the locomotive remained at the SVRSevern Valley Railway on long term loan to the Alliance.[7]

In June 2021 the 33 ton power unit was removed to allow the main generator to be replaced by an overhauled machine. It returned to traffic on 24 September 2022 at an event to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the first Class 50 to haul a public passenger train in preservation.

See also


  1. BR Database
  2. Fifty Fund
  3. Fifty Fund website (Retrieved 11 February 2018)
  4. Railway Magazine
  5. Severn Valley Diesels Official Facebook, 11 February 2020
  6. SVR Live
  7. Railways Illustrated, October 2022