John Speller's Web Pages West Somerset Mineral Railway

John Speller's Web Pages - Sentinel Geared Steam Locomotives and Railcars
Sentinel Geared Steam Locomotives and Railcars
Untitled Untitled
The Scottish engineering firm of Alley & MacLellan began operating at the Sentinel Works in Glasgow in 1875. Among other products they produced steam lorries, and in 1915 this part of the business was hived off as the Sentinel Waggon Works, headquartered in Shrewbury, Shropshire. While most of their production was of steam road vehicles, the company also built a number of rail vehicles. These consisted of vertical-boilered chain-driven steam locomotives, which could be controlled by a single engineman and used as little as 15 lb. of coal a mile while performing shunting duties on lightly laid track. This made them even more economical than light branch locomotives such as the Great Western "14XX" Class 0-4-2 tanks and the SE&CR "P" Class 0-6-0 tanks, but the Sentinel geared engines were too slow to be used on passenger and goods services and were restricted to light shunting duties. After 1923, in connection with the coach-builders Metropolitan-Cammell, the Sentinel Waggon Works also built some efficient vertical-boilered steam railmotors for a number of railways, but mostly for the London & North Eastern Railway. The LNER also had a number of two-car articulated steam railcars. Their last and finest steam product was a consignment of ten three-car articulated steam multiple unit trains built for the Egyptian State Railways in 1951, one of which is preserved at the Buckinghamshire Railway Centre at Quainton Road. Beside their economical operation these units had the advantage of being considerably quieter and more comfortable than diesel railcars. From 1947 on Sentinel began building diesel lorries and a prototype diesel shunting locomotive underwent trials on the Shropshire & Montgomery Railway in 1959.

The Somerset & Dorset Railway had two Sentinel shunters built in 1929, numbers 101 and 102, renumbered 7190 and 7191 when taken into LMS stock in 1930. The Somerset & Dorset Railway Heritage Trust at Midsomer Norton South station has purchased a similar 1927 Sentinel, Croydon Gasworks No. 37, "Joyce," and has restored it to running order in LMS livery using its works number 7109.

A particularly interesting project is the rescue and restoration by Eric Miles of a Sentinel locomotive, Works No. 7492, which operated at the chocolate factory of J.S. Fry & Sons in Somerdale, Keynsham, between 1928 and 1956. It is located at the Avon Valley Railway in Bittern. Videos of its rescue and restoration may be seen here: (1), (2), (3), (4) and (5). Fry's had a number of Sentinel steam lorries as well as the locomotive, and an added advantage was that spare parts were interchangeable between the locomotive and the lorries.

The LNER had three classes vertical-boilered geared of Sentinel locomotives, the single-speed "Y-1" Class, the two-speed "Y-3" Class, and the later "Y-10" Class. This, built to the same design as the LNER "Y-1" Class, was one of two locomotives built for the Great Western Railway in 1926 and 1927 and numbered 12 and 13. No. 13 remained in Great Western stock as a shunter at Park Royal until 1946, but for some reason Collett returned No. 12 to the makers after a mere eight weeks. After further trials No.12 was eventually sold to Thomas E. Grey & Company of Burton Latimer, Northamptonshire, where it became No. 2 "Isebrook." It is now preserved at Quainton Road
One of the two-car articulated Sentinel-Cammell units running on the LNER
Sentinel railcar No. 31 "Flower of Yarrow" worked on the Port Carlisle branch, formerly famous for its horse-drawn "Dandy," from its introduction in 1922 until the line's closure in 1932
Articulated three-car Sentinel-Cammell steam railcar No. 5208, built for Egyptian State Railways in 1951, at Quainton Road on 6 November 2008. Image courtesy of Wikipedia Commons
Site Contents Untitled