The ‘Cromptons’, or Class 33 as they became known under British Rail TOPS renumbering, were built for British Railways Southern Region by the Birmingham Railway Carriage and Wagon Co. at Smethwick in 1959 and were first allocated to Hither Green in February 1960.
They were fitted with 1550hp Sulzer engines and Crompton Parkinson electrical gear: hence their nickname of ‘Cromptons’. They were intended for mixed traffic work from pick up freights and shunting to fast passenger work. They were unusual in that they were almost the only class of diesel locomotives the Southern Region had that no other Region of British Railways used.
After purchase for preservation, D6501 came to Buckfastleigh and, in July 2008, after two and a half years of work and eight years since it last worked, was started up.
D6501 is owned by South Devon Diesel Traction.